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Jaya McClure (0) Guard on Ohio University's Women's Basketball team gets ready for the foul shot at The Convo, in Athens, Ohio on Nov. 29, 2023.

Women's Basketball: Ohio starts 2024 with 67-58 victory over Akron

Ohio (4-7 overall, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) began conference play with a big win at The Convo, defeating Akron (5-6 overall, 0-1 Mid-American Conference) 67-58.

From the very start of the game, it was clear both teams were ready for a battle in Athens. Kennedi Watkins was crucial to Ohio’s hot start, as the junior guard was a perfect 4-4 from the field with 9 points in the opening frame. Ohio had a stellar start to the game, finishing the quarter with an efficient 47% from the field. 

The hot streak for the Bobcats slowed down in the second half. Ohio only scored 12 total points in the second quarter, which came at a clip of 25% from the floor, a stark difference from its strong first quarter.

Kennedi Watkins kept Ohio afloat again, scoring 4 more points to bring her first-half total to 13. However, Akron’s junior guard Kaia Woods went bucket-for-bucket with Watkins in the first half, matching her 13 points and leading the Zips in scoring to give them a 3-point lead heading into halftime. 

The third quarter was the Bailey Tabeling show. Ohio struggled to score and get shots up early in the third quarter. It took Tabeling until the 6-minute mark in the third to log her first bucket, a layup coming off a steal from Madi Mace. 

It only took the layup for Tabeling to find her groove, as the following possession Mace logged another steal and found Tabeling again, this time for a 3-point jump shot.

Tabeling, a freshman guard, has shown many times that she can catch fire at any point in the game, and unfortunately for the Zips, she caught fire again. She added two more 3-pointers — one of which was again assisted by Mace — to finish with 11 points in the quarter, swinging the momentum Ohio’s way as it led 50-46 going into the fourth. 

Akron had to dig itself out of a hole created by Tabeling to win the game, and its poor shooting didn’t allow that. Akron shot a dismal 2-11 from the field and only connected on one of its six 3-point attempts in the final frame. If it wasn’t for Akron capitalizing on its free-throw opportunities, Ohio could have completely dominated the end of the game.

Ohio was able to force nine Akron turnovers in the fourth quarter, one of which was caused by Bengisu Alper giving her an open lane to the hoop, an opportunity that she finished with an and-one layup. Ohio held on for the remaining minutes and finished the game with a conference and 2024-opening victory. 


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