CINCINNATI, Ohio – Ohio Women’s Basketball rang in the New Year in a very positive way on Saturday afternoon, picking up a hard-fought 68-62 victory at Xavier. Three Bobcats scored in double figures and the Green and White committed just seven turnovers while dishing out 13 assists in the victory.
Freshman guard Kiyanna Black (Columbus, Ohio) scored a career and game-high 23 points in the win. She was one of three Ohio student-athletes who scored in double figures, as Erin Bailes (20 points) and Lexie Baldwin (10) also contributed heavily to the scoring effort. Baldwin (Hattiesburg, Miss.) just missed out on her second straight double-double, collecting a team-high eight rebounds in the victory.
Ohio (5-7) shot its third best percentage of the season, connecting on 26 of 60 field-goal attempts to end the game at 43.3 percent. The Bobcats held Xavier to just 22-62 (35.5 percent) from the field. Ohio was very diligent with its possessions during the game, dishing out 13 assists while committing just seven turnovers.
The victory was Ohio’s fifth straight in the series over Xavier (6-8), with the Bobcats holding a 5-1 advantage in the program’s six all-time meetings.
Ohio got off to a great start, sprinting out to an early 8-0 lead before Xavier was forced to call a timeout just 2:06 into the contest. The ‘Cats would further press this advantage, taking a 14-6 lead at the under-12 media timeout. Bailes (Huntington, W.Va.) scored seven early points for the Green and White while Ohio limited Xavier to seven percent (1-14) shooting from the field in the early stages of the game.
The Bobcats kept up their strong play throughout the rest of the half, never letting Xavier have the lead once en route to taking a 27-19 advantage into the locker room. Ohio forced the Musketeers to shoot a mere 25 percent (7-28) from the field, a mark which included an 0-4 success rate from beyond the arc. The Bobcats won the battle of the boards, 24-19, and shot 34.4 percent (11-32) from the field. Ohio did a good job of spreading the ball around in the first period, assisting on seven of its 11 first-half field goals. Tina Fisher (Cottage Grove, Minn.) and Ashley Fowler (Cincinnati, Ohio) each dished out two helpers.
Black (Columbus, Ohio) led the way offensively for both teams, scoring nine points on 4-10 shooting. She was followed closely by Bailes, who scored seven points on 2-8 shooting from the field.
Xavier came out of the gate quickly to start the second half, opening with a 14-5 run to take its first lead of the game at the 15:19 mark. The Musketeers were able to push this lead as high as three points (37-34) before Ohio answered back with an 8-2 run of its own thanks to key shots by Bailes and Black.
Bailes and Black were key in the second half for Ohio, combining to score 27 of the Bobcats’ 41 points in the final 20 minutes of the game. The ‘Cats did a better job of getting to the free-throw line in the second frame, connecting on seven of eight attempts to shoot 87.5 percent.
Cincinnati native Fowler had a strong second half as well, playing 17 minutes and scoring four points on 2-6 shooting in the final period. The senior would end the day with two assists and two steals in addition to her scoring efforts.
Ohio will next be in action on Thursday, Jan. 10 against Akron. The Bobcats will host the Zips in their first Mid-American Conference action of the 2012-13 season. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at The Convocation Center.