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Ohio guard Cierra Hooks (1) passes the ball out of the perimeter during the 79-69 win over Bowling Green in the Convo on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020.

Women's Basketball: Central Michigan scouting report and how to watch

Ohio’s matchup with Central Michigan is the most important of the season. The Chippewas are undefeated in Mid-American Conference play and are the only team ahead of the Bobcats in the standings. An Ohio win on Saturday would make the conference race very interesting, while a Bobcat loss would most likely end all hopes of a MAC regular-season title. 

GAME INFORMATION 

Opponent: Central Michigan (15-4, 8-0) 

Gametime: 1 p.m.

Place: McGuirk Arena (Mt. Pleasant, Michigan) 

How to watch: ESPN3 

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

MEET THE OPPONENT 

Head Coach: Heather Oesterle (First season) 

Probable starters

14 Molly Davis 

50 Kyra Bussell 

01 Micaela Kelly 

04 Maddy Walters

21 Jahari Smith 

Reserves

33 Gabrielle Bird 

22 Kalle Martinez 

42 Mackenna Kelly 

11 Sophia Karasinski 

32 Shine Strickland-Gills

TEAM STAT LEADERS 

Points per game: Kelly (23.4)

Rebounds per game: Bussell (7.4) 

Steals: Kelly (39) 

Field goal percentage: Davis (.516)

3-point percentage: Bird (.388) 

Free throw percentage: Kelly (.800)

TEAM STATS COMPARED TO OHIO 

*Ohio’s stats are in parenthesis 

Points per game: 76.8 (72.2)

Rebounds per game: 38.7 (35.3)

Steals per game: 6.74 (11.37)

Field goal percentage: .454 (.410) 

3-point percentage: .360 (.323)

Free throw percentage: .753 (.647)

SERIES HISTORY 

Ohio trails in the all-time series to the Chippewas 37-31. The teams met on Jan.8 in Athens. The game was back and forth but looked like it was the Bobcats’ to lose until Gabrielle Bird hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining to give Central Michigan a 73-71 win. 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

For Central Michigan keep an eye out on Gabrielle Bird. Bird was the one to hit the game-winner in Athens a few weeks ago. She’s one of the best shooters in the conference and has a quick trigger. MAC leading scorer Micaela Kelly could be a problem for the Bobcats too, but Ohio is usually sound against ball handlers like Kelly. It’s usually the catch and shoot type players that give the Bobcats the most trouble. 

Keep an eye out for multiple Ohio players. Ohio on Saturday will be without senior Amani Burke. Burke has a personal matter to attend to so coach Bob Boldon will have to find out will take her place. Boldon said that it wouldn’t be just one player, but a collection of pieces from the bench. Some of those pieces may be Caitlyn Kroll, who’s averaging 4.7 points per game, Edecia Beck, whose rebounding ability would match up nicely against Central Michigan, and Peyton Guice, whose breakout performance against Akron may have earned her more playing time. 

WHY DOES THIS GAME MATTER?

This is Ohio’s most important game of the season. The Bobcats currently trail two games behind Central Michigan. This is their last chance to shorten that deficit. If Ohio wants to win the MAC Championship, go to the NCAA Tournament and complete its “Unfinished Business,“ then it has to win on Saturday. 

@JL_Kirven

jk810916@ohio.edu 

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