Kent State University’s Asiah Dingle (3) tries to keep up with Ohio University’s Cece Hooks (1) while she chases down a tipped ball during a game between Ohio and Kent State on Jan. 16, 2019, at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio. Ohio won, 83-81. (Photo by: Charles Hatcher)

Ohio Women’s Basketball: Ohio takes foul fest against Kent State to improve to 14-1

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ATHENS, Ohio — The common noise heard around the Convocation Center tonight weren’t cheers or boos, instead they were whistles. In a game that featured 55 total fouls and 61 free throws, whistles were a common theme for both the Ohio women’s basketball team and Kent State Wednesday night.

“It’s terrible for women’s basketball,” Ohio head coach Bob Bolden said after the game. “Nobody enjoyed watching that game, I would’ve rather watched Bachelor in Paradise.”

Ohio (14-1, 3-1) was able to come out on top in this game over the Golden Flashes (10-5, 3-1) 83-81 in a game that dragged out in the Convocation center all night.

Before the game became a foul frenzy, the Bobcats seemed well on their way to another comfortable victory. Gabby Burris put the Bobcats up 14 seconds into the game, a lead the would never relinquish despite Kent State coming very close the second half. With 14 first half points from Cece Hooks, the Bobcats took a 46-31 lead into the locker room.

Ohio also got eight points from Amani Burke and six from Dominique Doseck, who helped the Bobcats shoot 47 percent from the floor and 45 percent from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes of basketball.

Once the second half began, that’s when the fouls got out of control: Doseck got called for four fouls in the third quarter alone, all of them with little contact that could’ve been easily ignored by the officiating crew.

However the fouls came, and they came quickly for the Bobcats and the Golden Flashes. These whistles prevented the Bobcats ability to create turnovers and get out on the break, and slowly but surely, Kent State climbed back into the game.

“Whether you are in foul trouble or not, you should work hard and put yourself in a good defensive position,” Bolden said. “If you focus on being in a good position you can stop a lot of problems.”

In the final twenty minutes of basketball, Kent State scored 50 total points and defensive woes have been a recurring issue for the Bobcats.

“We have the worst defense in the MAC,” Bolden said. “We have the stats to back it up, back-to-back games giving up a 30 point quarter, nobody else has that.”

Kent State was paced offensively by Alexa Golden — her 22 points led the Golden Flashes. Megan Carter added 20 points, while Ali Poole, Asiah Dingle and Merissa Barber-Smith combined for 25 points in a gritty performance.

Kent State University’s Alexa Golden (24) jumps in an attempt to block the shot of Ohio University’s Erica Johnson (4) during a game between Ohio and Kent State on Jan. 16, 2019, at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio. Ohio won, 83-81. (Photo by: Charles Hatcher)

Despite the problems that Ohio had on both ends tonight, including 22 turnovers, the Bobcats were able to come out on top. Ohio was led by Hooks 23 points and freshman Erica Johnson’s 16 points. Burke and Doseck continued their solid first half performances, finishing with 15 and 14 points respectively.

Gabby Burris led the Bobcats with nine rebounds, and she pitched in nine points of herself.

During the fourth quarter, those five Bobcats were all on the floor with four fouls, each one being one away from fouling out of the game. Ohio stayed disciplined for the most part during this stretch run, with Hooks and Johnson both fouling out when the game seemed all but decided.

“You can’t focus on the fouls, your team is depending on you,” Doseck said. “If you are worried about yourself fouling out you are going to let your team down.”

The game ended with Kent State stripping Deesh Beck and then nailing a shot from way downtown to cut the Bobcats lead to two as the buzzer sounded, it was too little too late for Kent State, but that, along with the poor second half performance left the Bobcats disappointed.

“It definitely feels like we just survived,” Burke said. “If we played to our full potential then I can’t imagine what the score would’ve been.”

Ohio will return to action on Saturday afternoon when Eastern Michigan takes the trip down to Athens.