Dec. 20, 2011
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Ohio Women’s Basketball concluded its play at the 2011 Duel in the Desert tournament on Tuesday, fighting hard but falling late to the Syracuse Orange, 81-70. The Bobcats concluded their play at the tournament with a 1-2 record, falling to Oklahoma and Syracuse and beating Xavier.
Tenishia Benson led the way for the Bobcats with a double-double, scoring 17 points and collecting 11 rebounds. Tuesday’s game marked the sixth consecutive contest in which she had scored 10 points or more. She was joined in double figures by Alesia Howard (14 points) and Mariah Byard (12). Byard's 12 points were a career high in the Green and White. Iasia Hemingway led all scorers with 24 points for Syracuse.
Ohio (6-7) shot 41.9 percent from the floor, connecting on 26-of-62 attempts. The Bobcats held the edge in bench points (20-17) and fast-break points (13-8) but were undone by Syracuse’s accurate 31-of-61 (50.8 percent) shooting and 16 made free throws.
Facing an early 16-8 deficit, the Bobcats went on a 9-2 run midway through the first half to pull within one at 18-17. Robinson was integral in this period, scoring six early points.
Much like Monday’s game against Xavier, both clubs traded baskets in a strong offensive display. Five Bobcats scored five or more points in the first 20 minutes, with Byard (Mannington, W. Va.) leading the way with nine on 2-of-4 shooting from distance. Howard (Columbus, Ohio) and Benson (Akron, Ohio) each had seven of their own while Robinson and Porsha Harris (Chicago, Ill.) each had six. Despite looking up at a 42-41 halftime deficit, Ohio was out-rebounding one of the best rebounding teams in the country, holding a 21-20 margin.
Hemingway and Shakeya Leary led the way for the Orange in the first half, each contributing ten points. Syracuse shot nearly 49 percent (18-of-37) from the floor while the Bobcats were operating at a solid 42.4 percent clip at 14-of-33.
Syracuse opened the second half in a strong fashion, going on a 9-2 run to take a 51-44 lead at the 15:57 mark. Strong post play from Carmen Tyson-Thomas and solid mid-range shooting from Elashier Hall were a big part of this run. Ohio refused to succumb to the pressure, however, and kept answering back and was looking at only a two-point deficit (64-62) with 7:13 to play.
From this point onward, the Orange ripped off another 9-2 run to open up some space between the teams, taking a 73-64 lead with 3:39 remaining in the game. Two more baskets and four free throws told the rest of the story, with Syracuse coming away with the 81-70 victory.
The Bobcats will next be in action on Dec. 29 when they play their last game of the 2011 calendar year against George Mason. Game time is set for 7 p.m. from the Convocation Center.