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Bobcats Corral Bulls for 80-77 Win

Feb. 21, 2009

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ATHENS, Ohio - Senior forward Lauren Hmiel (York, Pa.) scored a team-high 20 points, notching double digits for the 16th time in her last 18 games, to help lead Ohio past a late-charging Buffalo team (5-20, 1-11), 80-77, in The Convo Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats (10-15, 5-7 Mid-American Conference), clad in all pink as part of the Pink Zone initiative, shot over 55 percent from the field, a season high in MAC contests, and notched their third-highest point total of the year.

"Its good to get back-to-back wins," Ohio coach Semeka Randall said. "We did some good things today. We came out and played well in transition and on the break. We pressured the ball well early on and were able to get easy shots."

For the third game in a row, Ohio had four players score in double figures. Sophomore forward Kamille Buckner (Chicago, Ill.) tallied 17 points, nine boards and two assists. The MAC leader in blocks per game also rejected four shots, giving her 53 for the year, the most in Ohio history. Junior guard Jennifer Bushby (Gahanna, Ohio) added 16 points, six rebounds, three steals and seven dimes. She leads the conference in assists per game and now stands seventh on both the single-season and career assists lists in school history. Freshman guard Da'Keisha Mann (Columbus, Ohio) had a career day, tying her career high with 10 points and bringing down nine rebounds in 34 minutes of action, also career bests.

As a team, Ohio made 32 of 58 field goals, tying a season high for makes, shooting a solid 55.2 percent clip from the field. From distance, the `Cats were 6-of-11 for a 54.5 percent mark, including 3-of-5 from Bushby. The MAC leader in rebounding defense and rebounding margin, Ohio secured 40 boards to Buffalo's 37 and has still only been out-boarded in seven games all year.

At the break, Ohio owned a 43-35 advantage, fueled by the best shooting percentage in a half all season for the Bobcats, a whopping 66.7 percent on 18-of-27 field goals, including 3-for-3 from behind the arc. The `Cats took advantage of a tough pressure defense and good transition play to take a contest that was tied at 30 and break open the lead. Hmiel scored 14 of her 20 points in the opening frame.

Coming out of the locker room, the Bobcats continued the hot hand with a 14-1 flurry, part of a 27-6 overall run that began with just over four minutes remaining in the first half. They led 57-36 with 15:03 left.

The Bulls would not go quietly, however, as Buffalo went on an 11-2 run with under 10 minutes remaining to cut a 21-point Ohio lead to single-digits, but the Bobcats managed to hold off their efforts and record the season-sweep, winning both games by three points and taking the all-time series lead, 10-9.

"The end of the game we got lackadaisical and let them back into the game," Randall said. "That is something you can't do this time of year."

Redshirt junior Rachelle Matthys scored a game-high 25 points, including 7-of-16 from behind the arc to lead the Bulls, while sophomore Kourtney Brown chipped in 15.

Ohio continues its four-game homestand on Wednesday, Feb. 25 against Kent State at 7 p.m. ET in The Convo. The Golden Flashes edged past the `Cats in overtime earlier this year.