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Women's Basketball: 'Cats work to climb up MAC rankings before tournament

After struggling through much of the conference schedule, Ohio hopes to improve its efficiency enough to make the Toyota Prius look like a semi-truck.

The Bobcats (7-19, 3-10 Mid-American Conference) have managed only three wins in 13 MAC games, but they aim to double their conference victory total during a three-game stretch.

If Ohio wins its final trio of contests - which starts tonight against Kent State - the team could possibly clinch a home game in the first round of the MAC Tournament. The fifth through eighth seeds host the ninth through 12th seeds in the first round while the top four teams get a bye.

Ohio is currently 10th in the MAC and would need to leapfrog Ball State (9-17, 4-9 MAC) and Northern Illinois (11-15, 5-8 MAC) to claim the eighth seed.

The Bobcats hold the tiebreaker against the Cardinals but not the Huskies. If Northern Illinois wins another game, then Ohio would host a first-round contest only if Buffalo (13-13, 6-7 MAC) loses its final three games, including its Feb. 26 date with the Bobcats. Ohio also needs Ball State to lose one more game.

"We definitely are aware of that," said redshirt junior Tenishia Benson. "That's why Akron was such a big game for us, because that was one that we knew we could have definitely put in our pocket."

Next up for Ohio is a trip to Kent State. When the teams last met Jan. 12, the Golden Flashes grabbed a critical offensive rebound in the final minute and later converted it for a layup. Ohio turned the ball over in the ensuing possession and ultimately fell, 55-54.

"Those two things really, really hurt us," Benson said. "That's hard to defend when they're getting second-chance points."

Ohio has not won three straight games since February 2009 and last won consecutive road games in March 2008.

"Like I said on Saturday, time is running out," Benson said. "We're all focused on just getting a win, because that's really what we need right now."

Gholson Returns

After missing three games with a knee injury, senior center Thia Gholson returned to the lineup on Senior Day. She scored three points and grabbed two rebounds in 21 minutes, the longest she has played since Dec. 16 against Duquesne.

"I felt like a little kid out there playing. My knee pretty much has been giving me problems all season, but it just felt good to be out there on Senior Night, to be honored to celebrate being a senior," Gholson said.

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