Updated Thu, Jan 31, 2013 11:52 pm
Concluding one of the worst Januarys under head coach Semeka Randall, in which the Bobcats won just one contest and went winless in MAC play, Ohio Women's Basketball fell to Toledo (18-2, 6-1 MAC) Thursday night, 61-42. Ohio (5-14, 0-7) struggled mightily on offense against arguably the best defense in the MAC, shooting 28 percent from the field, spiked by a late scoring run at the end of the game.
Freshman Lexie Baldwin led Ohio with 11 points and six rebounds. Symone Lyles added 10 points, and Shavon Robinson scored eight points. The Bobcats resurged at the end of the game, only to lose by 19 points, the smallest margin against a MAC opponent yet.
“I’m going to give our team credit and look at this as a whole,” Randall said. “It started the last three practices we had leading up to this game, (where) the preparation and the focus was great. We got great feedback from our kids that showed that they were invested and they cared.”
Ohio’s inability to get off to a fast start, though, inhibited the its chances at keeping the game close. Toledo jumped to a 10-2 lead in the first seven minutes of play, and Ohio eventually allowed the Rockets to go on a 14-4 run that included a scoring drought of nearly seven minutes for the Green and White.
With less than three minutes of play left in the half, Lexie Baldwin converted a layup through contact and made the and-one free throw attempt, narrowing the deficit to 15 points. Baldwin finished the half with a team-high seven points, as only Tina Fisher, Ashley Fowler, and Symone Lyles added to the team’s first half total of 12. Toledo scored 30 points in the first half. Kiyanna Black, Ohio’s leading scorer and the second-leading scoring freshman in the MAC (12.5 ppg) went 0-for-7 in the first half and finished with zero points after failing to get a shot up in the second half.
Randall explained that Black’s poor performance was the reason Robinson and Mariah Byard, who both returned to the court after an injury-plagued month, played more minutes than she expected them to. Robinson and Byard had 22 and 21 minutes, respectively.
“I told them, ‘I’m not going to play you 40 minutes,’ but I was hoping to keep minutes at a minimum of five-to-15 minutes, but they ended up getting 20,” Randall said.
Toledo started the second half on a 20-8 run, only to slow down to Ohio’s late spark toward the second part of the half.
“I said (to the players), ‘You can shorten the gap, or the gap can be spread out on you, so what’re you going to do?’ And they responded by shooting 40 percent from the field,” Randall said.
The Bobcats went on a 22-11 run to end the contest, only losing by one point to the Rockets in second half play.
Yolanda Richardson led the Rockets with 15 points. Andola Dortch added nine points, while Inma Zanoguera and Naama Shafir had seven apiece. Shooting an even 40 percent from the field and collecting 51 rebounds, compared to Ohio’s 34, the Rockets took advantage of a lousy shooting performance from the Bobcats and their inability to rebound from inside the paint.
The Bobcats host Kent State Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the Convo, where both teams will be looking for their first conference victory.