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Ohio University sophomore Jaya McClure (0) faces a Central Michigan player, March 2, 2024 in The Convo at Ohio University in Athens.

Women’s Basketball: Ohio comes out on top against Central Michigan in final home game

Ohio (10-17, 7-9 Mid-American Conference) successfully defended home court for the final time this season, defeating Central Michigan (6-20 overall, 4-12 MAC) by a score of 77-63 on Senior Day. 

Ohio started the game with urgency. The fast start began on both ends of the court, particularly for sophomore guard Jaya McClure. McClure had a quick 7 points in the opening quarter and played strong defense on Central Michigan’s ball handlers Tamara Ortiz and Capria Brown. 

The defense was the biggest factor in the first quarter for Ohio, forcing 10 turnovers and holding the Chippewas to just 13% shooting from the field in the first 10 minutes. Ohio’s strong first-quarter showing gave them a 7-point lead at the end of the first.

The second quarter was a showcase of Monica William’s defensive talent. The freshman guard nabbed an impressive four steals in the first quarter and followed that up by swiping away three more in the second quarter. The freshman was firmly on record watch going into halftime, sitting just three more steals away from tying Cece Hook’s record of 10 steals in a game by an Ohio player. 

William’s big day was a product of work and her incredible instincts.

“Remembering what we did in practice, remembering we have to be in help," Williams said. “Then really just being in gaps and going for the ball.” 

Williams forced a third of Central Michigan’s 21 turnovers in the first half and was a key reason why Ohio led by 16 at the break. 

Central Michigan is not a team that goes away easily, however, and if its overtime win against Miami on Wednesday was not proof of that, the third quarter was. 

Ohio came out of the break on a shooting slump, and Central Michigan took advantage, shooting 45% from the floor and bringing the Ohio lead down to just 5 points. 

“We need to settle down and understand our defensive performance wasn’t good enough for that time period,” said Ohio head coach Bob Boldon. “But that time period is done and over with and you can move on to the next time period.” 

Ohio did exactly that when the fourth quarter started, going back to their fast, instinctive defense, forcing four turnovers and a shooting percentage of 35% from Central Michigan in the final quarter. 

McClure was another big reason for Ohio’s fourth-quarter success. She led the game with 19 points on 50% shooting and closed out the game with two and one floaters in the fourth quarter that got The Convo on their feet. 

“I think she did a good job of picking and choosing her points … her decision-making the last couple of games has been really good,” Boldon said. “She’s got in there to help us rebound … she made some plays along with a few of her teammates that kind of closed it out down the stretch.”

Ohio walked off The Convo’s court for the last time this season with a 14-point win to celebrate its seniors. 

Ohio University Sr. Madi Mace(3) after a senior night win versus Central MIchigan University March. 2, 2024.

Ohio closed out the home schedule of games and now heads into the last two regular season games of the season to fight for a MAC tournament spot. 


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