After starting out the year 0-9 in its first nine home games, Ohio (6-19, 4-10 Mid-American Conference) has won its last two home games with a win over Central Michigan (6-19, 4-10 MAC) on Saturday.
The Bobcats dominated the first half 57-37, and though the Chippewas gave them a scare in the third quarter, the Bobcats held on to win the game 83-75. The Bobcats were pushed to go with a different starting lineup due to Caitlyn Kroll's injury, which paved the way for Jaya McClure to make her first start as a Bobcat.
In her first start, McClure was exactly what the Bobcats have been looking for: a strong second option to Yaya Felder. At halftime, McClure had already exceeded her previous career high in points. When the second half rolled around, McClure was starting to get more attention from defenders, but she found open teammates to keep the offense rolling.
McClure capitalized when the Chippewas left her open from beyond the arc and knocked down two clutch second half 3-pointers. By the end of the game, McClure finished with 28 points, 13 more than her previous career high of 15. McClure played all 40 minutes for the Bobcats, and didn't commit a single turnover.
Felder finished the game with a team-leading 29 points. Felder wasted no time making an impact on the game, scoring five of Ohio's first eight points, and ended the first quarter with nine points on 4-6 shooting.
With McClure taking the reins in the scoring department in the first half, Felder found other ways to contribute. Felder had nine points, four rebounds and three assists in the second quarter alone. Even with some time on the bench in the second half after a slight injury concern, Felder still managed to score 11 second half points and grab four rebounds.
Felder and McClure combined for 57 points on 65% shooting and 75% from beyond the arc. Saturday's game was the first time this season two Bobcats managed to score at least 25 points in the same game.
Two players who touch the ball as much as Felder and McClure often don't share the court very much, but Ohio coach Bob Boldon says the trick is having unselfish players,
"They're really unselfish kids," Boldon said. "...(Having two primary ball handlers on the court at the same time) doesn't work with egos, egos are what kills that".
As unselfish as the Bobcats are, it is still hard to believe that two players who haven't played with each other for very long at all like Felder and McClure can seem to have great chemistry so quickly. McClure believes that chemistry has grown as the year has gone on,
"The longer we play together, the more synergy we have," McClure said. "Sometimes in the beginning of the season I would come in for her or we would be on the court together for a limited time, but I feel like the longer we are on the court the more we just have to (sync)."