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Erica Johnson (#4), of Ohio, dribbles the ball between her legs during Ohio’s game versus Liberty on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in The Convo. Ohio won 76-72. (FILE)

Women's Basketball: Ohio falls short defensively in overtime loss to Ball State

Bob Boldon is often blunt in his postgame assessment of his team after a loss. 

A tough 88-85 overtime loss to Ball State in The Convo on Wednesday night brought even tougher criticism from Ohio’s head coach.

“We’re just a bad defensive team,” Boldon said. “I think what you witnessed is how a bad team plays defense.”

Boldon didn’t hold back in his words after the Bobcats allowed 88 points to the opposing team for the third time this season. Last season, Ohio only gave up 80 points or more once in an overtime game against Central Michigan.

“Since the team that won 30 games, this team has not taken defense real serious,” Boldon said. “Sometimes we’ve been able to score enough points to win, but most times, this year especially, we just haven’t.”

The Bobcats (5-4, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) lost a huge scorer late in the fourth quarter when Cece Hooks fouled out. Erica Johnson also played the entire fourth quarter and overtime with four fouls. The fear of fouling out created a more cautious situation for Ohio, as Ball State scored 24 points in the fourth quarter.

The Bobcats had 26 fouls, which were due to poor communication and bad positioning, Boldon said. Ohio was also out-rebounded by 20.

The Cardinals (5-5, 3-3 MAC) forced 22 turnovers against the Bobcats, while turning over the ball 35 times themselves. Despite having a huge turnover ratio, Boldon wasn’t pleased.

“22 turnovers for this team is embarrassing,” Boldon said. “It’s ridiculous. We start four point guards and we have 22 turnovers. That’s a joke.”

Ohio took the loss on the chin after a handful of strong offensive performances. Caitlyn Kroll led Ohio with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, and Johnson scored 18 points in the second half and overtime.

Unfortunately for the Bobcats, that wasn’t enough. Boldon said that a high-scoring game is fun for spectators, but it’s not an effective way to win games.

“I think it’s fun to watch,” Boldon said. “It’s fun to watch kids score, it’s fun to play. But it just isn’t very productive. It doesn’t result in a lot of wins."

There will be plenty for Ohio to work on before it travels to Mount Pleasant to rematch Central Michigan on Saturday. Defense, of course, will be at the top of the list.

“I wish we were a better basketball team, we’re just not,” Boldon said. “We’re very average. Until we play better defense that’s what will be.”

The Bobcats’ defense will need to make major improvements before Saturday to knock off the reigning MAC regular season champions, Central Michigan. The Chippewas also have two top scorers that are nearly impossible to stop.

Despite the way Ohio’s defense played, the team isn’t ready to panic. Redshirt junior Caitlyn Kroll said there isn’t any reason for the Bobcats to lose confidence after losing the game.

“Just because we lost doesn’t mean we should lose any type of confidence,” Kroll said. “Tomorrow we’re going to get in the gym and get better.”

The Bobcats will look to have higher praise from their head coach after that critical game on Saturday.


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