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Ohio University's Cece Hooks (1) gets a fast break off a steal during the home game against The University of Akron on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021 in Athens, Ohio.

Women's Basketball: CeCe Hooks continues her tear in win over Akron

CeCe Hooks stepped up and took her fourth 3-pointer of the game. She already knew the result. 

Like the three earlier shots, it went in.

Hooks continued her tear through the Mid-American Conference on Saturday in The Convo as she scored 31 points in Ohio’s 85-55 win over Akron.

The senior has averaged over 30 points in her last five games, which has earned her national attention in the NCAA starting 5 in week nine. Over her recent stretch, she’s raised her scoring to 26.4 points per game this season. That’s the highest in the MAC and fourth in the nation.

Her dominant play has left her coach and teammates dumbfounded.

“I don’t think I’ve ever experienced five games like this,” head coach Bob Boldon said. “We’ve had great games … but to consistently do it like she has done over five is pretty impressive.”

Hooks had one of those all-time great performances last season against the same Akron team when she scored a school record 41 points. She might’ve been able to challenge that record Saturday, had the Bobcats not held the Zips to four points in the third quarter. Heading into the fourth, the lead was big enough that Hooks didn’t need to play anymore.

The point guard made quick work of Akron with 13-for-18 shooting from the field and four-for-five from 3-point range. She also had five rebounds and three steals for another great game against the Akron team she seems to always dominate.

“I always have a great game against Akron; I don’t know why. It’s weird,” Hooks said. “I always hit all my threes on Akron, too. I don’t know. It’s nothing against them.”

The recent display of dominance has come at a good time for Hooks and the Bobcats. Despite playing with injury trouble, Erica Johnson battling a nagging knee and Peyton Guice out for the season with her own knee injury, the Bobcats have won four of the last five games.

Ohio (9-5, 7-4 Mid-American Conference) has relied on Hooks to do the heavy lifting while role players have filled in the gaps. Gabby Burris has consistently scored around 13 points all season, and others like Kaylee Bambule have also stepped up.

Bambule, who primarily played in shooting situations, has now transitioned into a starting role. She flourished on defense against Akron with a block and two steals to accompany her five rebounds.

The Bobcats were also able to play more of the bench players with a healthy lead built in the fourth quarter. Developing depth has been one of the most important things in a season where sickness could be just as prevalent as injuries.

“It was good to see some different lineups out there, see some different players,” Boldon said. “During a COVID season, you’re going to get tested on your depth, and we knew that was going to happen.”

Ohio’s next opponent, Kent State, has already been tested by COVID-19. The Golden Flashes have postponed each of their last five games. They haven’t played a game since Jan. 9. If the game does happen between the two teams Wednesday, it’s unclear whether that extended break will be an advantage or disadvantage for Kent State.

“I don’t know what their psyche is; I don’t know if they’ll come out like a ball of fire because they’re excited to finally play a basketball game or if they’ll be a little rusty,” Boldon said.

If the game gets played, Kent State will have to return with one of the most difficult tasks possible: stop CeCe Hooks.

No matter the circumstances, Ohio will come into Wednesday ready to play.


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