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Junior forward Hannah Boesinger fights for the ball during the game against Central Michigan on Jan. 16.

Women's Basketball: Ohio downs Illinois with periods of dominance

For the second straight game, an unlikely offensive party sparked a third quarter run for Ohio's offense.

Hannah Boesinger’s eight third quarter points weren’t as electric as Katie Barker’s 15 in five minutes against Binghamton, but it had a similar effect on her teammates in Ohio’s 80-68 win over Illinois at The Convo.

Boesinger finished with only ten points overall, but her five straight to open the third quarter was important in matching a stretch of three consecutive made field goals from Illinois early in the period. From there, five of her teammates contributed to a game-sealing 22-4 run to close the third quarter.

Ohio forced eight of Illinois' eventual 21 turnovers in the third quarter, creating easier scoring opportunities in transition during the huge run.

"If you're not gonna shoot the ball well, which it doesn't look like we're gonna do, then you gotta get more possessions," coach Bob Boldon said. "We've been able to do that with the turnover margin so far this year and hopefully we can continue to do that, all the while trying to increase our field-goal percentage and knock down a few more shots."

Unlike Monday night against Binghamton, the Ohio offense got off to a promising start. The Bobcats scored 23 first quarter points, and converted on six of their final eight field-goal attempts to end the quarter.

It appeared that a Barker-esque jolt to the offense would be unnecessary, but the enigmatic Ohio offense followed the promising start with a nine point, 4-14 shooting performance in the second quarter.

Fortunately, the Ohio defense was as unrelenting as it had been all season. Illinois only outscored Ohio by one in that miserable second quarter, and it was as close as Illinois came to winning anything Wednesday night.

Ohio has only allowed 60 or more points in four of its first ten games, a complimentary trait for a team that struggles to score in certain spurts.

Ohio’s defensive dominance against a Big 10 team was impressive, but Illinois doesn’t pack the punch its conference tends to hold. Based on each team’s Ranking Percentage Index, which incorporates strength of schedule with a team’s record, Ohio was a significant favorite Wednesday night.

Ohio came into the game ranked 72, while Illinois was ranked 274.

Regardless of rankings, however, Ohio looked to be in peak form during stretches of Wednesday's game. The 80 points Ohio scored was its most all season, and five separate players notched double figure point totals against multiple defensive schemes.

"Hopefully, this is the way we'd like to play," Boldon said. I thought the kids shared the ball well, and it's a really good feeling heading into Christmas break."


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