Athens, Ohio — Head coach Bob Boldon earned his 100th win at Ohio as the fifth-seeded Ohio women's basketball team (16-14) began the post season, claiming an 85-73 victory over Mid-American Conference East foe No. 12 Akron (9-21) Monday evening inside the Convocation Center. The Bobcats will now advance to the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament for the third-straight year.
Scoring her career-high in points was junior forward Kendall Jessing (Sylvania, Ohio) with 12, while adding seven rebounds.
HOW IT WAS DECIDED
After two scoreless minutes, sophomore guard Amani Burke (Columbus, Ohio) would get the first points for Ohio, scoring a three-pointer assisted by junior guard Dominique Doseck (Athens, Ohio.) Ohio then went on a 14-0 run including a three coming from redshirt sophomore guard Katie Barker (Cary, Ill.) making it 6-3 with 6:33 left to go in the first quarter.
A put-back layup by Jessing and another three-pointer from Barker continued the Bobcats run to get the score to 15-3 with 4:10 to go in the first. At the end of the first period, the score was 19-14 with Ohio still in the lead.
Freshman guard Cierra Hooks (Dayton, Ohio) started off the second quarter with a block but Akron scored the first points to make it 19-17 with just under a minute gone. Freshman guard Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) would get the second period scoring started for Ohio to increase the Bobcats lead 22-17 with 8:24 remaining in the half.
Barker got another three-pointer for the Bobcats with 2:50 to play in the second quarter to give them the 31-22 lead. A steal from Burris led to another three from Barker gave Ohio 34-25 lead with 1:06 left to play in the half.
Ohio would come out with strong offensive pressure to start the second half, with Burke scoring an easy layup with the assist from redshirt senior guard Taylor Agler (Westerville, Ohio) to make the score 36-27 with just a little time passed in the quarter. Two free throws from Burris kept Ohio's lead at 40-36 with 7:17 left in the third period. Burke increased Ohio's lead to 45-39 with 5:02 left to play scoring a three-pointer assisted by Jessing. A three from the Zips pulled them within one point with 2:54 remaining in the quarter. Ohio went 3-of-3 on their last field goals of the quarter, the last one coming from Burris to put the Bobcats in the lead 56-48 at going into the final period.
Burke would drain a three to begin the fourth for Ohio, putting the score at 61-51. Burke would score a layup as the shot clock expired to increase Ohio's lead to 69-61 with under five minutes to play in the game. Two free throws from Agler gave put Ohio in the lead by 10 with 4:19 remaining in the fourth quarter. As Akron tried to chip away at the Bobcats lead, Doseck scored the triple assisted by Hooks to keep the lead 75-67 with 2:50. Ohio kept pressing, and two straight layups from Hooks would pull the Bobcats away 79-71 with a little over a minute to go in the game.
A rebound and layup from Jessing took the score to 84-73 with 37 seconds to play in the game. The final score had Ohio coming out on top 85-73 over the Zips.
This win was head coach Bob Boldon's 100th at Ohio, making him just the second coach in Bobcat history to do so.
Burke had a game-high 20 points, going 8-of-12 from the field, and a perfect 4-of-4 from three- point range. She also added two assists, one block, one steal, and one rebound.
Following her was Burris, who recorded 17 points, going 3-of-6 from three-point range. Burris also finished with five rebounds and two steals in her 31 minutes of play.
Hooks scored 14 points, going 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-9 from the line. She also added five boards, two assists, and two steals.
Jessing and Barker each finished with 12 points. Jessing went 5-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from the line to make her career-high in points. She also recorded seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
Baker added five rebounds, two assists, and one block.
Agler finished the night with eight points, going 6-of-8 from the free-throw line. She also had eight rebounds, seven assists, and one steal.
As a team, Ohio went 30-of-66 (.455) from the field, 11-of-27 (.407) from three-point range, and 14-of-24 (.583) from the free-throw line.
The Bobcats grabbed 40 rebounds, dished out 17 assists, had eight steals and three blocks.
Ohio forced Akron to turn the ball over 16 times, scoring 21 points off of them.
Ohio scored 38 points in the paint, 26 bench points, 15 second chance points, and four fast break points.
For Akron, Megan Sefcik led the way with 19 points and four rebounds. Haliegh Reinoehl followed with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Akron shot .367 from the field, .471 from three-point range, and .867 from the free throw line.
The Zips grabbed 42 rebounds, dished out 16 assists, had 23 bench points, and 10 points in the paint.
This win is Ohio's second all-time win against the Zips in the MAC Tournament and the second win over Akron this season.
Ohio is back in action Wednesday March 7 when they travel to Cleveland for the MAC Tournament to face Miami in the Quarterfinals at the Quicken Loans Arena.
"I think we came in to this game with a different mindset. It's tournament time so everyone starts out with a 0-0 record, so since every team is even at this point so we really just kind of honed in on what we really needed to do and took it possession by possession and we came out with that win." -Kendall Jessing, on advancing in the tournament.
"It's the same game, we just have to play with a different mentality on how we play. We can't worry about who's there, or where it's at or what's at stake, we just have to play our game and play hard." -Amani Burke, on tournament mentality.
"The most important thing about tonight was winning the game and going to Cleveland. I thought our kids showed a lot of toughness and I thought Akron played great…I thought our kids did a good job just hanging in there. We had balanced scoring across the board, so we really stuck to it and did what we needed to do to win the game." -Bob Boldon, on moving forward.
The Bobcats head to Cleveland, Ohio for the MAC Tournament Quarterfinals where they will take on fourth-seeded Miami on Wednesday, March 7. Tip-off is set for 2:30 inside Quicken Loans Arena.