Erin Bailes probably would have been happy to skip halftime Wednesday and to keep playing for another 20 minutes. But at some point, someone might have had to call the Athens Fire Department if her shot did not cool off.
Bailes poured on 16 first-half points to lead Ohio to a 65-51 win against Belmont Wednesday night at the Convo. Despite not scoring in the second half, she led all scorers and paced the Bobcats (2-1), who were playing without Tenishia Benson and Porsha Harris.
"You have to be proud of what they did," coach Semeka Randall said about her team. "We were missing probably about 30 points and 20 rebounds."
Bailes quickly erased most of the scoring void typically filled by Benson and Harris. She connected on four of five 3-pointers and the three other shots she took in the opening 20 minutes.
"The first half, if you’re on fire you just have to keep shooting and staying poised," Bailes said.
On defense, the Bobcats corralled senior center Haley Nelson, who finished below her scoring average with 10 points. Junior forward Alesia Howard helped take care of business down low by grabbing eight rebounds and by contributing 14 points at the other end of the court.
Ohio shot only 33 percent from the field but came through at the free throw line. The Bobcats nailed 24 of their 31 shots from the charity stripe.
Unlike past seasons, Ohio has sufficient depth to keep its players fresh. No Bobcat played more than 30 minutes in the game, and eight players logged at least 20 minutes of action.
"We know that our defense is our bread and butter … but we can run," Randall said. "It plays into our hands that we can push the ball and force tempo."
Ohio returns to the Convo Saturday for a 2 p.m. game against Chicago State.