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Fordham Spoils `Cats' Cancun Finale

Nov. 29, 2008

Final Stats

CANCUN, Mexico - Kamille Buckner scored a career-high 16 points and matched her career-best eight rebounds as Ohio erased a 16-point second-half deficit. In the end, however, it was Fordham that escaped with a 55-51 win late, as the Bobcats wrapped up the Cancun Thanksgiving Shootout Saturday.

After struggling early and coming on strong late in Friday's loss to South Carolina, Saturday's game looked eerily similar for much of the contest. A strong opposing defense mixed with unkind rims found Ohio (1-4) shooting just 29 percent in the first half, despite a solid showing from Buckner. Ohio fought back strong the second half behind a strong defense that kept the Rams (3-3) without a point for over seven minutes of play. The Green and White scored 14 unanswered points as part of a 19-4 run that evened up the score with just over four minutes to play. Ohio took a one-point lead with 3:21 to play, but it was Fordham that landed the final blow to come away with the win.

"We started out slow and sluggish in the first half," Ohio coach Semeka Randall said. "I was really proud of our effort in the second half. We fought very hard to come back. If we can figure out how to put two halves together, we can be a great team. This team is on the verge of doing great things."

Buckner's career night ended with her being named to the all-tournament team. Besides torching the Rams for her 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and grabbing a game-high eight boards, the sophomore also tied her career high of two steals while picking up a blocked shot in her career-high 38 minutes of play.

"Kamille (Buckner) played extremely well. She rebounded strong and was a threat from the floor," Randall added of Buckner's effort.

Buckner got Ohio off on the right foot in the early going, scoring the first eight Bobcat points to give the `Cats an early 8-7 advantage with a little over 13 minutes left in the first half. Ohio found a proverbial lid on the bucket over the next few minutes of play, as The Rams rolled out a 14-4 run to take a 21-12 lead with 6:48 remaining in the first half. The two traded points over the next couple minutes before Fordham pushed their lead up to 11 at 26-15. The Bobcats fought back to cut the deficit to seven after a jumper from Carolyn Barnett with 40 seconds remaining in the first half. The Rams scored the last two buckets of the half, however, to take the 30-19 advantage into the lockerroom. Buckner led all scorers with eight points in the half, while the `Cats held an 18-17 advantage on the glass.

The lid stayed on the hoop over the first few minutes of the second half as Fordham went out to a 37-21 lead with 17:19 left in the game. Buckner continued her inspired play and helped fuel a 13-4 Ohio run, as the Bobcats raced back to cut the deficit to 41-34 with just over 10 minutes left. A pair of Lauren Hmiel free throws put the tally at 41-36 with just over nine minutes left.

Buckner added a pair of free throws of her own to cut it to three with 7:55 as the Ohio defense kept Fordham without a bucket for 7:13 of play. Chandra Myers converted inside to cut put the `Cats down just one at 41-40 with 5:42 left. After struggling from the field for much of the game, Jenny Poff came alive to put the `Cats in front for the first time since early in the first half. Her and-one driving lay in tied the score at 45, before her long 3-pointer put Ohio in front 48-47 with 3:21 left. Four-straight free throws put the Rams back on top 51-48 with two minutes remaining. Poff then knocked down her second shot from behind the arc to even the score at 51 with 1:15 left.

A pair of Randall Hurst free throws put Fordham in front by two with 45 seconds remaining. Myers had a chance to even the tally with just over 30 seconds left, but her banking shot low on the right block rimmed in and out. The Rams' Annie Zopf then knocked down a pair of free throws after being fouled to make it a two-possession game with 24 seconds left. That score would hold up over the final few seconds as Fordham escaped with the 55-51 win.

Ohio shot 35 percent from the field for the game, while picking up 20 points off 19 Ram turnovers and 13 second-chance points. Fordham edged the Bobcats on the boards 34-33.

Buckner led Ohio with her 16 points and eight rebounds, while Poff added nine points. Hmiel chipped in eight points and seven rebounds, and Jennifer Bushby added seven points and five assists. The Rams' Hurst led all scorers with 18 points, while Zopf contributed 11.

The `Cats' challenging non-conference road trip will continue this next week as they head to South Carolina to battle Presbyterian College Thursday at 7 p.m. From there, they will head to Clemson to take on the Clemson Tigers of the basketball-rich ACC next Saturday. Fans can follow the action via an online broadcast at www.ohiobobcats.com.