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Ohio’s Erica Johnson shoots the ball over Toledo’s Soleil Barnes during the Bobcats’ match in The Convo on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.

Women's Basketball: A second glance at Akron and how to watch

Ohio’s playing its best basketball of the season. 

The Bobcats have won four straight games and eight of their last nine Mid-American Conference contests. Redshirt sophomore Erica Johnson looks like she could be the MAC Player of the Year, and backcourt mate Cece Hooks is right behind her. 

The Bobcats are a team on the rise, and they will hope that ascension will continue Saturday when they travel to Akron to face the Zips. 

Game information

Opponent: Akron (13-12, 6-8 MAC) 

Place: James A. Rhodes Arena — “The JAR” (Akron, Ohio)

Game time: 1 p.m. 

How to watch: ESPN3 

How to listen: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/ohio/

Meet the opponent

Head Coach: Melissa Jackson (second season)

Probable starters

25 Jordyn Dawson 

03 Shaunay Edmonds 

05 Haliegh Reinoehl 

12 Shayna Harmon

24 Caitlin Vari

Reserves 

13 Lonasia Brewer 

02 Alyssa Clay 

01 Kendall Miller

20 Gabrielle Brown-Mitchell 

33 Colleen Neitzel 

21 Molly Neitzel 

Individual stat leaders

Points per game: Reinoehl (15.3) 

Rebounds per game: Reinoehl (8.4)

Assists per game: Dawson (2.7) 

Steals: Dawson (45)

FG percentage: Reinoehl (.430)

3-point percentage: Harmon (.359)

Free throw percentage: Reinoehl (.740)

Team stats compared to Ohio 

*Ohio’s stats are in parenthesis

Points per game: 66.9 (73.8)

Rebounds per game: 37.6 (36.1)

Assists per game: 12.46 (12.54)

Steals per game: 7.67 (11.17)

FG percentage: .405 (.414)

3-point percentage: .309 (.328)

Free throw percentage:  .691 (.646)

Series history

Ohio has dominated the all-time series against Akron, 45-19. The Bobcats and Zips met earlier this season on Jan. 29. The Bobcats won that game 70-57 behind big performances from Amani Burke, Hooks and Johnson. Ohio has won four straight games against the Zips and 11 of the last 12 meetings. 

Players to watch

For Ohio, the Bobcats should watch out for Alyssa Clay. While Reinoehl is the Zips' best player, Clay was huge for the Zips off the bench against the Bobcats in the first meeting. Clay led the Zips with a season-high 18 points. Her ability to stretch the floor could be useful while the Bobcats have their hands full with Reinoehl in the paint. 

Akron, and the entire country for that matter, should have all eyes on Johnson. The reigning MAC Player of the Week dropped 31 points in the Bobcats win over Toledo on Wednesday, and she’s shown no signs of slowing down. Johnson is near the top of every major stat category in the MAC. Her play has only strengthened her claim to the Player of the Year award, and if Akron doesn’t take her seriously, she may just add them to her resume. 

Why this game matters? 

Ohio’s scrap this weekend with a team just barely above .500 is very important. The MAC Tournament is a few weeks away and a first-round bye could be an advantage to Ohio. If the tournament started today, the Bobcats would be the No.2 seed behind conference leader Central Michigan. That seeding would give Ohio a bye into the Quarterfinals. Ball State is neck and neck with the Bobcats at that spot. The top four seeds get byes into the quarterfinals, so Ohio should be fine on that end, but the difference between being the No.2 or No.3 seed could be a much different route to the championship.  

@JL_Kirven

jk810916@ohio.edu  

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