Ohio's (5-18, 3-9 Mid-American Conference) first home win of the season on Saturday came right down to the wire against Northern Illinois (12-11, 4-8 MAC). Yaya Felder had 15 points for the Bobcats in the fourth quarter, and the Bobcats needed all of them in their 72-71 win.
After a back-and-forth game for the first three quarters, the Huskies started the fourth on a 10-4 scoring run after a clutch 3-pointer from Janae Poisson made the score 59-53. Caitlyn Kroll and Felder tied the game with back-to-back threes, but the Huskies were quick to shut down the Bobcats' scoring run with an and-1 layup.
After a Felder layup, the Bobcats momentum was mounting, and they picked up another defensive stop, followed by another Felder layup to give the Bobcats their first lead of the fourth quarter.
With under two minutes to go, Janae Poisson hit another huge 3-pointer to tie the game at 65. Felder and A'Jah Davis traded baskets and free throws down the stretch, and after Jasmine Hale missed a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to keep Ohio's lead at just one, Chelby Koker hit her free throws to put Northern Illinois up one.
The Bobcats advanced the ball past half court and called a timeout with only 5 seconds left, but after looking a bit unorganized out of the timeout, Ohio head coach Bob Boldon called another timeout with only 2 seconds left. With Abby Garnett inbounding, Felder cut to the basket, leapt, caught a beautiful lob and finished a contested layup to put the Bobcats up 72-71 with 1.6 seconds left.
After the game, Boldon detailed Felder's game winning layup,
"It was an amazing pass, and an amazing shot," Boldon said. "It's nice to have good players... It's ironic, I told the players after the game, 'plays don't work, players work,' and the players made that play work. It was one of the best plays of the year, and a really special moment."
The Bobcats' work wasn't over, however, as the Huskies called a timeout to advance the ball up to half court, and found Davis open below the basket. Davis's layup rolled off the rim, but she grabbed her own rebound, and put up another shot right before the buzzer sounded, Davis' last second shot hung on the back of the rim for what felt like an eternity, but ultimately missed, giving the Bobcats their first home win of the season.
Kroll admitted she might not have made the right decision on the last defensive possession,
"That was me," Kroll said. "I was supposed to stay down and I didn't. So we knew it was going down there... it was my fault. Thank god she missed."
After only scoring eight points through three quarters, Felder finished the game with a team-high 23 points. Kroll had an efficient 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Hale finished with 11 points.
Garnett said the win proves the Bobcats can battle through adversity,
"I think we just proved today, we can make mistakes," Garnett said. "We can come back from being down, and we can finish a game."