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Kennedi Watkins (5) shooting the ball during the Ohio Women's Basketball game against Eastern Michigan at The Convo, Jan. 10, 2024.

Women’s Basketball: Ohio falls short against Buffalo

Coming off a massive upset victory against Kent State, which came down to the game's final seconds, Ohio (8-17, 5-9 Mid-American Conference) traveled to New York to face off against Buffalo in a game it lost 67-54.

Against the Bulls, the Bobcats faced their final opponent ranked in the MAC’s top five, with only one other team on their schedule ranked ahead of them in the conference standings. Despite this, Ohio has little time to breathe with the final four games ahead of it.

Buffalo dominated Ohio with physicality. Despite both teams being inefficient from the field – Ohio shot 20-of-54 while Buffalo shot 21-of-54 – Buffalo was prolific in getting to the free-throw line, shooting 23 free throws to Ohio’s eight.

This volley of foul shots led to two things: Buffalo holding a lead near or exceeding double-digit points for most of the game and many Ohio players getting into foul trouble. 

Early on, Ohio held an 11-8 lead, making three of its first five 3-point attempts to start the game. However, Buffalo’s offense would eventually catch up, led by Chellia Watson and Alexis Davis. By the end of the first quarter, the Bobcats had scored just 2 points to Buffalo’s 19 since they held that 11-8 lead.

The second quarter saw the Bobcats come back to life as they went on a 10-0 run, holding the Bulls scoreless until the 1-minute, 31-second mark in the quarter where they scored their only basket of the quarter; a layup by Kirsten Lewis-Williams.

In the third quarter, Watson got going for Buffalo. The Bulls nearly doubled their first-half point total in the quarter, with 10 of the 24 coming from Watson. It was a bevy of jumpers and some chip fouls that kept Ohio from playing its aggressive, steal- and deflection-heavy style of defense.

In the fourth, Buffalo scored 10 of its 14 points at the free-throw line, with its only field goals coming from two Watson jumpers. The game slowed down a good amount as both teams seemed unable to find the bottom of the rim for most of the quarter, and as several Bobcats tacked on fouls, it was tough for the team to find its rhythm.

Despite the loss, the Bobcats remain in the final spot of the MAC tournament, currently sitting at eighth in the conference’s standings. However, with Miami winning its third game out of its last four, it has skyrocketed up from the bottom two spots in the conference to tie itself with Ohio at 5-9 in conference play and 8-17 on the season.

Over the last four games, Ohio will face off against sixth-place Western Michigan before heading into the matchups that will likely determine the seeding in the bottom half of the MAC. Ohio’s final three games will be played against Central Michigan, Akron and Miami.

In the many different ways those final three games could shake out, Ohio likely needs to win the majority of them, especially those against Miami and Akron to make the MAC tournament. 


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