BUFFALO, N.Y. - Ohio Women's Basketball dropped a hard-fought contest at Buffalo on Saturday, losing to the Bulls by a final score of 61-56. The Bobcats put together a strong performance but were bested by a tremendous second half from Buffalo's Brittany Hedderson, who scored 18 points, 16 of which came in the second frame.
Tenishia Benson (Akron, Ohio) led the way for the Bobcats, scoring 16 points on 4-of-9 shooting. She was joined in double figures by Erin Bailes, who added 10 of her own. Tina Fisher kept up her run of solid games for the Green and White, scoring nine points and collecting five rebounds.
Ohio (13-16, 6-9) out-rebounded Buffalo by a 39-36 mark and shot 32.1 percent (18-of-56) from the field. The Bulls (9-20, 4-11) shot a slightly better mark throughout the contest, connecting on 22-of-53 attempts to shoot 41.5 percent. Ohio was able to limit the Bulls to only 1-of-12 (8.3 percent) shooting from beyond the arc.
Teresa Semalulu got the Bulls off to a fast start, sinking her first two field goals to give her side an early 4-0 lead. Fisher was able to stop this early run with three baskets of her own down low, giving the Bobcats an early 6-4 advantage. The junior had a great start from the field, connecting on three of her early field-goal attempts.
Ohio was able to extend this lead before the under-eight media timeout. Bailes (Huntington, W.Va.) made a nice dribble drive step-back jumper to push the `Cats' total to 10 before freshman Mariah Byard (Mannington, W.Va.) drained a three-pointer to see the Green and White out to a 13-8 lead. Buffalo was then able to rip off a 7-2 run over the next few minutes to tie the game up at 15 apiece.
The `Cats scored seven of the next 11 points to take a 22-19 lead into the locker room at halftime. Fisher (Cottage Grove, Minn.) still held a team-high six points and had also collected two rebounds. The Bobcats shot 10-of-29 (34.5 percent) in the first half and limited the Bulls to a similar 9-of-25 (36 percent) margin. The teams were tied in rebounds (18) at the end of the first frame and Ohio held a 5-2 edge in fast-break points.
Buffalo outscored Ohio 6-4 in the opening minutes of the second half, relying on field goals from Nicki Hopkins, Brittany Hedderson and Beth Christensen. Fisher and Robinson each added a bucket of their own for the Bobcats to keep Ohio ahead by two (27-25).
As Ohio held a 34-31 edge with 11:11 remaining, Hedderson scored back-to-back three-point plays to fire up the Bulls. She drove through contact from Ashley Fowler (Cincinnati, Ohio) on two occasions and was able to make the basket and ensuing free throw both times. Buffalo was able keep up this intensity over the next few minutes, pulling out to a 43-39 lead at the 7:30 mark.
Thanks to great free-throw shooting, Ohio was able to keep things close throughout the remainder of the contest and pull within two (55-53) with only 45 seconds to play. Ephesia Holmes was able to sink two free throws down the stretch to give her team a four-point lead but Byard sank a clutch three with 13.6 seconds left to pull the `Cats within one. Two free throws apiece from Christa Baccas and Christensen then put the game out of reach in the waning seconds.
The Bobcats will next be in action on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at Miami. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.