Ohio won the tip against Florida A&M on Monday night and immediately took off for the basket. Reliable shooter Erica Johnson set her feet for a 3-pointer within the first 10 seconds of the game but missed. Not even 10 seconds later, Cece Hooks also took a crack from beyond the arc and found the same fate.
Ohio’s shooting in the first quarter of its 98-45 win against Florida A&M on Monday was not where it wanted it to be. It struggled to connect at the rim and went 1-for-13 beyond the arc. Ohio was in the midst of its worst 3-point performance of the season, but that did not stop it from taking more shots.
By the end of the night, the Bobcats had tied their program 3-point attempts record in a game with 45 shots.
The Rattlers guarded the Bobcats heavily in the paint, and it eliminated their ability to drive. All the Bobcats could do was shoot 3-pointers. With the Rattlers stuffing the paint, the Bobcats’ main shooters, such as Hooks, had to pass to the outside in an attempt to put points on the board.
“They did a good job of getting her off her spot,” Ohio coach Bob Boldon said. ”Once she saw how she was being guarded, she did a good job of distributing the basketball.”
Florida A&M left Ohio open in the back of the court. This allowed Ohio to take longer passes and experiment with using more passing within the offense. It helped Ohio expand beyond what it already knew to do, which could come in handy during conference play.
The Bobcats’ shooting improved as time wore on, and they had completely turned their 3-point shooting around by the end of the third quarter. Johnson broke the ice with two 3-pointers. Kaylee Bambule, Madi Mace and Ella Pope then joined the effort with one each in the quarter. As a team, the Bobcats posted their best 3-point percentage of the night in the third at 55.6%.
“I thought the quality of the shots we took were good,” Boldon said. “Sometimes you look at the quality of the shot and say, ‘That’s the problem. You want to take good shots.’ That wasn’t the case tonight.”
Ohio continued to blaze a trail in the fourth quarter as it sealed Florida A&M’s fate. It connected for 5-of-12 3-point shots to round out the night and tally its second-best 3-point percentage of the night.
Ohio made 33.3% of its 3-point attempts for the second consecutive week, shooting the same percentage against Mercyhurst on Nov. 20. The difference between now and then was Ohio took 45 shots rather than 24.
“I think you have to keep shooting. You’re going to miss them, so you have got to keep shooting,” Mace said.
Shooting will play a key role in how the Bobcats fare in conference play. It’s important that they stay sharp on offense so their defense can continue to grow as well. Ohio is not known for its defense, so it’s up to the shooters to take the lead. The 3-point could become its secret weapon when it comes time for Mid-American Conference play.