Ohio (6-19, 4-10 Mid-American Conference) got its revenge against Central Michigan (6-19, 4-10 MAC) in a game that was a shootout from the tip. Both teams have had their struggles this season, but that was not apparent in the aggressiveness and toughness that they played with. In the end, Ohio came out with an 83-75 win.
In a quarter that can prove difficult offensively for Ohio, it was the exact opposite today as it shot 59% from the field and 56% from 3-point range in the first. That led to Ohio's second-highest scoring quarter this season.
The Bobcats started the game slow on defense as they did something non-traditional. They played a triangle-and-two defense to try to limit the offensive output from the Chippewas' top two scorers. The Chippewas usually from beyond the arc, so the Bobcats' defense tried to limit that as much as possible.
The offense didn't cool down for the Bobcats in the second quarter. They made four-straight field goals and went on a 12-0 run that opened up the lead. In Jaya McClure's first start in The Convo, she dictated the offense and seemed as comfortable as ever. After a couple of consecutive turnovers that led to Ohio's fast breaks, Central Michigan began to fall off the pace.
Late in the quarter, sophomore Kate Dennis ferociously denied a deep 3-point attempt from Central Michigan. Dennis then collected the loose ball and completed a strong outlet pass to Yaya Felder for her easiest basket of the afternoon.
Ohio went into halftime with energy and confidence as its lead was 57-37 going into the break. The 31-point performance in the second quarter was Ohio's best offensive output in a quarter
To begin the second half, Central Michigan was inspired by the defensive scheme of Ohio. It also implemented a triangle-and-two defense to try to limit the offensive output of McClure and Felder. As a result, the Ohio offense stiffened in the first half of the third quarter.
"When me and Yaya are continuously driving, we are getting the ball moving and everybody keeps a calm head," McClure said.
The Bobcats did not fold, though. McClure shot two 3-pointers and stifled a strong comeback from the Chippewas. A scoring drought and a flurry of turnovers from both sides sent the game to the fourth quarter with the Bobcats leading by 13.
Central Michigan fought hard in the fourth. It went on multiple scoring runs and quickly cut Ohio's lead to single figures. However, a 3-pointer from Dennis followed by a deep 3-pointer from Felder iced the game for Ohio. McClure ended the day with 28 points and Felder had 29.
"I was excited," McClure said after the game. "When I knew I was going to start with Kroll out, I was like 'we got to do it for her.' I just stayed locked in."
McClure and Felder could not maintain their excitement when talking about the team's performance postgame. More than anything, they were excited to talk about their teammates' performance when both had career days. Ohio coach Bob Boldon emphasized the team's togetherness after the game as well.
"This year's team is awesome," Boldon said. "The way that they get along and the way that they care about each other and with everything they've been through. They're awesome. Every day they have great energy and great care."