ATHENS, Ohio - Senior Tenishia Benson finished just shy of a double-double with 19 points and seven rebounds as the Ohio Women’s Basketball team defeated Ball State 76-57 Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center. The win marks the third-consecutive victory over the Cardinals and the first time since the 2008-09 season that Ohio has won 11 games.
Benson was one of four Bobcats to finish the game in double figures as Porsha Harris (Chicago, Ill.), Shavon Robinson (Canton, Ohio) and Mariah Byard (Mannington, W. Va.) each contributed to the scoring affair with 10, 11 and 12 points, respectively.
Ohio (11-14, 4-7 Mid-American Conference) shot a blistering 30-of-50 from the field (60 percent) during the victory. This mark included going 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) from three-point distance. The Bobcats’ 30 made field goals is a new season high while the eight three-pointers ties the season high set against Buffalo on Jan. 4.
Ohio's 60 percent shooting from the field was the best mark achieved in 312 games. The Bobcats shot 75 percent (33-of-44) in a Dec. 18, 2001 win over Tennessee-Martin.
Benson (Akron, Ohio) showed the hot hand early in the first half as she scored Ohio’s first six points of the game. Two inside baskets from Harris tied things up at ten points apiece before Benson hit another jumper to give the ‘Cats a 12-10 lead at the 14:07 mark.
Ball State (8-16, 3-8 MAC) regained the lead at the nine-minute mark but a fast break three-pointer from Byard and another layup from Benson to send her into double figures allowed Ohio to go back up 17-16 with 8:14 remaining in the first half. Ohio forced a Cardinals timeout with 4:08 to play after a steal and transition layup from Benson. Erin Bailes (Huntington, W. Va.) then pushed the pace with a three of her own to give the Bobcats their largest lead of the half at that point, 28-22.
Ohio extended its lead to 12 in the waning minutes of the first half thanks to baskets from Harris and Byard and headed into the locker room leading 36-24. Six Bobcats found themselves on the score sheet in the first half with Benson, Byard and Harris atop the list with 13, six and six points, respectively.
The ‘Cats shot the ball well in the first half, going 4-7 (57.1%) from three-point range and 14-24 (58.3%) overall. Ohio capitalized on points off turnovers with 13 and dominated the bench points with 17 to Ball State’s eight. Ohio’s seven steals also helped contribute to Ball State’s nine turnovers in the first half.
Robinson began the Ohio scoring attack in the second half with a shifty inside drive and Benson connected on a mid-range jumper to widen the Bobcats’ lead to 40-26 in the first four minutes of play. Ashley Fowler (Cincinnati, Ohio) became the seventh Bobcat to find her way on the score sheet with her first basket of the day and Bailes’ second three-pointer put Ohio up 20 with 10:07 remaining.
With less than six minutes remaining, Symone Lyles (Silver Spring, Md.) hit a three-pointer to become the eighth Bobcat to score in the game. Ohio never looked back in the final four minutes, not letting the Cardinals get within fewer than 19 points.
Ohio will next be in action on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Akron. The Bobcats and Zips will tip off at 7 p.m.