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Amani Burke drives toward the basket during a game against Kent State in the Convocation Center on Saturday, January 14.

Women's Basketball: Ohio still trying to work out defensive kinks ahead of Eastern Michigan

Defense has been a blaring problem for Ohio this year. 

It even makes its problem of beating the zone defense a year ago look marginal. 

Coach Bob Boldon has no explanation as to why his team's defense has been lacking and inconsistent since the start of the calendar year. 

"We've just gotten progressively worse since that point," Boldon said after Monday's practice. "I don't know, I wish I did know."

But what he can do is hope his team will replicate the defensive performance it displayed Wednesday night against Toledo this Saturday against Eastern Michigan. 

"I thought (Jasmine Weatherspoon and Quiera Lampkins) were really good in practice," Boldon said after Monday's practice. "They need to be really good (Wednesday night), and they need to be really good on Saturday."

Yes, the Bobcats (13-4, 4-2 Mid-American Conference) have the advantage over the struggling Eagles. But this season has shown the Bobcats can't overlook anyone this season. Nearly a week ago, the Bobcats were struggling to find an offensive rhythm against a beatable Kent State team. 

Wednesday night, Ohio closed the game on an 11-4 run to bounce back against Toledo. The challenge now for Ohio is not to fall into the slump that it has in the past after a win.

The way Ohio can beat Eastern Michigan is to force them to shoot the ball. The Eagles are only 26 percent from the 3-point line. With a scrappy backcourt in Taylor Agler and Yamonie Jenkins, Ohio should be able to slow down the guards and keep Eastern Michigan from setting up an offense. 

Eastern Michigan is also shooting 35 percent from the field per game. A large part of the point production is coming from junior guard Sasha Dailey, who averages 18 points per game. When it comes to slowing down scorers, Lampkins has been solid defensively. 

In Ohio's game against Kent State, Lampkins held Larissa Lurken, who was averaging 22.8 points going into that game, to 3-of-18 from the field. Lampkins will have another test with Dailey.

It will be a test for Ohio to fix its defensive woes. Boldon has continued to say that it's better the problem occur early in the season to try and fix it, but over a fourth of the way through conference play, Ohio could be facing trouble if the defense continues to lack effort.

"Defense is a prideful thing," Boldon said. "It's hard to do, it takes a lot of energy and a lot of work to do it well, which is why a lot of people don't play a lot of good defense."


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