ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio women's basketball team (2-0) closes out its current three-game homestand by hosting Eastern Kentucky (0-2) on Sunday (Nov. 18) in a 1 p.m. ET contest at the Convocation Center.
Sunday's contest will be streamed live on ESPN+, with Marty Bannister and Ryan Boyd on the call. The game will also be broadcast on the radio on WOUB-AM 1340, with Jake Hromada and Gabe Genovesi calling the action. The radio broadcast will also be available on OhioBobcats.com via StretchInternet's GameCentral.
OHIO TAKES AIM AT FOURTH 3-0 START IN FIVE YEARS
Ohio will be looking to start a season 3-0 for the fourth time in the last five years and eighth time in program history.
The Bobcats dominated the final 20 minutes of play in an 86-49 rout of Binghamton last Thursday (Nov. 15) at the Convocation Center. The Bobcats outscored the Bearcats 49-16 in the second half. Ohio recorded 20 assists on 32 made field goals -- the most in a game for the program since tallying 20 in a 77-75 victory over Northern Illinois on Jan. 24, 2018. The Bobcats limited Binghamton to just 3-of-8 shooting over the final 20 minutes -- including just one made three-pointer.
Ohio opened the 2018-19 season with a 95-72 victory over UNCW on Sunday (Nov. 11) at the Convo. The Bobcats improved to 5-1 in season openers under head coach Bob Boldon -- including 2-0 in openers played at the Convo. Ohio shot 56.1 percent (32-of-57) from the floor and sank 77.8 percent (21-of-27) of its free throw attempts. The Bobcats tallied 14 steals and forced the Seahawks to commit 26 turnovers, turning them into 29 points.
Ohio enters Sunday's contest with Eastern Kentucky ranked 10th in the country in scoring offense (90.5 points per game) and ninth in field goal percentage (51.6 percent; 64-of-124). The Bobcats' +30 scoring margin ranks 30th in the nation. Ohio has also done a solid job of taking care of the basketball, ranking 22nd in the country with a +8.5 turnover margin.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
The Bobcats have seen multiple players make an impact offensively in their two victories to start off 2018-19. After five players finished in double figures in points in the win over UNCW, four did so in the victory over Binghamton.
BURRIS NAMED MAC EAST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore forward Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week last Tuesday (Nov. 13). Burris, whose major is undeclared, earned weekly conference honors for the first time in her career. Burris scored a career-high 23 points to lead Ohio to the win over UNCW. She shot 8-of-15 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from three-point range, and made all four of her free throw attempts. She also chipped in five rebounds and a steal in 35 minutes of action.
In last Thursday's win over Binghamton, Burris did not score, but Ohio was +35 with her on the floor. She tallied a career-high four steals in the victory.
Burris earned a spot on the MAC All-Freshman Team in 2017-18. She averaged 10.2 points per game in her rookie campaign to rank third on the team and 4.4 boards per game to rank second.
HUNGRY FOR MORE
Sophomore guard Cece Hooks (Dayton, Ohio) represented Ohio on the 2018-19 Preseason All-MAC East Division Team. Hooks is coming off a rookie season in which she was named MAC Freshman of the Year and earned sports on both the All-MAC Third Team and MAC All-Freshman Team. She averaged a team-high 13.5 points per game and became the second-highest scoring freshman in program history with 406 points. She broke Ohio's single-season record with 100 steals (3.3 per game) and led the Bobcats with 4.8 rebounds per game.
Hooks made seven of her nine field goals attempts en route to a 16-point performance in the 2018-19 season opener against UNCW. She then led all scorers with 20 points off of a career-high nine made field goals in the victory over Binghamton. She also chipped in eight rebounds, a game-high seven assists and two steals in 23 minutes.
Hooks, who is averaging a team-high 18 points per game so far this year, ranks 26th in the country in field goal percentage (69.6 percent; 16-of-23). She has also dished out 16 assists so far this season, with her average of eight per game currently ranking fifth in the country.
BURSTING ONTO THE SCENE
Redshirt freshman forward Erica Johnson (Mansfield, Ohio) has been an impactful presence off of the bench for Ohio through two games in 2018-19. Johnson, who redshirted the 2017-18 campaign, finished with 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds in 25 minutes off of the bench her collegiate debut. She then continued her strong start to her collegiate career, making six shots -- including five triples -- to record a career-high 19 points. She also hauled in a career-high nine rebounds and dished out a career-high six assists in 28 minutes off of the bench.
