Ohio Women’s Basketball: Bobcats fall to Central Michigan in OT, Eliminated in MAC Semis< < Back to
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOUB) — With the ballgame tied at 85 late in the fourth quarter, Ohio had a chance to win the game to advance to the MAC Championship game.
Following a timeout, Cece Hooks drove down the lane put the ball up — but there was a whistle with eight seconds left in regulation. It was a charging call. It was Hooks’ fifth foul of the afternoon. Groans and boos in reaction to the call echoed throughout the arena as Hooks walked off the court and sat all alone in a chair along the baseline.
Even though Ohio has a deeper roster than in past years, losing the MAC Player of the Year is huge, especially against the No. 2 team in the conference.
Central Michigan (17-8) dominated the overtime period to end Ohio’s (14-8) hopes of a MAC Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth.
“I told the kids how proud I was of them to get to this moment,” Ohio head coach Bob Boldon said. “The last month of our season has been a roller coaster to say the least. And we played in this game and played it, quite frankly, as well as we did is quite impressive.”
Before fouling out, Hooks had 23 points for Ohio as well as seven rebounds, seven steals and five assists in what could be the final game of her very successful Bobcat career.
Boldon gave his thoughts postgame on what he is going to miss most out of Hooks if Friday’s game was her last.
“There’s a laundry list. I think probably her smile and her joy of playing the game. That’s always when she’s playing at her best. From a coaching standpoint, probably her ability to change a game in a heartbeat.”
With the NCAA eligibility rules, there is still a chance Hooks returns next year for a fifth season.
“[Hooks] has about two weeks to decide if she’s going to enter the [WNBA] draft,” Boldon said. “We’ve talked about that a little bit. On Tuesday, we’ll see if we made the NIT and if we did, we’ll get ready for practice and if we didn’t, we’ll talk about postseason meetings with everybody, including Cece and what that means for her for next year.”
Erica Johnson also scored 23 points for Ohio on 5-of-9 shooting from three.
Freshman Madi Mace had a solid day with 16 points and six rebounds. Mace hit two big shots at the end of regulation, including game-tying three pointer.
“Madi made the all-freshman team this year and I think her future is very bright,” Boldon said. “She stepped in and really blossomed for us [this season]. I think the future for her is very exciting.”
Central Michigan’s high-powered offense was giving Ohio trouble all day. The Chippewas shot 52 percent from the field and drained 16 three-pointers.
Molly Davis led CMU with 33 points and Micaela Kelly followed right behind with 31 points.
Central Michigan advances and will face Bowling Green on Saturday for the MAC Tournament title.
The Bobcats will find out in the next few days whether they will play in the WNIT.