[Reese Thompson | WOUB]

Ohio Women’s Basketball overcomes 16-point deficit to beat Buffalo

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Just like the wintry conditions outside the Convocation Center on Monday, Ohio couldn’t have had much of a colder start in its matchup against Buffalo.

The Bulls piled on a 13-0 run to start the game and led by as many as 16 points in the first half.  Ohio’s only production in the first quarter came from Cece Hooks and Erica Johnson, which combined to score all of the Bobcats’ 14 points.

“For us, it was no communication,” Johnson said of Ohio’s struggles in the first half.  “Once we started communicating, things fell in line.  We weren’t communicating at all and on the other half of that, we weren’t listening to each other either.  Once we fixed that, we were good.”

Ohio's Cece Hooks is ready to drive down the lane against Buffalo's Summer Hemphill in their game on Jan. 24, 2022 inside the Convocation Center.
Cece Hooks prepares to drive against Buffalo’s Summer Hemphill on Jan. 24, 2022 inside The Convo.

The communication improved and the offense eventually warmed up for Ohio (10-5, 4-2 MAC) as it took down Buffalo (11-6, 5-2 MAC) 68-66, which entered the game in second place in the MAC.

“Either you’re tough enough to do it or you’re not,” Ohio head coach Bob Boldon said.  “These kids, there’s something special about them.  Buffalo’s good.  They’re hard to beat, and we start down 16, they’re really hard to beat…to give up 25 points in the second half is really good.”

The Bobcats held Buffalo to just 34 percent from the field in the second half, including just one of 13 from beyond the arc.

Georgia Woolley led the Bulls with 15 points.  Summer Hemphill and Adebola Adeyeye each had a dozen points.  Dyaisha Fair added ten points.

In total, the Bulls hit 30 of their 72 shots in the ball game but were held to just four of 23 from three-point range.

Cece Hooks had her second consecutive double-double with 20 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

Johnson followed with 16 points.  Johnson sank five of her 11 three-point attempts.

Kaylee Bambule scored all 15 of her points in the second half, including the game-tying and go-ahead three pointers in the fourth quarter.

“My teammates believe in me, and they put so much trust in me,” Bambule said.  “They make sure I have a good mindset, so I credit them.”

Ohio's Erica Johnson looks to pass the ball in the fourth quarter of the Bobcats' game on Jan. 24, 2022 against the Buffalo Bulls.
Ohio’s Erica Johnson looks to pass the ball in the fourth quarter of the Bobcats’ game on Jan. 24, 2022 against the Buffalo Bulls.

Following the slow start, Ohio finished the game shooting 43 percent from the field on 25 of 58 shooting.  The Bobcats sank 11 of their 31 three-point attempts.

“I thought when we moved the ball we looked good on offense,” Boldon said.  “At times, the ball movement got a little stagnant and that is part of what Buffalo does to you.  They make it difficult to pass the basketball and we made it difficult on ourselves with silly turnovers early.  In the second half, we got settled in, the ball moved and got to the right spot and the players made plays that they are capable of making.”

The road ahead doesn’t get any easier for the Bobcats.  They are set to travel to Toledo Wednesday to take on the MAC-leading Rockets.  It will be the Bobcats’ third game in five days.

“It’s going to be difficult but we’re going to make the most of the opportunity,” Boldon said.  “We’ve had games taken away from us and we know what that feels like.  We’re going to go up and play a very good Toledo team and try out best to beat them.”

Tip-off between Ohio and Toledo is set for 7 p.m. from Savage Arena.