Johnson currently ranks third on the squad with 15 points per game while leading Ohio with eight boards per contest.
Junior guard Amani Burke (Columbus, Ohio) is averaging 17 points per game through two contests in 2018-19 to rank second on the team. She finished with 20 points in the season-opening win over UNCW, then tallied 14 points in the victory over Binghamton.
The season-opening win over UNCW saw senior guard Dominique Doseck (Athens, Ohio) total 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in 36 minutes of work. In the win over Binghamton, senior forward Olivia Bower (Bowerstown, Ohio) set a new career high with 13 points after making a career-high four field goals -- including a trey -- and sinking a career-high four free throws. She also achieved career highs with five rebounds, two assists and a game-high two blocks in 23 minutes of action.
SEASON SIX UNDER BOLDON
The Bobcats are in their sixth season under the direction of head coach Bob Boldon, who was named the 10th head coach in program history on March 28, 2013.
Ohio has gone 102-58 (.638) with Boldon at the helm of the program. His .638 winning percentage is the highest of any head coach in the history of Ohio women's basketball, and he needs 22 more wins to surpass Marsha Reall (123; 1990-99) for the most in program history.
Boldon led Ohio to back-to-back MAC regular season titles in 2015 and '16. The Bobcats won the MAC tournament crown in 2015 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995. Ohio participated in the WNIT in both 2016 and '17 and advanced to the third round in '16.
MEET THE COACHING STAFF
Tavares Jackson has been an assistant coach on Bob Boldon's Ohio staff for six years. Marwan Miller is in his third season on Boldon's staff as an assistant coach and fifth overall after serving as the program's director of operations for the 2013-14 and '14-15 seasons.
Steph Hass is the team's new assistant coach after spending the last two seasons at Florida Gulf Coast as a video coordinator following a four-year playing career with the Eagles. Tia Jameson is in her fourth season as Ohio's director of operations. Ohio familiar face will be on the Ohio bench as a graduate assistant this season as Kiyanna Black returns to the Bobcats following a stellar playing career in Athens in which she racked up 1,724 career points -- the third-most in the history of the program.
A LOOK BACK AT 2017-18
Ohio is coming off of a 2017-18 season in which it finished 16-15 overall and 9-9 in conference play. The No. 5-seeded Bobcats topped Akron, 85-73, in the MAC Tournament First Round before falling to No. 4-seeded Miami, 69-66, in the quarterfinals. Ohio has advanced to the MAC Tournament Quarterfinals each of the last three seasons.
BOBCATS PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN MAC EAST
Ohio was picked to finish third in the MAC East Division in the league's 2018-19 preseason coaches' poll, which was announced by the league office on Wednesday (Oct. 31). The Bobcats earned three of the MAC East Division's 12 first-place votes and finished with 57 points. Ohio also received one vote to win the 2019 MAC regular season title.
SCOUTING EASTERN KENTUCKY
Eastern Kentucky is still in search of its first win in 2018-19. The Colonels fell at home to Saint Louis, 70-43, in the season opener in Richmond, Ky., on Nov. 9, then suffered a 60-44 loss to Miami last Tuesday (Nov. 13) in Oxford, Ohio.
The Colonels are led by 11th-year head coach Chrissy Roberts. Eastern Kentucky was picked to finish 10th of 12 teams in the Ohio Valley Conference's 2018-19 preseason poll of the league's head coaches and sports information directors.
Senior forward Abby Wright is averaging a team-high 13 points so far this year for Eastern Kentucky.
Thursday's contest marks the eighth meeting between the Bobcats and the Colonels, with Ohio holding a 4-3 edge in the all-time series. Ohio has won each of the last four meetings, with the Bobcats recording two victories over the Colonels in the last five years -- including a 69-57 win on Nov. 28, 2017, in the last matchup between the two squads. Doseck led the Bobcats with 15 points. Hooks scored 14 points and led Ohio with eight rebounds off of the bench while Burke also finished in double figures with 11 points. Ohio and Eastern Kentucky last faced off at the Convo on Dec. 6, 2012 -- a 69-58 win for the Bobcats.
Ohio will depart Athens to play a pair of games in Colorado in the Denver Thanksgiving Classic next weekend. The Bobcats will square off against St. Bonaventure on Friday (Nov. 23), then take on Lamar on Saturday (Nov. 24). Both contests are set to get underway at 3 p.m. ET.