Cece Hooks attempts a layup in the fourth quarter of the Bobcats 76-68 win over Bowling Green on March 9, 2019. PHOTO: Taylor Jedrzejek/WOUB

Ohio Women’s Basketball: Bobcats Look Towards WNIT as Chance to Prove Doubters Wrong

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When a team gets snubbed from an event they thought they deserved to be a part of, there are typically two directions they can go:

The team could sulk and play their next game in a half-hearted manner or they could band together to prove that they truly belonged in the event they were left out of.

Despite being left out of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on Monday, Ohio feels like they will fall into the latter category during their appearance in the 2019 WNIT.

“Our kids are excited to play basketball. This is a great opportunity. There’s some great teams in this tournament. We’re gonna try like crazy,” Ohio head coach Bob Boldon said. “We’ll come out Thursday and give it our best effort.”

“I think throughout this whole year, we’ve had a chip on our shoulder. I think finding out (Monday) night that we didn’t make it, we were all upset,” Bobcat senior Olivia Bower said. “But having that attitude that we’ve had all year, I think that we have the right mindset for Thursday and the WNIT.”

The team that gets to face this newly-motivated Bobcat (27-5) team will be High Point.

The Panthers (22-8) are the automatic qualifier from the Big South Conference and found their way into the WNIT after losing in the quarterfinals of the Big South Conference championship to the No.7 Charleston Southern Buccaneers.

The Bobcats and Bucs met at recently as last season when Charleston Southern came to the Convo to open the regular season. Ohio won that game 64-61, but the ‘Cats know that they can’t use that game as an exact barometer for how Thursday night will go.

“I think they’re similar. Defensively, they gave us a lot of problems last year. But I think we’re a very different team. Gabby (Burris) and Cece (Hooks) both played less than 20 minutes in that game, and Erica wasn’t even dressed,” Boldon said. “And even though it was a year ago, it was almost 60 games ago. It seems like an eternity.”

Along with showing the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee they were wrong to keep Ohio out, the Bobcats know that the WNIT could offer them a chance to build up their program.

This will only be the program’s third appearance in the Postseason WNIT to date and the Bobcats have a 1-2 record in the years they made it.

“You can look up at those banners, it’s not like we have a rich history of postseason performance,” Boldon said. “This provides us another opportunity to build (the program) a little bit more.”

Every win in the WNIT will give the women’s basketball community a better glimpse of what the Bobcats could bring to the table next year.

Their first chance to prove the committee wrong comes Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the Convo.