(Left to Right) Burris, Johnson, Burke, and Hooks each scored in double figures for Ohio Wednesday night at the Q

Ohio Women’s Basketball: Young depth pushes Ohio to MAC semifinals

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All season Ohio has relied on different players to step up to help them win games. Wednesday night, on a bigger stage in the conference tournament, nothing changed.

Ohio had three players named to all MAC teams, CeCe Hooks was a first team selection and defensive player of the year. Erica Johnson was sixth person of the year, freshman of the year, and third team all MAC. Finally, Amani Burke was named to the third team all MAC team.

All three players recognized by the conference stepped up, along with Gabby Burris. The four each finished in double figures to push Ohio to the MAC semis for the first time in each of those players careers.

Johnson got things going early, the freshman wasted no time heating up for her first MAC tournament game. With 12 points in the first quarter, Johnson set the tone for what the Bobcats were doing offensively. She finished with a double double, 18 points and 10 rebounds.

“Once I saw my first few shots go in, kind of dictated my game,” Johnson said. “I knew I could keep attacking and get what I wanted.”

Johnson also stepped up from beyond the arc, Ohio averages almost ten three point makes a game and tonight the Bobcats hit eight, with half coming from the freshman.

Burris was consistent all night and finished with 19 points on 8-14 shooting from the field. The Sophomore has been battling through injuries all season, and her breakout performance was a huge boost for the Bobcats getting over the hump, of the MAC quarterfinals.

“This was the first week she practiced an entire week in a month and a half.” Ohio Head Coach Bob Boldon said.

Burke helped with the scoring effort, ending with 12 points on 5-11 shooting from the floor. The Junior also hit two 3-pointers.

Finally, Hooks was spectacular on the biggest stage. After just winning the MAC defensive player of the year award, she had five steals and pressured the Huskies guards all night long.

“I was really focused on making steals,” Hooks said. “And I know they feed off my energy, so I was just focused.”

Hooks wasn’t just a defensive pest, after a two point first half, she helped propel Ohio to as much as a 22 point lead in the second half.

“I was frustrated a little bit in the first half, but I just brought myself together in the second half” Hooks said.

These four players scored 65 of the teams 72 points, Dominique Doseck was the lone starter not in double figures but she impacted the game in other ways.

“I thought Dominique did a great job of not forcing things. She got a couple good looks and took them when she got them,” Boldon said. “But otherwise she did a great job of moving without the basketball and getting her teammates open.”

These primary scorers for Ohio might be young by grade, but they have been experienced in making plays the entire season.

“Now we’re 30 games into it, so you can’t be young anymore. You play 30 games and now you’ve got to go out and play basketball.” Boldon said.

With the entire starting lineup returning except for Doseck, you can expect them to be leading Ohio not only on Friday night against Toledo or Miami, but for years to come.