Ohio (6-22, 4-13 Mid-American Conference) was once again doomed by the third quarter in a loss to Miami (12-18, 7-10 MAC). Ohio led through the third quarter but late defensive struggles let Miami take over, eventually winning the game.
Both teams got off to a slow start in the first quarter but Ohio's dynamic starting backcourt got things going for the home team. Eventually Miami began to double both Yaya Felder and Jaya McClure. This provided the opportunity for facilitating as Ohio ended up with nine assists in the first half. Three 3-pointers and nearly 50% shooting from Ohio gave it a 19-15 lead after the first.
After a slow start to the first quarter, both teams came out firing to begin the second. It was the Jasmine Hale and Felder show as they scored a combined 19 points and missed just two shots. Miami hung around though, as its top scorers continued to shine like they have all season long. Although Ohio's lead grew as high as 11, Miami cut it to just seven before halftime.
Ohio's kryptonite has been the third quarter all season long, and Wednesday wasn't any different. Ohio went on a nearly four-minute scoring drought and in that time Miami took a one-point lead. Miami's switch to a 1-2-2 zone was the perfect answer for the drive-and-kick offense that the Bobcats perfected in the first half. Ohio recaptured the lead multiple times before the end of a quarter on a couple of baskets from Felder.
Back and forth tough buckets from both sides kept the game within one, but a deep three right before the shot clock went off from Ivy Wolf gave Miami a four-point advantage. In a moment when Ohio needed a basket, Kate Dennis delivered. Felder sliced through the defense and kicked it out to a wide open Dennis, who sunk the three. Miami immediately responded with a basket that would ultimately be the dagger.
"We stopped getting everyone involved," McClure said. "It was kind of stagnant and we needed to get everybody involved more consistently."
"The general message was that I thought they played with great energy and effort," head coach Bob Boldon said. "The last couple of games our second half defense hasn't been as good as it has needed to be."
The loss tonight officially eliminates the Bobcats from making the MAC tournament but that doesn't mean they won't be playing inspired basketball for their seniors in the last game of the season.