[Bryan Kurp | WOUB]

Ohio Women’s Basketball dominates Mercyhurst in home opener

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Ohio played at The Convo for the first time this season and welcomed back fans, the Marching 110 and even its mascot Rufus.  Saturday marked the first time the general public was allowed back inside The Convo to watch the team since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“There’s just more energy in the gym,” Ohio head coach Bob Boldon said.  “It was nice to be back and the energy, from the few fans I talked to, it seemed like they were excited to be back and I know our players were excited to have them back.”

Ohio (2-2) dominated its division two opponent Mercyhurst (0-4) to a 90-46 victory to send the fans home happy.

As usual, the dynamic duo of Erica Johnson and Cece Hooks shined in the victory — each scoring 21 points to lead the Bobcats.

Ohio's Yaya Felder (2) drives around a defender in the Bobcats' game against Mercyhurst on Nov. 20, 2021.
Ohio’s Yaya Felder (2) drives around a defender in the Bobcats’ game against Mercyhurst on Nov. 20, 2021.

Freshman Yaya Felder got her first career start and had a career day.  Felder finished with ten points and eight rebounds in a season-high 28 minutes of action.

“She’s just a good person,” Johnson said of Felder.  “She’s always ready.  She’s hungry.  She’s going to be great and it’s going to show.”

“She’s got a nose for the basketball.  She did a great job rebounding and I thought she did a great job attacking the rim,” Boldon said.  “She’ll continue to get better but I thought she gave us really good minutes and I’m excited about the rest of this year with her.  I think the program’s in good hands with players like her.”

Ella Pope, another freshman, also made an impact for the Bobcats on both ends of the court as she finished with nine points and six rebounds.

Ohio struggled on the defensive side in its first three games but showed improvement against the Lakers.  Ohio allowed ten or less points in three of the four quarters and held Mercyhurst to just 30 percent shooting.  The Bobcats also won the rebounding battle, 47 to 27.

“We weren’t where we needed to be to start the season and that’s my fault,” Boldon said.  “We’ve taken that side of the ball more serious since [the season opener against Notre Dame].  I thought we were better at Liberty.  I thought we were pretty good at Cincinnati.  That’s what you’re hoping for and I don’t think we’re there yet.  I think that will be our focus.”

Ohio has a little bit of a break before its back in action.  The Bobcats are set to take on Florida A&M Monday, Nov. 29.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. from inside The Convo.