Before tip-off of Saturday’s game against Ball State, Amani Burke made a bold proclamation.
“She said at the beginning of the game that she was going to shoot 10 3-pointers,” point guard Cece Hooks said while laughing in the postgame presser.
Burke, sitting right beside her and blushing, quickly corrected her.
“Oh yeah, yeah, I said I was going to shoot 10, but had no idea I was going to break a record.”
Burke made 11 3-pointers and broke an Ohio (18-2, 7-2 Mid-American Conference) and MAC record while the Bobcats blew out conference foe Ball State 94-62. It was the 50th birthday celebration of The Convo, and a day to celebrate Ohio’s history, but Burke stole the show.
She shot the ball nearly perfectly while her coach and the women who’s record that she broke sat on the sidelines amazed.
“That was amazing because I got to see the last one,” Ohio coach Bob Boldon said. “When Kiyanna (Black) made 10, I thought that was amazing.”
Black, who graduated in 2016 and currently is a graduate assistant for the Bobcats, sat at the scorers’ table and was impressed by the way Burke knocked down 3-pointers efficiently.
The day Black set her record she wasn’t nearly as accurate as Burke, and she gladly gave props to the junior for breaking her milestone on less shots.
“I keep telling everybody I was 10-for 20, she’s 11-for-15,” Black said. “So that's a lot more efficient and impressive, hats off to her.”
Burke didn’t waste time getting into rhythm, she was hot the first time she shot it, going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc in the first quarter. She had wide-open looks from the corner and was stunned that despite being perfect,she could still easily get her shots off.
“I knew I was hot, but I didn’t think I would continue to get shots,” Burke said.
A reason why Burke seemed to be left alone was because the Cardinals were too busy trying to slow her backcourt running mate.
Hooks may have been overshadowed by Burke, but not by Ball State. She caused problems for the Cardinals the entire game, finishing with 26 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists, with most of them going to Burke.
The Cardinals hoped that adjustments in the second half would slow Hooks down and that Burke would start to miss contested shots. But it never happened.
Hooks continued to find Burke and Burke continued to make 3-pointers. She couldn’t even fathom the performance she was having.
“I can’t really describe it,” Burke said when asked to recount being in the zone. “The shots were going in even if I wasn’t trying to shoot them to go in.”
Burke said usually she’s thinking really hard, but during the game she was really relaxed. She didn’t become tense until she was one 3 away from tying an NCAA record. She had a whole fourth quarter to break it, but Ohio tried to force her the ball, and even though Ohio was up big, it was harming the offense and Boldon took her out to a standing ovation.
“Bob (Boldon) really doesn’t get into the hype around certain things,” Black said. “I think he just wanted us to play basketball and continue to focus.”
Boldon challenged the Bobcats after suffering their second loss to Miami earlier in the week and it paid off. The Bobcats secured a season sweep over Ball State and played one of its best games in front of one of the largest crowds at the Convo.
“It was crazy because we’ve never had that many people at our game,” Hooks said. “It felt pretty good to give them something to cheer about.”