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Women’s Basketball: Ohio’s offensive blitz bulldozes Miami’s defensive schemes

In traditional fashion, the 2023-24 season’s edition of the famed “Battle of the Bricks” was a chippy and bruising matchup between two storied divisional rivals. Ohio bludgeoned Miami 71-55 in the team’s second-highest scoring total since the start of Mid-American Conference play. This tally comes despite a constantly changing and fluctuating Miami defense that aimed to stop the young and shorthanded Bobcats in their tracks.

The Redhawks opened the game by flipping between man-to-man coverage and various zone coverages. When in man, the Bobcats were able to attack one-on-one, as freshman Monica Williams got to the basket with relative ease all game. When Miami was in zone coverage, Ohio capitalized on the space Miami felt comfortable conceding as another freshman, Bailey Tabeling, got hot from three in her first career start.

“Over the past couple of days, we’ve just been working on what (Miami’s) going to run at us on defense and what we’re going to run on offense against it,” Tabeling said. “It really helped us out to know what we’re supposed to do.”

One thing Miami accomplished in its zone, as well as the traps and presses it threw at Ohio in the middle portion of the game, was forcing turnovers as the home team compiled 22 compared to Miami’s 19. However, Tabeling’s shooting proved to be the Achilles heel of Miami’s trickier defensive styles, scoring a game-high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting. 

Behind the freshman’s offensive explosion, the Bobcats dominated in the play types where the Redhawks couldn’t get set into their scheme. Ohio nearly doubled up its opponent from the free-throw line, going 20-of-25 on foul shots compared to the Redhawks’ 12-of-14 total. The Bobcats also scored 28 points off Redhawk turnovers, eight more than their opponent was able to get despite conceding three fewer turnovers.

“It was a part of (Ohio) just being aggressive,” Ohio Coach Bob Boldon said. “A lot of that came from just staying in plays and being energetic and trying and effort and a little bit of resiliency.”

The effort the team has consistently brought to the table, despite their youth, has been a consistent factor in the unit’s winning nature as of late. The Bobcats have managed three-straight wins in conference play, improving to 4-4 in the MAC and eclipsing their win total from all of last season.

Another reason for the Bobcats’ offensive performance in this past game against Miami, as well as the rest of the wins they’ve been piling up as of late, is their ability to play to their strengths and advantages. This Ohio roster is young, and in the past few games, it has been shorthanded missing key contributors Jaya McClure, Kennedi Watkins and Cassidy Lafler. However, regardless of who has been able to suit up, the Bobcats have found contributors across the roster and have consistently been able to do what they feel they do best.

“Our advantage is space on offense and defense, and we try to create as much space as we can,” Boldon said, “(Tabeling) probably made a couple of corner 3’s today; she wasn’t there by accident. (Laylay Fantroy) did a great job in the middle of that zone and creating for other people, and so on.”

Whether it was on an individual or schematic level, the Bobcats played directly to their strengths on offense. They generated space, won on the glass, and got out in transition seemingly at will. Without necessarily having a superstar offensive piece, Ohio has been able to win games as a unit, something Boldon and the team have been trying to do all season.

“How are we going to do it together?” Boldon said. “That’s where I’ve seen the most growth of this team is their togetherness and their unselfishness and their joy of being a team.”


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