Ohio Women’s Basketball: Bobcats Fall to Central Michigan in Back-and-Forth Battle< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Each time Ohio and Central Michigan hit the hardwood, it always seems like it’s a battle down to the final buzzer. Saturday was no exception.
With eight lead changes in the ball game, Micaela Kelly’s go-ahead three pointer with 37.6 seconds left was the lead that mattered most as the Chippewas (5-2, 3-0 MAC) picked up their seventh-straight victory at The Convo over Ohio (3-3, 0-2 MAC), 90-87. Ohio is off to its worst six-game start since the 2013-14 season.
“It’s frustrating because you think you’re a really good basketball team, and then you just realize you’re really just average,” Ohio head coach Bob Boldon said. “I think that’s probably the hardest thing to swallow. This is what we are, a mediocre team.”
The Bobcats did a good job of limiting reigning Mid-American Conference player of the year Micaela Kelly to just seven points in the first half. But big time players step up in big time games, and Kelly lit up the scoreboard in the second half — scoring 21 points in the final 20 minutes and leading Central Michigan with 28 points.
“She’s the best player in the league, hands down,” Boldon said. “The coaches and everybody in the conference voted her for player of the year for good reason. (Kelly’s) a competitor. I think one of things that’s impressive about her is she had a poor first half, but she doesn’t pout. She stays in the game and she’s very focused.”
After trailing 24-17 after one quarter, the Bobcats rallied and ended up heading to the half with a 43-35 advantage, which was capped off by an Erica Johnson three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer.
The Chippewas came right back in the third quarter and, thanks to a trio of three-pointers from Kalle Martinez, Central Michigan led after the third, 64-60.
Kelly made her presence felt in the final quarter of action, scoring 14 points in the final seven minutes.
Ohio was down 88-86 with 7.2 seconds left and Gabby Burris was sent to the free-throw line, but Burris only converted on one of her two free throws.
Ohio had five players in double figures and was led by CeCe Hooks, who had 22 points. Erica Johnson added 21 points and hit four of Ohio’s seven three-pointers. The Bobcats struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 7-of-37.
Gabby Burris and Peyton Guice also reached double figures.
One of the bright spots for Ohio was the play of two of its bench players — Madi Mace and Kaylee Bambule.
Mace, a freshman from Parkersburg, W. Va., was the Bobcats’ biggest threat off the bench as she scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in over 30 minutes of action.
“Her development has been fantastic and her skill set is really good,” Boldon said of Mace. “She’s just trying to continue to learn the system. She’s in a very good spot for a freshman.”
Bambule provided a spark for the Bobcats in the second half with eight points.
Ohio looks to get back in the win column on Wednesday when it travels out to Oxford to take on Miami. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. inside Millett Hall.