Ohio Women’s Basketball: ‘Cats Use Dominant Start to Lead Wire-to-Wire Over Bowling Green< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio- There’s no better security blanket than a good defense.
Although, two players putting up over 20 points each might give a good defense a run for its money.
Luckily for the Bobcats, they didn’t have to pick between the two Saturday against the Bowling Green Falcons, as outstanding individual performances from Cece Hooks and Erica Johnson wouldn’t go to waste thanks to an unrelenting defense. The Bobcats defeated the Falcons 79-69 to mark three straight wins for Bob Boldon’s squad.
Ohio’s defense was suffocating from the jump, forcing turnovers on the first three Bowling Green possessions and not allowing the opposition to put up any points for nearly four minutes. A 9-23 advantage after the opening quarter set the tone for the Bobcats in a game that they never trailed in.
The defense wasn’t immune to letting up at times, as the Falcons almost matched their points total of the first quarter in the first two minutes of quarter two. Boldon talked about his defense after the game.
“[Our performance] defensively has kind of come and gone,” Boldon said. “And I don’t’ know that I worry too much about that because it seems to have gone when we’ve been up 15 or 20 points, and that’s a different problem. You deal with that kind of differently then just not being able to stop people. We’ve shown that we can stop people, the challenge this week to the team is just to try and be more consistent in that manner.”
Nevertheless, the defense did stay locked in for the majority of the game, generating 13 steals and forcing the Falcons into 22 total turnovers.
For Bowling Green, Caterrion Thompson did the most damage off the dribble, finishing with a team-high 20 points and getting to the line for six free throw attempts, making five.
The visitors were able to pull within single digits near the start of the fourth quarter, as they worked methodically on offense, drawing contact and capitalizing on opportunities for points in the paint. However, quick threes from Caitlyn Kroll and Erica Johnson would put the game permanently out of reach for Bowling Green.
Cece Hooks finished with 25 while Erica Johnson finished with 22 to power past the Falcons in a game where they were the only Bobcats in double digits. Combining to shoot 16-for-22 from the field and 9-for-11 from the free throw line, the two are used to working in tandem.
“We’ve been playing with each other since eighth grade,” Hooks said after the game. “So we do have a connection. And we decided to come here together, so I mean, we’re locked in with each other pretty much for the rest of the years here.”
“You’ve got to do the simple things well”
Coach Boldon made it known that against a team that shoots threes as effectively as Bowling Green, no lead is safe. His team limited the Falcons to 9-for-27 shooting from behind the arc, while also playing tough on the interior against the visiting team’s bigs, namely Angela Perry, who is listed at six feet two inches.
Perry was fronted in the post all game to great success, as she finished with nine points. Gabby Burris and Deesh Beck took the challenge for most of the game, but even when smaller guards were switched onto Perry, the Bobcats still worked to make life difficult down low.
“I mean, you could see how much they were seeking out shots,” Boldon said. “And [Perry] certainly deserves a lot of attention in the post. I thought we did a really good job of guarding her, but that comes at a price with the amount of help you give off the arc. And I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job of doing both which is a tough order.”
“We ask our kids to cover a lot of ground […] and they make plays, but we work on it regularly. We spend most of the defensive part of our practices working on four-out-one-in shell. You know, it sounds almost elementary, but its a simple game. You’ve got to do the simple things well.”
Speed that Kills
As halftime was approaching, Bowling Green looked to hold for the last shot and go into the locker room with some momentum.
Cece Hooks had other plans.
In a flurry of action that only took about five seconds, Hooks blocked a jump shot, came down with the ball, and jetted across the court to convert a lay-in at the buzzer.
It’s a play that coach Boldon has come to expect from his talented guard.
“Well, it’s just like I showed her in practice. I showed her how to get out there,” he joked.
“It’s amazing. She’s just good. And she’s locked in right now, and she’s been coming in and getting extra work in, and this is really important to her, and you can tell because she’s working hard. There’s no shortage of things we ask her to do. The list of things we ask her to do is ridiculous and the way that she continues to come through for us is incredibly impressive.”
Back with a Vengeance
Hooks missed her team’s Wednesday contest against Northern Illinois, serving a one-game suspension.
Safe to say she didn’t take long to shake off any rust.
Having scored 25 and 28 points in the two games before the suspension, the junior picked up right where she left off, leading Ohio in points, rebounds (7), and assists (8), while also collecting three steals.
“I was just glad to be back on the floor with my teammates,” Hooks said. “Missing Wednesday’s game, it hurt, but I was just glad to be back, and show up.”
Take What the Defense Gives You
Erica Johnson’s 22 points on Saturday was dwarfed by her 32-point outing on Wednesday, as the red-shirt sophomore has been on a mission this past week.
Her coach credits factors outside of her natural talent.
“Her shot selection has been tremendous,” Boldon said. “She’s taking good shots, she’s been very patient, she’s garnered a lot of attention, and she’s passed the ball when that’s happened. But when they’re giving her shots, she’s taking them.”
Johnson herself credits her teammates.
“Just reading the second defender is what gets me going,” she said. “Really it’s my teammates, they found me for a couple open threes, and I got a couple of them myself, and once I got that confidence, I just knew I was locked in.”
As far as anything special she’s done this week to spark her hot shooting, Johnson has stuck to what she’s always done.
“I don’t have, like, a pregame ritual. Just getting out there and getting shots up, getting a sweat going and getting in the flow.”
No changes to the pregame playlist?
Interested to know what’s on that playlist? Johnson isn’t telling.
“You’re not ready for that.”