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Gabby Burris shoots a jump shot in a game against Bowling Green at Ohio University on January, 22, 2022, in Athens, Ohio.

Women's Basketball: Strong 3-point shooting powers Ohio to 85-70 win over Bowling Green

Ohio entered Saturday’s game against Bowling Green in desperate need of a win.

The Bobcats have gotten off to a rough start in Mid-American Conference play, with four postponed games and an underwhelming 2-2 record heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Falcons. They were struggling from beyond the arc, their offense had looked sloppy and uninspired and they were developing a habit of slow starts.

That all changed when they stomped the Falcons inside The Convo on Saturday. 

Ohio (9-5, 3-2 Mid-American Conference) rode a hot start from beyond the arc to an early lead and never looked back in its 85-70 win over Bowling Green (7-7, 2-3 MAC). Ohio went 10-of-21 from 3-point range, a far cry from its abysmal performance against Miami on Monday. Ohio sank 3-pointers with ease. By halftime, it was 7-of-14 from beyond the arc and had built up a 16-point lead.

“We shot it really well today,” Ohio coach Bob Boldon said. “We shot it probably the best we’ve ever shot it in nonconference play, and we’ve shot it miserably in conference play.”

Ohio has traditionally been a strong 3-point shooting team under Boldon, and while their 3-point percentage this year is actually slightly higher than last year, that number doesn’t tell the full story.

The Bobcats have often gotten themselves in trouble this season with poor shooting stints beyond the arc, especially early in games. They have often made their percentage look respectable by hitting shots later on, but those slow starts had begun to cost them.

However, Saturday’s performance is something to build on, and it showed what Ohio can do when it consistently makes 3-pointers.

Even when the Bobcats aren’t knocking down 3s, they still shoot. Whether they have missed the last two, five or 10 attempts, they continue to take shots. The Bobcats have confidence that they will make the next shot, no matter how many they missed before.

Boldon knows how important that mentality is, but he also recognizes how hard it is to continue to approach games that way.

“The frustration of missing an open shot is just hard,” Boldon said. “But it’s also hard because these kids work on it. If they didn’t work on it, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But these kids shoot and they know they should make it and they don’t and they don’t and they don’t, and then it’s the Miami game and then you’re 1-of-17.”

Ohio’s dogged approach to 3-point shooting finally paid off on Saturday. It knows now that it can produce in conference play, and it has a chance to turn a corner in the coming weeks.

Outside of the 3-ball, the biggest reason the Bobcats broke out of their offensive slump was balanced scoring. Cece Hooks led the game with 27 points to become the MAC’s all-time leading scorer, and three other Bobcats scored in double figures. Hooks was followed by Erica Johnson and Gabby Burris, who combined for 34 points by the end of the game.

Ohio also got 12 points from Kaylee Bambule, who’s been inconsistent for the Bobcats this year. But Bambule found her stride on Saturday, shooting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Bambule’s performance provided what Ohio needed. Its only consistent 3-point threat this season has been Johnson, and she has struggled since returning to the lineup.

If Saturday’s game is any indication, Ohio might be on the cusp of a hot streak. Its MAC schedule is beginning to ramp up, and a massive win over Bowling Green is the right time to light a spark.

@willocunningham

wc425318@ohio.edu

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