Click the video above for highlights from Ohio's 85-66 victory over Toledo, brought to you by Bobcat Showcase reporter Bryan Kurp.

Ohio Women’s Basketball: Bobcats lead Wire-To-Wire against Toledo in 85-66 win

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ATHENS, Ohio — For the first time this season, the Bobcats won a game comfortably.

When Peyton Guice dropped a three-pointer just 15 seconds into the game to give Ohio its first lead of the day, the Bobcats never really looked back.  In fact, Ohio (5-3-3-2 MAC) never trailed and essentially cruised to an 85-66 victory over Toledo (6-3, 2-3 MAC) on Saturday afternoon.

The Bobcats started out the ball game on a 13-2 run, which set the tone for the ball game defensively, as Ohio forced 16 steals and had six blocks in the win.  It was probably the best defensive game the Bobcats have played this season.

“I think we were just more intentional about guarding,” head coach Bob Boldon said.  “[Toledo’s] got two fantastic guards, and I thought we did a great job at making it difficult on them.  You’re not going to stop the top guards in the league, they’re just too good, but you have to at least make it difficult.  And I thought we did a good job at making it difficult for them to find shots.  Toledo traditionally runs their plays very well and I thought we did a good job at disrupting the rhythm of what they were trying to do.”

Caitlyn Kroll and Peyton Guice made an early impact for the Bobcats offensively, as they combined for 11 of Ohio’s 24 first quarter points.  Kroll struggled at times early in the season but seemed to find more of a rhythm today as she scored a season-high 14 points.

“She works her tail off,” Boldon said.  “Everyday after practice she came up with a shooting regime, and, to her credit, she’s done it every single day after practice.  You just love it, as a coach, when you watch that.  To see it pay off for those kids is probably one of the more special things about coaching, just watching those kids succeed.”

“It’s definitely rewarding and definitely helps my confidence,” Kroll said of her performance.  “It’s definitely going to help moving forward.”

Kroll made four of Ohio’s 13 three-pointers on the afternoon.  The Bobcats have recently struggled from beyond the arc, making just three against Miami (OH) on Wednesday and seven the previous Saturday against Central Michigan.   Ohio seemed to have broken out of the slump, shooting 13-of-36 from long distance.

“I’ve been happy with our shot selection,” Boldon said.  “We haven’t made as many as I had hoped, but I’ve been happy with the choice to shoot and when to pass and the shots we’ve taken.  We’ll continue to do that.”

CeCe Hooks led the way for Ohio with 14 points on the afternoon.  Erica Johnson quietly had another strong output as she had a double-double and was just two assists shy of her second career triple-double —  11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.  Gabby Burris also reached double figures with ten points.

Ohio Women's Basketball Erica Johnson
Ohio’s Erica Johnson pulls up for a shot in the Bobcats’ game against Toledo on Jan. 10, 2021.

The Bobcats continue to have increased production from its role players coming off the bench this season.

Most notably, freshman Madi Mace scored eight points and hauled in eight rebounds, seven of which were offensive rebounds.  Kaylee Bambule hit back-to-back threes in the second quarter to increase Ohio’s lead.  Jasmine Hale played 14 points and scored five points to help out the Bobcats.

“It definitely helps a lot,” Kroll said.  “I know it takes a lot off of Erica, CeCe and Gabby to know that other people are able to step up and provide for the team as well.”

Ohio returns to the Convocation Center on Wednesday evening when it is scheduled to welcome in Ball State (4-5, 2-3 MAC).  Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.