COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the first time in school history, the Ohio women's basketball (3-1) team went to Columbus and took down Ohio State (2-1), 74-68, on Sunday afternoon at Value City Arena.
"We had a nice alumni event before the game and these fans just keep showing up for us," head coach Bob Boldon said. "That makes it really special. We always have the best fan support in Cleveland and we had some fans come out to Chicago for the WNIT last year. The support today was great, I know it's something our kids really appreciate, and I know it's something we're really proud to be a part of.
Ohio was led by Columbus native and senior guard Amani Burke, who had 23 points after going 6-of-19 and 3-of-9 from deep. Burke was a stellar 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Burke had five rebounds and added two assists.
"We had so much support and it felt like the entire city of Athens came out," Burke said. "It was a great atmosphere. I felt like we came to play because we had so much support and we could just feel it on the floor. I'm overwhelmed with the support we got. It's just a great feeling right now."
Redshirt sophomore guard Erica Johnson (Mansfield, Ohio) was the game changer in the second half. Johnson had her second double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds and added six assists. Johnson was 1-of-8 in the first half with two points but came out in the second half and shot 5-of-6, including a perfect 4-of-4 from deep, with nine rebounds.
"This was a big win for us," Johnson said. "We wanted it. We went out and got it. It's huge to be able to beat them and show we're capable of beating them and we're able to play with these big teams."
Junior guard Cece Hooks (Dayton, Ohio) had 15 points and eight rebounds on the night. Hooks was 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-7 from the free throw line.
Overall Ohio was 23-of-60 (38.3 percent) from the field and 8-of-24 (33.3 percent) from behind the three point line. Ohio State was held to 25-of-69 (36.2 percent) from the field and 4-of-21 (19.0 percent) from behind the arc.
"This was the opposite of the Syracuse game," Boldon added. "We started out poorly offensively, but we regained our composure and that's hard to do. (Ohio State) is a good, physical and athletic team. There's a lot of talent on that team. Our kids just went out and fought, and fought, and fought."
Redshirt sophomore guard Caitlyn Kroll (Bridgeport, Ohio) chipped in nine points while junior forward Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) had eight and redshirt junior Katie Barker (Cary, Ill.) had three points.
Ohio was outrebounded 50-41 by OSU. After Johnson's 12 and Hooks' eight, Kroll pulled in six, Burke had five and Barker and sophomore forward Deesh Beck (Grand Rapids, Mich.) had two.
Ohio was down five in the first quarter, 19-14. The Bobcats started off shooting cold at 3-of-17, but knocked down seven free throws. Burke led the way with six points.
Ohio was able to cut the lead down to 32-20 in the second quarter when after going 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from the field. Ohio State was held to 4-of-13 shooting (30.8 percent). Hooks ahd five points and three rebounds while Burke had six points in the frame.
The Bobcats shot 9-of-36 (25.0 percent) from the field and 1-of-12 from behind the three-point line.
OU came out red hot in the third quarter. The Bobcats shot 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) from the field and 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) from the three-point line. Johnson hit three from deep, Burke had two and Barker had one. Burke tied the game at 8:43 left in the frame, 36-36, and Ohio tied it once again at 45-45 after a Johnson triple. Johnson then gave Ohio the lead before the Bobcats took a 53-47 advantage into the break.
The Bobcats outscored OSU 23-15 in the final frame. Johnson led the way with nine points while Burke had six on two deep balls. Ohio's lead jumped to 12 at one point, but Ohio State chipped away and tied the game with two free throws at 68-68. Burke gave Ohio the lead at 2:04 left with a pair of free throws and Ohio didn't look back and won, 74-68.
Ohio will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 23 at The Convocation Center against Incarnate Word. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.