Erica Johnson dribbled to the top of the key with the American defense following her every move. 

With the Eagles focused on her, the paint was left for a cutting Cece Hooks. Johnson got the pass in between two defenders, and Hooks converted the easy layup with a little over three minutes left in the final quarter.

The simple assist for Johnson made Ohio history. She became the first Bobcat in program history to record a triple-double.

Johnson’s 24 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists led the way for the Bobcats to get their first victory of the season when they defeated American 81-69 on Sunday in the home opener.

The triple-double felt good, but the important thing for Johnson is that her ability to affect the game in multiple aspects led to a victory for Ohio (1-1).

“I try to bring everything I can to the team: rebounds, assists, energy, whatever they need from me,” Johnson said. “This means a lot, and it came with a dub.”

The fans in The Convo were well aware of Johnson’s feat. She was showered with a standing ovation from the crowd when she checked out of the game with 50 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Coach Bob Boldon loves how versatile Johnson can be, and a game like the one she had on Sunday just shows her talent. He knew an accomplishment like this was possible for her.

“I’m kind of surprised this is her first,” Boldon said. “She had to be close last year. She’s so smart, and she understands the game.” 

Five of Johnson’s 11 assists came from the same play: Johnson working at the top of the key, taking the defense’s attention away from the paint, giving an easy shot to a cutting Caitlyn Kroll.

Kroll benefited from Johnson’s ability to create easy baskets for her teammates.

Ohio’s sixth player ended with 13 points off the bench. Kroll credited Johnson for finding her at the right time and giving her clean looks at the basket, saying that Johnson just knew where she was going to be. 

Johnson confirmed that she knows her teammate so well at this point that she’s able to predict Kroll’s movements before they happen.

“I know where she’s going to be before she’s there,” Johnson said. “I wouldn’t say she’s a robot, but you know what she’s going to give you every time.”

Johnson had 13 of Ohio’s 34 rebounds in the game. After losing the rebounding battle so decisively against Syracuse on Tuesday, the Bobcats out-rebounded the Eagles, 34-30.

Knowing that rebounding may be his team’s biggest weakness, Boldon’s elation could not be contained after Sunday’s performance on the board.

“I’m ecstatic,” Boldon said. “I love it any time we out-rebound somebody. Pure joy.”

Along with earning the first triple-double in Bobcat history, Johnson has only the 13th triple-double in Mid-American Conference history.

Johnson wasn’t even aware of her being close to any type of historic feat during the game until she got some helpful advice from a group of special fans in the crowd.

“The men’s (basketball) team was actually yelling ‘Get one more assist!’” Johnson said. “I don’t know if it was a double-double or what it was, but they were yelling, so I knew something was up.”

The Bobcats will look to keep their momentum from their home opener rolling when they welcome Marshall into Athens on Wednesday. Tip-off from The Convo is scheduled for 7 p.m.

@TylerHJohnson7

tj932016@ohio.edu