PHOTO: Ben Weilgopolski/WOUB

Ohio Women’s Basketball: Barker’s hot shooting night fuels Ohio’s win over Marshall

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ATHENS, Ohio — Katie Barker hit four of her six three-point shots in the first quarter —  Barker’s hot start to the game helped lead Ohio to an early lead as the Bobcats stomped the Thundering Herd 67-51 Wednesday night in the Convocation center.

Barker missed all of last season except one game due to injury, she came alive for the first time this season and after a year of rehab, it felt like the old Katie was back.

“Coming out and getting my confidence off has been a really big struggle for me,” Barker said. “After the first one went in, I just kind of felt it.”

Her team continuously fed her the ball — Barker paced Ohio with 18 points, all of which came from beyond-the-arc.

Ohio ended the first quarter with an eight-point lead, but the Bobcat’s defense fell flat — Marshall closed the gap to just one-point by halftime.

The Bobcats focused in and the second half looked like a brand new team.

The defensive turnaround was led by Cece Hooks — the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the MAC came up with 10 of her own rebounds and six steals, four of which came in the second half. Gabby Burris also contributed picking up eight rebounds, four coming on the offensive class.

“We stopped giving up middle penetration.”  Hooks said about Ohio’s defense in the second half. “We were just mentally locked in.”

After allowing 35 points in the first half, the Ohio defense only allowed 16 points in the second half — the Thundering Herd only scored three points in the final frame, a season-best for Ohio.

Back-to-back threes by Amani Burke early to begin the fourth quarter helped the Bobcats break away to a permanent lead and put the game well out of reach.

Ohio shifts their focus to the Ohio State Buckeyes as the Bobcats travel up north to take on the Buckeyes on Sunday, with tip-off set for 2 p.m. inside the Schottenstein Center.

“We get the chance to play a Big Ten school and as you know, that doesn’t happen a lot,” head coach Bob Boldon said. “It’s certainly something our kids are looking forward to.”