Ohiuo University womens basktball Jenkins
Photo: Logan Riely

Ohio Seeks First NCAA Tourney Win

Posted on:

< < Back to

It’s officially gameday in Tempe, Ariz., for the Ohio Bobcats, a 14 seed in their first NCAA Tournament since 1995. The Bobcats have had an incredible run in Bob Boldon’s second year as head coach, and it has led to this game.

Based on the numbers, history is not in Ohio’s favor against the Arizona State Sun Devils, but this season has been a year of record-breaking performances and the question becomes: do the Bobcats have one more miracle game in them?

There are plenty of numbers that can be tossed around to say yes or no to that answer, but there are some key ones to keep an eye on heading into Saturday’s game.

0-86: A 14 seed has never won an NCAA Tournament game on the women’s side, and so far in this year’s tournament, two 14 seeds have already gone down — American lost to Iowa, 75-67, and South Dakota State lost to Oregon State, 74-62.

BYU plays Louisville at 4 p.m. on ESPN2 before the Ohio game. The Cougars and Bobcats will look to snap that 86-game losing streak by 14 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

7-0: Against non-conference opponents, Arizona State is a perfect 7-0 in Wells Fargo Arena. As a No. 3 seed, the Sun Devils will host the Bobcats Saturday in Tempe, looking to make it 8-0 on their home court this year.

.254: Arizona State is holding opponents to a little over 25-percent from beyond the arc this season. Promise Amukamara mentioned in the press conference Friday that Ohio is a “great offensive team, and we’re going to do our best trying to stop their 3-point shots because they like shooting.”

The Bobcats have shot 35.2% from three this season, and in three of their four losses this season, the opponents held Ohio to under 30-percent from three.

They are two 3-point makes and attempts away from tying the Mid-American Conference women’s basketball record for both makes (294) and attempts (832) in a season.

98: Speaking of 3-point records, Kiyanna Black is also nearing MAC records in makes. She has made 98 3-pointers this year, which puts her two away from tying the conference’s season record of 100. She has averaged 3.2 threes a game. Black also holds the MAC’s single season record in 3-point attempts with 271.

55.6: The Sun Devils rank 25th in the nation in scoring defense, holding teams to under 56 points per game. A little behind them in the rankings are the Ohio Bobcats, holding teams to 56.3 points per contest.

“If we can stop them, it’ll turn into a defensive game,” Boldon said. “That is going to be the challenge. They’re tremendous on defense, and really enjoy watching them, until I realize we’ve got to play them. They do a lot of things well.”

6: Arizona State has six players that stand 6-feet or taller, most notably Sophie Brunner (6-foot-1) and Quinn Dornstauder (6-foot-4). Brunner averages a team-leading 11.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Dornstauder leads the team in blocks with a little over one per game.

27: Both Ohio and Arizona State are entering Saturday’s game with 27 wins. For the Bobcats, they set a program record this season as the winningest team in school history (26 was the previous record). All five of the Sun Devils’ losses this year have come to opponents now in the NCAA Tournament (Oregon State twice, Stanford, California, Green Bay).

The numbers and history are not exactly in Ohio’s favor, but there are plenty of factors that will contribute to this game beyond the numbers, starting with Ohio’s quick ball movement and the Sun Devils’ depth.

Regardless of seeding, neither team is looking beyond their opponent in the first round.

“I think we’re focusing on just Ohio right now, and obviously want to go past that, but we know we’re going to be a really tough team and that they’re good just like us,” Brunner said. “We know it’s going to be hard, and we’re going to have to make them work for everything.”

The Bobcats will look to win their first NCAA Tournament game in program history when they take on Arizona State at 6:30 p.m. ET in Tempe, Ariz.