Redshirt Freshmen Erica Johnson made a big impact in Ohio’s win over Walsh on Saturday. | Nick Henthron WOUB |

Ohio Women’s Basketball: New Roles Being Carved Out as 2018 Season Begins

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Believe it or not, basketball season has arrived: The Ohio women’s basketball team opened their season with an exhibition game against Walsh University Saturday afternoon.

A scrappy game throughout the first half was broken open by tremendous defensive intensity and passing by the Bobcats, which lead to a 90-62 trouncing of the Walsh Cavaliers.

The scoring for Ohio was started off by Erica Johnson who was a main contributor for the Bobcat offense in the first half. Johnson’s energy would be contagious for the starters in the game, as Johnson, Olivia Bower, and Kaylee Bambule would be responsible for a large part of Ohio’s scoring in the first quarter.

Although Ohio’s scoring led to a them building a large lead in the first half,  a key to their success was the defense. Walsh only scored 12 points in the first quarter compared to Ohio’s 27 and went scoreless for three minutes in that period.

The Bobcat’s suffocating defense forced eleven Cavalier turnovers in the first half. The defensive prowess of the Bobcats led to a 47-24 halftime lead, with scoring lead by Erica Johnson and Gabby Burris with ten points apiece.

The offensive and defensive success didn’t let up for the Bobcats in the second half, as they put up 43 points and forced seven Walsh turnovers. Gabby Burris was a leading contributor on the defensive end, as she had four steals.

Burris, who was the leading scorer for the Bobcats in the game with 18 points and also added six rebounds to the mix, stated that she has room for more improvement heading into the first game of the season next Sunday.

“Reading the defense quicker is something I can improve on,” Burris said.

Head Coach Bob Boldon praised Burris after the game for her work in the offseason.

“She’s improved every aspect of her game,” Boldon said.

The leadership out of the second year player will be key to the success of the Bobcats heading into the season opener against UNC Wilmington next Sunday at home.

While Ohio did come away with the victory, Boldon expressed that the team needs to improve on the defensive end before next week’s game.

“We need to get better defensively along with the rebounding, but they can get better incrementally,” Boldon said.

As Ohio heads into next Sunday’s matchup against UNC Wilmington, there’ll be a lot to look for and be excited about. It’s a long season, but the Bobcats have a chance improve as the season goes on. As for now, the 90-62 win over Walsh is a good place to start.