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Ohio University guard Jaya McClure (0) shoots a three-pointer against Dayton University at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio, Nov. 16, 2023.

Women’s Basketball: Ohio drops close one in final game before conference play

After a 20-point loss against Butler on December 21, Ohio (3-7) logs its fifth loss in six games against Bellarmine by a final score of 66-70.

Ohio started its season 2-2 with wins against Dayton and IUPUI, but wins have been hard to come by since. The Bobcats' only victory since their .500 start came against Indiana State on December 17, with losses of 40, 20 and 20 coming against Ohio State, Syracuse, and Butler.

In the team’s matchup against the Knights, the Bobcats managed to keep it close throughout the 40 minutes of game time, never falling farther than eleven points behind their opponent.

While Ohio did not take its first lead until 13 seconds left in the second quarter, the team maintained a stable lead for the entire third quarter. However, a pair of threes from Hayley Harrison and Hope Sivori allowed the Knights to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter, and from there, the Bobcats could not regain the ground they lost.

The Knights’ 5’10” sophomore Miyah Brown was a problem all afternoon for the Bobcats, netting team highs in points and rebounds with 18 and 8, respectively. Brown’s five point-stretch late in the fourth secured the win for the Knights, keeping the Bobcats at bay as they started to get going on offense.

For the Bobcats, it was Jaya McClure’s performance that kept them in the game. McClure tied her season-high of 21 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the field to go with a team-high six assists.

On the other hand, the Bobcats struggled again with their biggest weakness this season: turnovers. The Bobcats registered 26 turnovers against the Knights, a shade over their season average of 22.2 turnovers per game. This average is the sixth highest in the NCAA and the crux of Ohio’s offense in most of the team’s losses this season.

McClure’s offensive brilliance has been a bright spot for the Bobcats throughout the season, with three games of 20 or more points in her first nine games. Now up to 15.2 points per game on the season, McClure is third in the Mid-American Conference in scoring.

Speaking of the MAC’s top scorers, Ohio will face off against the player who sits atop the conference, Reagan Bass of Akron, in their conference-play debut this season on January 3. The Zips have been relatively middling ahead of MAC play with a record of 5-5 on the season.

Bass, however, is going to be a challenge for the Bobcats. The 6’1” junior’s points-per-game average of 21.2 ranks fourteenth in the country, while her rebounding average of 11.7 per game ranks third. Bass is playing like the player of the year in the MAC, and keeping her off the glass will likely play a massive role in the Bobcats’ ability to come out on top.


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