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)

Ohio Women’s Basketball: Strong defense, Johnson guides Bobcats past Northern Illinois

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DEKALB, Ill. – Coming into Wednesday night, Ohio and Northern Illinois had the two highest scoring offenses in the Mid-American Conference – the Bobcats averaged nearly 84 points-per-game while NIU averaged 80 points-per-game.

On paper, it looked as if the Bobcats and Huskies would score a lot of points, but that was not the case Wednesday night.

Even though Ohio (16-1, 5-1 MAC) didn’t have the best offensive night, they shot the ball well enough to get the 69-53 win over Northern Illinois (11-7, 3-3 MAC).

Following their game against Kent State on Jan. 16, Bob Boldon called the Bobcats’ defense “the worst in the league”.  Since then, the Bobcats have played two straight games of solid defense.  They held NIU to only 27 percent from the field and 7-of-27 from beyond the arc.  The Bobcats also out-rebounded NIU – the best rebounding team in the MAC – 51 to 45.

Erica Johnson was the leading scorer for Ohio with a double-double – a career-high 26 points and 16 rebounds.  Gabby Burris also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.  As a team, the Bobcats shot 41 percent from the field, including 8-of-25 from beyond the arc.

In the first half, Ohio held the Huskies to only 21 percent and 3-of-15 from three.  Like the Huskies, the Bobcats also shot 3-of-15 from beyond the arc but shot 34 percent from the field.  Ohio had a 32-21 lead at the half.  Johnson led the way with 11 points.

In the second half, the Bobcats never had a lead less than 10 points.  Johnson had 15 second half points.  Domique Doseck had eight points in the half.

Ohio picks up its 16th win of the season – matching their win total from last season. The Bobcats are now a perfect 8-0 on the road this season and are tied for first place in the MAC East with Buffalo.

The Bobcats are back on the road Saturday to face the Bowling Green Falcons.  Tip-off is at 2 p.m.