Ohio played game No. 23 of its season Saturday, and beat Toledo 61-55.
This week, the Bobcats will have some time to rest, however, as they won't play again until they hit the road Saturday against Ball State.
With the Bobcats (17-5, 8-3 in the Mid-American Conference) only having seven games left in the regular season, they will need to continue playing well, especially against the competitive MAC West division; three teams in the division have eight or more conference wins.
Here is a report card of the Bobcats’ season up to this point.
MVP: Quiera Lampkins
The Bobcats wouldn’t be atop the MAC East without Lampkins, one of the top players in the conference.
Lampkins, the reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year, will perhaps garner MAC Player of the Year recognition. She’s the leading scorer on the Bobcats and the No. 2 ranked scorer in the MAC, averaging 19.4 points per game.
She scored a season-high 28 points on Nov. 26, 2016, during the Bobcats’ 79-70 win against Murray State. Lampkins also scored her 1,500 point on the road against Toledo on Jan. 18, becoming the fourth player in program history to reach the milestone.
The Bobcats aren’t elite without Lampkins, and with the way she has played this season, she’s equipped to lead the Bobcats to the MAC Championship.
Most Improved Since the Start of The Season: Hannah Boesinger
When the Bobcats’ regular season began, Hannah Boesinger regularly came off the bench.
That’s not a knock on Boesinger — her role was to provide energy off the bench.
Now, she is flourishing in a starting role. Boesinger has started in place of Jasmine Weatherspoon, who returned from a knee injury Saturday; it was her first game back since suffering the injury Jan. 25 against Western Michigan.
Boesinger produced well in Weatherspoon’s absence, averaging 12.7 points per game in the past four games, including Ohio’s game against Western Michigan.
Coach Bob Boldon has appreciated Boesinger’s production, calling it a luxury. Even when Weatherspoon returns to full health, it’s difficult to imagine Boesinger’s level of play dipping.
Biggest Strength: Defense
The Bobcats began the new year without good defense, but since defeating Eastern Michigan on Jan. 21, they have returned to playing solid defense.
The Bobcats are one of the top defensive teams in the MAC, with Lampkins leading the team on the perimeter and Weatherspoon leading inside.
Ohio is ranked No. 2 in scoring defense in the conference, allowing 60.2 points per game. The Bobcats force teams to take bad shots, allowing opponents to shoot an average of 35.3 percent from the field.
Biggest Weakness: Offensive consistency
Though their defense is stout, the Bobcats’ offense isn’t as powerful. Lampkins is the fulcrum on the offensive end, as players benefit from her success.
Lampkins draws defenders toward her, enabling her teammates to be open for shots. Sometimes her teammates are open, particularly if the other team doesn’t pressure shooters such as Katie Barker and Kelly Karlis.
Opponents rarely sag on the Bobcats, however, which forces them to generate offense in ways other than 3-point shooting. And when the Bobcats have to find other ways to score, they generally struggle.
Going forward, the offense will need more variety; opponents know the Bobcats want to shoot 3-pointers.