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Taylor Agler (0) loses the ball against Kent State in the Convocation Center Saturday MATT STARKEY|STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Women's Basketball: After strong defensive week, Ohio continues to fix the defensive inconsistencies

Simply put, Ohio's defense has struggled this year.

Senior forward Quiera Lampkins, reigning Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year has noticed it, Taylor Agler has noticed it and coach Bob Boldon has noticed it.

Yet, no one has an answer as to why the defense has declined since the beginning of conference play.

"At this point, our defense is so bad, we're forming bad habits," Boldon said. "We're now becoming habitual offenders of not jumping to the basketball and that to me is a solution that needs to be fixed immediately."

The Bobcats have hit a defensive slump consistently in almost every game since the new year. Basketball is a game of runs, but the problem is a little bigger than that for the Bobcats.

Boldon attributed the problems defensively to not having enough energy.

But things changed after the Kent State game. After sloppy defense allowed the Golden Flashes to control the game from the free throw line (25-34), Boldon's team recalibrated a week ago.

With Toledo and Eastern Michigan on the schedule, Boldon had one task for the week: defense.

"We reviewed our fundamentals today to make sure everyone knows what they need to do," Boldon said ahead of the Toledo game. "It's up to me and my staff to make sure they know what to do." 

Part of that defensive adjustment was adding a rendition of the 2-3 zone into the scheme.

Boldon hadn't used the zone defense in a couple of years. With an athletic team, man-to-man worked fine for his squad. But against a struggling Eagles team that shot horrendously from anywhere outside the post, it has worked to his team's advantage to use the zone.

Eastern Michigan was not prepared to face the zone, and it didn't have an answer for the Bobcats and once Ohio got a comfortable lead in the third quarter, a switch back to man defense helped seal a win for a team that needed the confidence boost from defense.

Following the Eastern Michigan game, he said this was the most solid week of defense his team put together in conference play.

In practice the week before, Boldon agreed that defense is a very prideful thing. When you fail defensively, it gets to you, it means you can't stop someone. His teams pride was hurt defensively. Thus it was up to Lampkins and Agler, the teams top defenders, to rejuvenate the defensive energy during practice.

"Whether someone is your best defender or your worst defender, you have to let them know that you got their back," Agler said in last week's practice. "You can't beat each other down in timeouts or in between timeouts, that's the only way to get better I guess."

Lampkins had a similar role in trying to get the defense's confidence back.

In the Jan. 16 practice, it was all defense and no offense. She said offense wasn't the problem and that she liked the defense heavy practice. Ohio has struggled with defending skip passes and defending the post and that was the basis of that practice.

The defense has been inconsistent this season. There isn't much explanation as to why. But as of now, the defense has turned around and gotten back to where Boldon, Agler and Lampkins are slightly more comfortable.

With Western Michigan and Miami up next this week, the challenge for Ohio is to not get complacent and comfortable after a strong weak. But to continue to work on the things its struggled with defensively.


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