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Jasmine Hale (No. 23) shoots a layup against Western Michigan at The Convo on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.

Women's Basketball: Ohio loses rhythm in the second half, falls 68-57 to Western Michigan

Ohio (2-14, 0-5 Mid-American Conference) played with energy and physicality to take a lead into halftime, but as the game continued fatigue kicked in, and Western Michigan (8-8, 3-2 Mid-American Conference) made Ohio pay. Western Michigan left The Convo with a 68-57 win. 

The Bobcats and Broncos looked to be in a tussle early. The two teams combined for just 12 points through the game's first five minutes. Yaya Felder and Jasmine Hale helped wake the Bobcats' offensive attack with 3-pointers. All it took was a layup by Hale put the Bobcats on top 17-16 at the end of the first quarter.

Caitlyn Kroll added to the Bobcats' 3-point barrage with back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second quarter. After the Broncos went on a 7-0 scoring run, Kroll answered with her third 3-pointer of the second quarter to put the Bobcats back on top by two. The Bobcats' offense couldn't be stopped late in the second quarter when Ella Pope, Abby Garnett and Hale led the Bobcats on their own 7-0 scoring run. However, the Broncos scored the last five points of the first half to trim the Bobcats' lead to one.

The Bobcats didn't look like they had the energy to play with the same intensity they had in the first half, and the Broncos took advantage of them. After Garnett made a layup early in the third quarter, the Bobcats went over six minutes without scoring. The Bobcats played good enough defense to keep themselves in the game, but bad turnovers and missed shots loomed large.

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Yaya Felder (No. 2) drives to the basket against Western Michigan at The Convo on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.

"It was definitely a difference in energy," Hale said. "I think we do a good job of staying up in the first half of keeping a good tempo, but it seems like when we're not hitting shots, everything starts trickling down, our body language, our energy."

The Bobcats' scoring drought ended when Hale made a layup, but the Broncos were still ahead by five. By the end of the third quarter, the Bobcats only managed to score four points in 10 minutes, and the Broncos took a seven-point advantage into the final quarter.

"I thought we had a little trouble reversing the ball in the second half," Ohio coach Bob Boldon said. "And we kind of just got out of sync at the beginning of the third quarter and we didn't really get back into it."

Felder single-handedly kept the Bobcats afloat by scoring their first six points of the quarter. Hale later made a couple of key free throws to cut the Broncos' lead to five, but the Broncos then scored 10 of the next 12 points. As the time dwindled down, any hope the Bobcats had was extinguished by Lauren Ross, who scored four straight points to give the Broncos a 13-point lead. 

The Bobcats lost their 10th straight game, but despite the result, Boldon appreciated the effort the Bobcats gave defensively.

"I thought the effort and energy was there," Boldon said. "I just thought at times they were a bit better offensively than we were defensively."

Felder again led the Bobcats with 17 points, while Hale and Kroll both got to double figures in points. Three of Kroll's 3-pointers in the second quarter helped the Bobcats shoot an efficient 40% from beyond the arc.

Although their record may not show it, Garnett believes the Bobcats are improving.

"We just tried to take whatever it is, mistakes made, and move forward the next day," Garnett said. "I think we're getting better, we're right there."

@GorbettBobby

bg238320@ohio.edu

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