ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio Women's Basketball team (30-5, 14-4 MAC) earned a spot in the Women's National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals after defeating Western Kentucky (20-15, 11-5 C-USA), 68-60, on Thursday evening inside the Convocation Center. With this win, Ohio is the first team - men's or women's – in program history to reach 30 wins in a single season.
"Tonight was one of the better games we've played in this gym in a while," head coach Bob Boldon said. "They were good, we were good. We made some tough shots and they made some tough shots. I thought the crowd was amazing. I don't ever remember there being a crowd like this in my time here. There seemed to be a lot of them, and they seemed to be engaged."
Sophomore guard Cece Hooks (Dayton, Ohio) led the team with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Hooks added four rebounds, three assists, four steals and one block while making five free throws.
Sophomore forward Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) had her fourth of double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Burris had seven defensive boards and four offensive rebounds. Burris was 4-of-7 from the field and 1-of-3 from the three point line.
Junior guard Amani Burke (Columbus, Ohio) knocked down three from behind the arc and had 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Burke added three steals and four rebounds in 37 minutes of play.
The Bobcats were shot 45.5 percent (25-of-55) and Ohio was 26.9 percent (7-of-26) from behind the arc. Ohio was 11-of-15 from the free throw line. The Bobcats held WKU to 40.7 percent shooting (22-of-54) and 40.0 percent (6-of-15) from behind the arc. WKU outrebounded Ohio 38-30 and Ohio assisted on 13 baskets while WKU assisted on 12.
Ohio and Western Kentucky traded baskets through the first six minutes of play until the Bobcats compiled a 11-2 run to take an early 16-10 advantage. Bower capitalized with a three-point basket that gave Ohio its largest lead of the game, ahead 19-12, to end the first quarter. Ohio was 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from the field and held Western Kentucky to 30.8 percent (4-of-14). Burke had five points on five shots while Hooks had four on four shots.
Doseck opened the second quarter with a three-point basket to extend the lead however, Ohio could not maintain its advantage as Western Kentucky compiled a 16-2 run taking a 28-24 advantage over the Bobcats. Ohio finished the quarter outscoring WKU 8-3 to regain a 32-31 lead into the halftime break. Ohio finished shooting 5-of-12 from the field for 13 points in the quarter, while Western Kentucky finished shooting 8-of-13 from the field for 19 points in the quarter. Hooks and Johnson had four points apiece for the Bobcats.
Ohio opened the third quarter with a 6-2 run that forced an early Western Kentucky timeout. A Western Kentucky three-point basket shrunk the Bobcat advantage to two, 38-36. The two teams traded baskets, until Ohio compiled a 7-0 run that was capped on a three-point by Burke for a 49-40 advantage. Under two minutes, Western Kentucky outscored Ohio 5-1, however Ohio remains ahead, 50-45, headed into the final quarter of play. Hooks and Burke combined for 12 of Ohio's 18 points while also combining for three steals and two blocks.
After Western Kentucky opened the fourth quarter with three-point basket and Ohio battled a two-minute scoring drought, Burris added back-to-back baskets to push Ohio's advantage to six, ahead 54-48. Ohio and Western Kentucky traded baskets once again until Hooks added four unanswered points that extended the Bobcat advantage to 68-57 with under two-minutes to play. Ohio more than doubled High Point in the fourth quarter, 23-9. Ohio compiled a 14-2 run and went 8-of-16 in the final quarter while holding High Point to 3-of-19. Burke was Ohio's leading scorer with eight points going perfect, 3-of-3, from the field. Johnson and Burris both added five points apiece.
The Bobcats will travel to Evanston, Illinois to battle Northwestern on Saturday, March 30th at 7 p.m ET in the quarterfinals of the WNIT.