Ohio Women’s basketball: Bobcats survive against Vikings to remain unbeaten

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ATHENS, OH —The (5-0) Ohio women’s basketball team looked to keep their undefeated status alive as the (3-4) Cleveland State Vikings came to the Convocation Center. With the Bobcats coming off of their 15-point victory over Lamar, momentum was certainly on their side coming in. The Vikings on the other hand, certainly looked to steal the game from the Bobcats on the road, and take their 2nd straight win against Ohio dating back to last season.

Despite that confidence coming in, both squads struggled early. The Bobcats only hit 38 percent of their shots in that first half and we’re out shot by Cleveland State’s 42 percent shooting clip. Another major trend in the first half was the sloppy play by both offenses. The Bobcats matched the Vikings’ 15 first half turnovers with 10 of their own, and both squads failed to score consistently against the tough defensive effort.

The Vikings actually went into halftime with a 31-30 lead that gave the Bobcats some of their toughest competition yet. The second half would be a different story however — Ohio came out angry and head coach Bob Boldon made noticeable adjustments offensively.

Right out of the gate in that second half, the Bobcats went on an 8-0 scoring run and set the tone early for the half. The second half would see the Bobcats put up a much more dominating performance, specifically in the fourth quarter.

Ohio senior forward Kendall Jessing battling for a rebound. | Yukai Peng WOUB |

The third quarter would see the Vikings relinquish their lead, for a close 40-45 score. As soon as the fourth quarter began, the Bobcats would leave no doubt, outscoring Cleveland State 27-13 on 57 percent shooting. It may have taken a little over a half, but Ohio was able to get into a flow offensively and establish their dominance to secure a 72-54 victory.

While the poor shooting performance was concerning, the Bobcats’ four different scorers with at least 14 points showed their depth at scoring. Outside of the team’s depth, the spotlight certainly belonged to both Amani Burke and her shooting performance, going 4-for-8 from beyond the arch during her 17-point performance, as well as CeCe Hooks’ efficient 15-point performance.

While the Bobcats took the win on Saturday and put themselves at 6-0 for the third time in five years, Boldon and his team certainly weren’t satisfied with the overall performance after that slow first half start.

“I thought our first half tempo was poor, we came out in the second half with more tempo, more energy,” Boldon said.

The key for the bobcats going forward is to keep that effort up for all four quarters; if they can do that, they’ll be a tough team for anyone to beat. As Boldon eluded to after the game, it’s a long season, and his team still has room to improve. The Bobcats will certainly look to kick-start that process Wednesday night against Purdue.