Ohio (3-16, 1-7 Mid-American Conference) had a tall task against first-place Ball State (17-4, 7-1 MAC) on Saturday. Ohio's offensive attack was up to the task in the first half, but Ball State showed why it sits atop the standings and ran away with the game in the second half.
The Bobcats immediately showed they were ready for the challenge when Yaya Felder found Kate Dennis for a 3-pointer to give the Bobcats a 5-0 lead. The Cardinals were quick to answer with their own 9-0 scoring run, but Felder made her first 3-pointer to stop the Cardinal run. Felder and Caitlyn Kroll would make 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the Bobcats back on top. The Bobcats then went on a four-minute scoring drought, and the Cardinals took control of the game with a 13-0 run.
Down 12 early in the second quarter, the Bobcats offense got to work. Felder reached double figures in points with a layup, and Abby Garnett knocked down a 3-pointer to get the Bobcats within seven. The Cardinals stretched out their lead with an 8-0 scoring run, but again the Bobcats caught fire from beyond the arc. Dennis made her second 3-pointer of the game, and Jaya McClure and Felder both made 3-pointers to cut the Cardinal lead to six. McClure added to the Bobcats scoring run with a layup. The Cardinals offense finally heated up again at the end of the first half, and they took a 10-point lead in to halftime.
McClure talked about the difficulties the Bobcats faced defensively.
"We struggled communicating switches," McClure said. "I felt like we were kind of going through the motions".
The Bobcats got into a bigger hole when the Cardinals scored the first five points of the second half. Dennis made her third and fourth 3-pointers of the game early in the third quarter to keep the Bobcats afloat, bhe Cardinals offense kept rolling in the third quarter, and they took a 66-49 lead into the fourth quarter.
Dennis talked about the team's three point efficiency,
"Shooting 40% from three as a team, we were feeling it today," Dennis said. "We knew we had to shoot it well against a really good Ball State team."
After both teams were held scoreless through the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, Thelma Agustdottir made a 3-pointer to give the Cardinals a 20-point lead. The Bobcats got as close as 16, but were never close enough to make things interesting, and the Cardinals went on to win the game 78-58.
Ohio coach Bob Boldon talked about the difficulty in guarding a team like Ball State,
"They played as well as advertised," Boldon said. "I thought their tempo was good, and I thought their patience was good. I thought we guarded them well for 20 seconds, but that's the difference when you play good teams that's usually not enough."
Felder led the team with an efficient 19 points, she was 6-9 from the floor including 3-4 from beyond the arc. Kate Dennis finished the game with 12 points. Kroll nearly finished the game with a double-double, she had eight points and nine rebounds.