Ohio’s Gabby Burris warms up prior to the Bobcats’ scrimmage against Walsh on Nov. 2, 2019. PHOTO: Ben Weilgopolski/WOUB

Ohio Women’s Basketball: Bobcats sneak by Walsh with 83-77 Exhibition Win

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ATHENS, Ohio—Coming off a 30-win season and a MAC East title, the Ohio women’s basketball team is ready for a new season. The Bobcats welcomed former assistant coach, Kate Bruce, and the Walsh Cavaliers to the Convocation Center for an exhibition game on Saturday.

The game was back and forth, but the Bobcats pulled away and won 83-77.

The Cavaliers started off hot from beyond the arc. In the first quarter, half of Walsh’s made shots came from long distance. The Cavilers shot four-of-six (67 percent) from 3-point territory. In contrast, the Bobcats shot three-of-11 (27 percent) from beyond the arc. Due to the vast difference in 3-point shooting efficiency, Walsh had a 20-17 lead over Ohio after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the tides turned in favor of the Bobcats. The Cavaliers were plagued by turnovers as they gave the ball away 10 times. The amount of turnovers helped Ohio outscore Walsh 23-11 in the second quarter to take a 40-31 halftime lead.

Junior Forward Gabby Burris led the way in the first half for the Bobcats. Heading into the half, Burris lead in scoring with 11 points. She also had the most blocks and rebounds with one block and four rebounds.

“Gabby was really good,” Ohio head coach Bob Boldon said. “Gabby sometimes gets overlooked because of the kids that she starts with, but Gabby did a nice job. It is nice to have her back and healthy and at full speed.”

Coming out of the locker room, Ohio started where they left off. A key aspect to the hot start was redshirt sophomore guard, Caitlyn Kroll. Kroll ended with 20 points, 17 of which came in the second half. However, the turnovers that plagued the Cavaliers seemed to plague the Bobcats in the third quarter. Ohio turned the ball over 12 times in the third quarter.

The Bobcats also found themselves in foul trouble for much of the second half. Of their 24 personal fouls, 13 came from the third quarter. As a result, over half of Walsh’s third quarter points came from the free-throw line.

“We need to play better defense,” Boldon said about the message heading into the fourth quarter “Those fouls were based 100 percent on because we were out of position.”

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Bobcats were trailing 58-56. Sophomore forward, Deesh Beck helped start things off with four quick points. In the fourth quarter, Ohio outscored Walsh 27-19. Kroll was a big part of the fourth quarter push. She scored eight points in the fourth quarter to help give the Bobcats their final push and win the game.

After falling short of the tournament last year, the Bobcats follow the motto “Unfinished Business”.

“We have everything we’ve done wrong and we know what we need to fix, so it’s another step moving forward,” Burris said. “We are always gonna go by unfinished business and play by that.”

Ohio will start the regular season game with a difficult non-conference road game against Power Five opponent Syracuse.