Ohio (16-1, 5-1 Mid-American Conference) defeated Northern Illinois (11-7, 3-3 MAC) 69-53 on Wednesday night in DeKalb, Illinois, at the NIU Convocation Center. The Bobcats picked up their fourth straight win and extended their conference record to 5-1.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Johnson continues her tear
Erica Johnson led Ohio with 26 points and 16 rebounds and recorded her first career double-double to continue her breakout season. The redshirt freshman shot 9-for-13 from the field and 4-for-4 from 3-point range.
Johnson has reached double-digit points in five consecutive games and has eclipsed 20 in two of Ohio’s last four games. She’s been the Bobcats’ hottest shooter in conference play, and it’s why coach Bob Boldon has rewarded her with more playing time.
Johnson has played for at least 30 minutes in four of Ohio’s six MAC games — she only met that length twice in nonconference play.
Burris heats up
Gabby Burris entered Wednesday with a combined 17 points in her last three games — including a scoreless performance Saturday against Eastern Michigan — but the sophomore was able to erase some of her struggles against the Huskies.
Burris scored 12 points and 11 rebounds and notched her third double-double of the season. It was her highest rebounding total since Dec. 29.
Burris’ minor cold spell never necessarily hurt Ohio’s depth-heavy offense, but a return to her form from nonconference play, in which she averaged 16 points per game, would push the offense into another gear.
Defense keeps momentum
A big question for Wednesday was whether Ohio’s defense could maintain the stability it showed in its previous win over Eastern Michigan.
The Bobcats answered with another dominant defensive performance and limited the Huskies, who entered with the second-best offense in the MAC, to their lowest scoring total this season.
Mikayla Voigt, Northern Illinois’ most dangerous player, still totaled 23 points, but the Bobcats shut down the rest of the Huskies to limit Voigt’s damage. Only one other player, Gabby Nikitinaite, reached double-digits. She had 10 points.