CLEVELAND— No. 2 Ohio traveled to Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday to face No. 9 Northern Illinois in the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Led by Erica Johnson and Gabby Burris’ breakout performances, Ohio defeated NIU 72-56.
Here are three takeaways from Ohio’s quarterfinal win.
Welcome back, Gabby Burris
Sophomore Gabby Burris has had a tough go of it this season. The forward’s dealt with a right leg injury since the end of January. While Burris only had to miss one game, it’s obvious she hasn’t been at full-go for some time. On Wednesday, though, Burris played with the fluidity she started the season with. At halftime she had 10 points and she finished as Ohio’s leading scorer with 19 points and five rebounds.
Erica Johnson steals the show
Fresh off winning the MAC’s Freshman and Sixth player of the year honors, Erica Johnson continued to dominated her conference opposition in the quarterfinals. She led Ohio from the start totaling 12 points in the first quarter. But she didn’t stop there. The point guard snatched boards, intercepted passes and drained 3-pointers on her way to a 18 point, 10 rebound and four steal statline. If she can maintain this type of play, she may be able to add tournament MVP to her list of accolades.
On Friday, Ohio will face a team it has unfinished business with. The Bobcats will take on the winner of the Miami vs Toledo quarterfinal matchup — two teams that have been a splinter in Ohio’s foot this season. Miami, Ohio’s arch-rival, came back to defeat the Bobcats in the final minutes of their first meeting. Ohio exacted revenge by edging out the RedHawks in Oxford to end their hopes of a MAC title. A rubber match would settle the season series.
If Ohio were to face Toledo, it would have a chance to avenge one of the worst losses of its season. Ohio was trounced by the Rockets, 76-50, when the two faced in Toledo earlier in the season. Ohio wouldn’t mind evening up the score.