ATHENS, Ohio - Thanks in large part to 20-point games from Tenishia Benson and Shavon Robinson, Ohio Women's Basketball scored a big upset over the visiting Bowling Green Falcons (22-5, 12-2) on Wednesday night in the Convocation Center, winning by a final score of 60-56. The win snaps an eight-game losing streak to Bowling Green and marks the first time that the Bobcats have beaten the Falcons at home in a decade.
Ohio (13-15, 6-8) was led by tremendous games from Benson and Robinson, who together scored 41 of the team's 60 points on 15-of-25 (60 percent) shooting from the field. The team also shot well as a whole, connecting on 23 of 53 field-goal attempts to shoot 43.4 percent.
Bowling Green's Alexis Rogers was a force in the paint throughout the contest, scoring a game-high 24 points and collecting a game-high 16 rebounds to register a double-double. She was joined in double figures by teammate Jasmine Matthews, who scored 11 points.
Ohio started off hot on both ends of the floor, forcing three Falcon turnovers as Symone Lyles (Silver Spring, Md.) Ashley Fowler (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Benson hit early shots to give the Bobcats a 7-2 lead in the first five minutes of play. Bowling Green would respond with a pair of baskets of their own, but a tough drive from Fowler and a three-point play from Shavon Robinson (Canton, Ohio) helped extend Ohio's lead to 12-7 at the 13:18 mark.
Bowling Green tied things up at 18 points apiece around the nine-minute mark after a three-pointer from Rogers, which sparked a 15-0 run that gave the Falcons a 30-18 lead with 4:14 remaining in the first half. Robinson got the `Cats back on track as she connected on two jumpers with less than two minutes to play. The sophomore connected on another layup and Benson added a three-point play of her own to cut Bowling Green's lead to only five as Ohio headed into the locker room trailing 32-27.
Robinson led the first-half scoring efforts for the Bobcats with nine points on 4-for-6 shooting, while Benson and Fowler followed closely behind with seven and five points, respectively. Ohio shot 44.4 percent (12-27) in the first half with 20 of its 27 points coming in the paint. The `Cats also maintained stingy defense in the first half, grabbing five steals and forcing the Falcons to commit 11 turnovers. Ohio led Bowling Green in points off turnovers as well, 11-10.
Robinson carried her spark from the first half into the opening minutes of the second by getting to the line on back-to-back layup attempts to send her into double figures. Benson followed suit with a rebound-layup combination only minutes later, cutting the Falcons' lead to 32-36 with 16:42 to play. Freshman Mariah Byard (Mannington, W. Va.) buried her first three-pointer of the game and Robinson added another basket to narrow the Falcons' margin to 42-39 with 12:05 to play.
The Bobcats forced Bowling Green into back-to-back turnovers around the midway point of the second half while Robinson converted on a fast break layup to bring Ohio within one (42-41). The Bobcat defense carried the surge of momentum into the ensuing Falcon possession, forcing another shot-clock violation before Benson scored to put the `Cats ahead 43-42 with 8:22 remaining in the game. This was Ohio's first lead since the 9:19 mark of the first half when the Bobcats led 18-15.
Bowling Green regained the lead after a layup from Chrissy Steffen, but sophomore Erin Bailes (Huntington, W. Va.) responded with a long three to put Ohio ahead 48-47 with 5:15 to play.
Back-to-back layups by Benson put Ohio ahead 54-51 with only 85 seconds to play, but BG's Matthews drained a three-pointer to level the scores only seconds later.
With the game tied at 56-all and Ohio possessing the basketball, the senior leader took over. Benson drove to the basket through contact, laid the ball in and got fouled with eight seconds remaining. She wasn't able to make the ensuing free throw but showed tremendous hustle to collect the offensive rebound for her team. Robinson was then fouled and sank two free throws with seven seconds remaining to put the game on ice.
The Bobcats return to action this Saturday, Feb. 25 as they hit the road to take on Buffalo for their second-to-last regular season contest. Tip off is scheduled for 12 p.m.