Ohio (7-15, 4-7 Mid-American Conference) returned to the Convo and came up short in the team’s final nonconference matchup against Texas State (13-12, 3-9 Sun Belt), losing 80-71. Ohio shot just 4-of-20 from three, while Texas State went 8-of-16, also losing the free throw battle as Texas State went 26-of-28 on free throws.
While the team had an all-around poor offensive performance, the aggression of freshman Laylay Fantroy was a bright spot, as she scored a career-high 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field to go along with six rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
Fantroy was aggressive early on, generating free throws and good looks for her teammates off hard drives to the basket. She lived at the line all game, generating nine of the Bobcats’ 26 free throws on the game.
“We ask Laylay [Fantroy] to do a lot of different things, guard different positions, play different positions offensively,” Ohio coach Bob Boldon. “She’s continued to rise to the challenge and I thought her effort today was tremendous.”
Ohio was at its best when it was playing fast, suffering from turnovers and stunted attacks when trying to play more methodically. They were unable to generate open looks from three, where Ohio has punished teams who have left them open.
Coming off a 22-point performance in the team’s previous game against Bowling Green, freshman Bailey Tabeling was held to just four shots, totaling 6 points and six rebounds in a limited effort.
Another bright spot for the team was sophomore Jaya McClure, who played her highest minute total with 32 since returning from injury. McClure tallied 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and helped keep Ohio in the game late. While the efforts were fleeting, being back on the court was an important step for McClure.
“Honestly, it felt good,” McClure said. “Being a point guard and getting my teammates the ball first and just letting everything else come.”
While the newly healthy Bobcats, who have been dealing with injuries over the last month, are getting their feet back under them, Texas State came out of the gates hot. They converted on three of their first four shots from three and never looked back.
Ja’Niah Henson, Texas State’s leading scorer, was consistent all game, confidently making or getting fouled on long-range shots to keep Ohio at bay. Henson finished with 22 points on just 3-of-9 shooting but was able to get the line 14 times – converting all 14 – to keep momentum on Texas State’s side.
Now, Ohio heads back into MAC play, coming back to the Convo for the second game of a three-game home stand as they face off against Ball State, who currently sits first in the conference.
While there’s been growth from this young Bobcats team, Boldon expressed that the team is running out of chances to improve upon losses before they simply need to start winning. Ohio currently sits at eighth in the MAC, narrowly edging out Akron for the final spot in the conference’s postseason tournament.