ATHENS, Ohio – Behind the first triple-double in Ohio women's basketball (1-1) history, the Bobcats defeated American (0-1), 81-69, on Sunday afternoon at The Convocation Center. Redshirt sophomore guard Erica Johnson (Mansfield, Ohio) had 24 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in the victory.
"She's just a really talented kid and she loves playing basketball," head coach Bob Boldon said on Johnson. "She's smart and understands the game. She constantly makes the right play. I'm very proud of her. I also know when you talk to her, the fact the we won is going to be the most important thing for her. That's what makes her so special."
Johnson's triple-double was the first in Ohio history and the 13th in Mid-American Conference history. A player has not recorded a triple-double in the MAC since 2016, when Crystal Bradford from Central Michigan recorded the feat. Johnson's 11 assists was a career-high, while she was two points shy of her career best. Johnson was 10-of-16 from the field and 4-of-6 from the three-point line in 35 minutes of play.
"It means a lot to me and I try to being everything I can to the team," Johnson said. "Rebounds, assists, energy, whatever they need from me. It meant a lot and it came with a win."
After Johnson, Ohio was led by junior guard Cece Hooks (Dayton, Ohio) who had 15 points of 6-of-8 shooting. Redshirt sophomore guard Caitlyn Kroll (Bridgeport, Ohio) recorded 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and also knocked down three free throws. Senior guard Amani Burke (Columbus, Ohio) hit three from deep and had 12 total points. Junior forward Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) had nine points while redshirt junior guard Katie Barker (Cary, Ill.) hit her first two threes and finished with eight points.
Ohio was 30-of-57 (52.6 percent) from the field in the win and 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) from behind the arc. American was held to 27-of-56 (48.2 percent) and 7-of-24 (29.2 percent) from the three-point line. Ohio's biggest lead came with 8:04 left in the fourth quarter and OU held the lead the entire game.
Ohio outrebounded American, 34-30. After Johnson's 13, Hooks had five and Burris had four. Barker pulled down three boards while Burke and sophomore forward Deesh Beck (Grand Rapids, Mich.) had two.
OU assisted on 23 buckets. Burke had five helpers while Burris and Hooks recorded three.
The Bobcats started the game on an 8-1 run behind a Johnson and Barker three. Ohio extended the lead to 23-10 and finished the first frame up 26-19. Johnson had eight points in the first quarter while Barker had six. Ohio started the game on fire, shooting 10-of-14 (71.4 percent) and 5-of-7 (71.4 percent) from three.
A barker layup moved the advantage to 10 with 6:13 left in the second quarter but American quickly cut the lead to three. AU got the lead down to one before OU ended the quarter on an 8-0 run capped by a buzzer beating Johnson three to take a 42-33 lead into the half. Ohio cooled off in the second quarter, shooting 5-of-16 (31.3 percent) and 1-of-9 (11.1 percent) from deep.
Ohio stayed steady in the third quarter and took a 61-51 advantage into the final frame. Hooks had nine points the third quarter alone and Burke hit two threes. The Bobcats were 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from the field and 2-of-6 from deep.
After American opened with a bucket, Ohio extended the advantage with a 6-0 run to go up 67-53 with 8:04 left. The lead was Ohio's biggest of the night, and Ohio won the game, 81-69.
Ohio will be back in action at home on Wednesday to face Marshall. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. at The Convo.