ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Women's Basketball delivered a hard-fought performance against rival Miami in the 73rd edition of The Battle of the Bricks Sunday afternoon, but the RedHawks prevailed over the Bobcats by a final score of 67-47.
Tenishia Benson had another strong day for the Green and White, scoring 14 points. Sunday's game marked the 11th consecutive contest in which she'd scored 10 points or more. Sophomore Erin Bailes (Huntington, W.Va.) followed closely behind with 11 points during a game in which she played 33 minutes, a career high.
The Bobcats played strong defense, nearly doubling their season-high blocks total by swatting away seven Miami shots. Alesia Howard and Shavon Robinson (Canton, Ohio) each contributed two while freshman Samantha Buls (New Market, Md.) got in on the act, making the second block of her career.
Howard (Columbus, Ohio) scored Ohio's first two baskets of the game to get things going for the Bobcats, but Miami jumped out to a 10-4 lead with aggressive play in transition. The RedHawks (14-3, 4-0 Mid-American Conference) kept the `Cats in check in the first ten minutes of the first half, extending their lead to 19-9 and converting 10 second-chance points.
Bailes put an end to an early scoring drought for Ohio (8-10, 1-3 MAC) with her second three-pointer of the game, but the RedHawks battled back with a pair of baskets inside the paint to go up 33-13 at the 5:33 mark. The sophomore led the first-half scoring efforts for the `Cats with nine points on 3-for-5 shooting, followed by Benson and Howard with six and four, respectively.
Miami led 36-22 at the half as the RedHawks bested the Bobcats in the points in the paint category (22-8) as well as points off of turnovers (17-10). Ohio shot 7-for-25 (28%) in the first half while the RedHawks went 15-for-38 (39.5%).
A pair of Robinson free throws and two inside baskets from Howard to begin the second half cut the RedHawks' lead to 12. Benson would push the Bobcat momentum even further with a layup of her own, but Miami responded well by converting on multiple three pointers and free throw attempts to maintain the lead.
Benson and junior Tina Fisher (Cottage Grove, Minn.) attempted to get the `Cats back on track as they combined for a quick 4-0 run around the 10-minute mark of the second half. However, sharp outside shooting from the RedHawk backcourt stifled Ohio's surge. Back-and-forth action from both squads continued into the waning minutes of the game with both teams trading baskets and contributing strong defensive play.
The Bobcats will next be in action on Thursday, Jan. 19 when they host the Akron Zips at the Convocation Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.