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[Reese Thompson | WOUB]

Ohio Women’s Basketball unable to hold double-digit lead, falls to MAC leader Toledo

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — It was a tale of two halves Wednesday night between Ohio and Toledo.

The Bobcats led by as many as 17 points in the first half and held an 11-point advantage at halftime.

However, first place Toledo (20-4, 14-1 MAC) made a second-half comeback to down Ohio (12-10, 6-7 MAC), 76-73, and secure a spot in next month’s MAC Tournament.

“They’re by far and away the best team in the league,” Ohio head coach Bob Boldon said of Toledo. “They’ve got plenty of good players.  They’re going to make shots and they did that.”

Ohio women's basketball head coach Bob Boldon talks to the players Gabby Burris, Kaylee Bambule, Cece Hooks, Kate Dennis and Madi Mace during a timeout in the third quarter of the Bobcats' game against Toledo on Feb. 16, 2022.
Ohio women’s basketball head coach Bob Boldon talks to the players during a timeout in the third quarter of the Bobcats’ game against Toledo on Feb. 16, 2022.

Things looked promising for the Bobcats in the opening half of play.  They were led by Gabby Burris and Cece Hooks, who had 16 and 12 points, respectively.  The Bobcats shot just shy of 45 percent of the field and held the Rockets to just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc.

“We had a lot of kids play really well, and as a team we played really well in the first half,” Boldon said. “It’s just frustrating that we weren’t able to do the same thing in the second half.”

Toledo went on to outscore the Bobcats 29-16 in the third quarter and led by a point after three, 61-60.  Ohio brought the score within a single point several times in the closing minutes but were unable to leap ahead for good.

Sophia Wiard sparked the second-half comeback for the Rockets as she had 18 points in the final two quarters.  Wiard led the Rockets in scoring with 26 points.

“She did a good job of finding shots,” Boldon said. “I thought they did a good job of find her and they moved the ball. They’re really, really patient and they got what they wanted.”

Sammi Mikonowicz and Quinesha Lockett also reached double figures in the game for Toledo.

Hooks led the Bobcats with 25 points and eight rebounds. Burris and Madi Mace also reached double figures with 18 and 12 points, respectively.

Erica Johnson returned to the starting lineup after sitting out Monday’s contest with an injury.  Johnson only shot 2-of-11 from the field and added seven points in 25 minutes of action.

The Bobcats still sit in ninth place in the Mid-American Conference standings.  The top eight teams in the league make the MAC Tournament in three weeks so Ohio has some work to do.

Ohio hits the road to take on Bowling Green Saturday at 1 p.m.  The Bobcats took down the Falcons, 85-70, on Jan. 22 but Saturday is almost a must-win situation if Ohio wants to keep pace with the teams ahead of it in the standings.