Ohio entered its last game in the month of November, a home matchup against Longwood, as the 33rd-best 3-point shooting team in the nation, knocking down 37.2% of its 21.5 3-point attempts per game.
Despite this, the Bobcats were unable to get anything going from beyond the arc, shooting just 20.8% from three in the 75-72 loss to Longwood. With the team’s next game being in Columbus against the 16th-ranked Buckeyes, this marks a crucial loss on the team’s now 2-3 record.
A bright spot for the team, however, was freshman Laylay Fantroy’s career-high scoring performance, posting 15 points on 50% shooting. Fantroy’s previous career high of 10 points was achieved in her first-ever collegiate game against Appalachian State.
Throughout the entire game, Fantroy was putting pressure on the rim, taking and making a variety of layups and putting pressure on the defense. She also kept the defense in foul trouble all night, getting to the line for nine free throws, another career high for her.
“She’s gotten better every time she’s been on the floor,” Ohio Coach Bob Boldon said. “You can see things slowing down for her … she’s more comfortable … and she cares a lot about the game.”
Boldon put more of a load on Fantroy in her young career than he has thus far. She was not only able to stay on the floor to close the game, but was also crucial in the team's near-comeback in the final minutes. Her toughness and energy were encapsulated by the team, which refused to let off the pedal even when Longwood seemed to start pulling away.
“Even when we were down, we were still sticking together as a team,” Fantroy said. “We kept pushing … even when we couldn’t make it on the outside, we were getting in to score.”
The loss is going to be one that the team will try and put behind it ahead of its matchup on the road against the Buckeyes, but there were still positives to take away from the team’s performance, even if they didn’t show up in the box score.
One of those things is the passion everyone on the team, whether it be staff or player, has. The team never gave up even in the most dire of circumstances, and despite the final score, showed just how much it cared about the game.
“They care a lot, and that’s what excites you,” Boldon said, “You want that same care to translate to your assistant coaches, to your GA’s (Graduate Assistants), to your trainers, to the managers, to the players, to everyone that touches your program, and I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that everybody in this program cares.”
Boldon and his team remain confident in themselves; despite a rough night offensively, the team still found a way to stay in the game until the final buzzer.
“That’s what allows you to battle through a very frustrating shooting night and give yourself a chance to win,” Boldon said, “It didn’t go your way, and that’s the way sports are. You’re not guaranteed it will go your way just because you tried hard.”
Growth is going to be at the forefront of this team’s mind as Fantroy and the Bobcat's other young stars find ways to win games. The team knows that this was not its best performance, nor was it its worst, but it knows that it only has room to grow moving forward.