[Bryan Kurp | WOUB]

Ohio Women’s Basketball gets much-needed win against Miami in Guice’s return

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – With two games left in the regular season, the Ohio Bobcats found themselves in a do-or-die situation for their MAC tournament aspirations. The Bobcats got a much-needed win to help their situation on Wednesday night, beating arch-rival Miami, 73-64.

Coming into the game, Ohio was sitting ninth in the MAC standings and a half-game back from the eighth and final spot for the MAC tournament. The Bobcats played with urgency to start the game, jumping out to an early 20-7 lead. From there, Miami made the necessary adjustments and outscored Ohio 28-17 to close out the half.

The Bobcats would eventually prevail in the second half thanks to tight defense and a balanced scoring attack from their stars. Cece Hooks led Ohio in scoring with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists. Hooks started the game on fire scoring seven points in the opening 2:30 of the game. In what could potentially be her last game at the Convocation Center, Cece Hooks put together another signature performance and had the opportunity to reflect on her five-year career.

“I had a lot of ups and downs with this program,” Hooks said. “I got a chance to play with some of the best people in this program. I’m just happy to be surrounded by so many supportive people including my teammates.”

Erica Johnson, Gabby Burris, and Yaya Felder all scored in double digits to contribute to the balanced attack in the second half. Burris finished the night with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from deep. She also added a team-high eight rebounds in the contest.

Erica Johnson played an all-around game on Wednesday night and shined in the second half when Miami started focusing more on Hooks. Johnson finished with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. Yaya Felder provided a solid presence off the bench and added ten points of her own.

Ohio's Peyton Guice (11) drives for a basketball in the fourth quarter of the Bobcats' game against Miami on March 2, 2022.
Ohio’s Peyton Guice (11) drives for a basketball in the fourth quarter of the Bobcats’ game against Miami on March 2, 2022.

Ohio also welcomed the return of Peyton Guice who played in her first game action since January 23, 2021. After over a year of recovery, Guice came off the bench and scored five points in 16 minutes of game action. Guice made the most of her minutes and had a serious impact on the energy and morale of the team.

“This whole rehab process has been crazy, and my coaches and teammates have been nothing but supportive of me,” Guice said. “I got cleared yesterday. I talked with my coaches and teammates. They had a lot of confidence in me, and I had a lot of confidence in myself.”

“Just seeing her back on the floor is amazing. This is a kid that thought she would be cleared (from injury) in January. The whole time she was confident that she was going to play this year,” head coach Bob Boldon said. “I’m so proud that she got that moment.”

With the win on Wednesday night, Ohio jumped Kent State for the eighth spot in the MAC standings. They currently hold a half-game lead over the Golden Flashes. The Bobcats and Kent State will square off Saturday with a spot in the MAC tournament on the line.

“They know what’s at stake,” Boldon said. “I have a group of kids that love playing basketball and have had it taken away from them. I don’t need to spend a lot of time talking about the importance of opportunities to play. They understand that.”

If Ohio wins and gets some help, they could move as high as the fifth seed by the end of the regular season. Regardless, Ohio has their eyes on Kent State and will not end their season without a fight according to Boldon.

“I don’t know if we will make it to Cleveland next week or not, but it won’t be because they didn’t want to or they weren’t trying. I’ve never doubted that about them.”