CLEVELAND — Nearly everyone on Ohio wanted to play Miami at some point in its postseason path to a Mid-American Conference Championship.
The Bobcats wanted revenge against the same team that ended their season a year ago, and they seized that chance to the fullest Friday at Quickens Loans Arena. Ohio advanced to the Mid-American Conference Championship after its _-_ win over Miami, and the Bobcats will play Buffalo on Saturday for a shot at their first conference title since 2015.
Ohio played arguably its best game of the season against an opponent who proved capable of seizing droughts from the Bobcats in the regular season.
Ohio found success in the first half in each of its last two meetings against Miami, but the Bobcats always failed to hold their lead through the second half. In the last meeting, Ohio allowed Miami to erase a 25-point deficit, and those memories were surely in the Bobcats’ heads when they entered the locker room with a comfortable 36-23 lead.
But Ohio answered those fears swiftly in the third quarter. Erica Johnson started the second half with a 3-pointer that triggered a 17-3 scoring run that included Miami going five minutes without a point. Johnson electrified Ohio’s bench the most when she made a 3 after she was pushed back from a block attempt by Kendall McCoy.
Johnson made her free throw and gave Ohio a 21-point lead with seven minutes left in the third quarter. She outscored Miami’s offense in the third quarter and scored nine points — the RedHawks had six points.
Coach Bob Boldon likely didn’t expect an opportunity to rest Ohio’s starters, but the Bobcats built a 30-point lead with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Johnson, Gabby Burris, Dominiquq Doseck and Amani Burke exited to a raucous applause from the Ohio crowd, and the Bobcats should benefit with of their starters receiving rest ahead of Saturday’s title game.
- Erica Johnson led Ohio with 18 points.
- The Bobcats shot __ percent from the field
- Lauren Dickerson, Miami’s leading point scorer before Saturday, scored just five points.