“Today was spectacular,” said Ohio Coach Bob Boldon. “It was one of the best shooting performances I’ve ever seen.”
Although his team lost the game 82-62, the story coming out of Ohio’s matchup with Syracuse was the outstanding performance from freshman guard Bailey Tabeling.
After the game against Syracuse, Ohio would be exiting an interesting point in its young season. The Syracuse game had ended, and Ohio would be on the verge of beginning Mid-American Conference play, just after having played its two toughest out-of-conference opponents: Ohio State and Syracuse.
The Ohio State game ended in a bad loss on the road against a team with advantages in size and experience and a final score of 85-45. Ohio would then return home to face off against Syracuse, and at practice before the game, the Ohio Women’s Basketball Twitter account would post this video. It was nothing more than a fun, harmless video of Tabeling, who was in street clothes, attempting and making a half-court shot granny style. Little did she, or anyone else, know that the video would preview what was to come of her performance on Saturday.
Tabeling would end the game with 23 points, the most she has scored in a game in her young career, the most points on the team that day, and the most points a Bobcat has scored in any game so far this season.
Her impact would start almost as soon as she checked into the game in the first quarter. Syracuse was in the midst of an 8-0 run near the end of the first quarter, that was until the ball found Tabeling in the left corner, and then the ball found the bottom of the net as The Convo erupted. Tabeling’s three had stopped the bleeding from the Syracuse run, but it would only take one more possession for her to tie up the game. This time, it was Tabeling in the right corner, but the same result occurred despite the difference in the spot on the court. The nylon of the net swished, and the game was tied at 13-13.
Little did anyone in The Convo know that Tabeling’s first two 3-pointers were just the start of her onslaught. Her third 3-pointer came at another opportune time in the game as Syracuse was threatening to go on a run midway through the second quarter. Syracuse’s zone defense was forcing plenty of ball movement from Ohio, and at the end of the passing carousel was Tabeling at the top of the key, ready to unload her third 3-pointer and bring Ohio back within striking distance of the Syracuse lead.
At this point, Tabeling was on a hot streak, not yet at the point of takeover levels of shooting. That would change quickly as Tabeling would sink two more 3-pointers in the second quarter, bringing her numbers to 5-5 from three and 17 total points. Tabeling had reached the level of unconscious shooting, something she acknowledged.
“Honestly, there's really nothing that would run through my mind,” said Tabeling during the post-game press conference.
Ohio entered the locker room at halftime down just 1 point to Syracuse, playing some of the best basketball it had played all season in the first half.
If the second quarter was the dream quarter for Ohio, the third was a nightmare. The Orange came out of the half on a 13-0 run. Tabeling wasn’t able to score in the third, and Ohio was outscored 23-7 as Syracuse blew the game wide open.
Tabeling was able to give Ohio a much-needed shot at life with her phenomenal shooting in the fourth quarter. Her back-to-back 3-pointers halfway through the final frame brought The Convo back to life as Ohio was looking to mount a comeback led by Tabeling. However, her efforts would not result in a win, and Syracuse won 82-62.
Tabeling’s performance was representative of the team's overall standing as they are close to beginning conference play.
“She works really hard. It's been a little bit of a rollercoaster ride for the past two months, getting in here and she's had some good days,” said Boldon. “She's had some bad days but she's always stuck with it and she's shown a great deal too.”