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Bobcats and Zips to Battle on Thursday Night

Ohio's Tina Fisher shoots through traffic during the Bobcats' Jan. 4 MAC win over Buffalo

Jan. 18, 2012

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ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio Women’s Basketball plays the second game of a three-game homestand on Thursday, welcoming the Akron Zips to the Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off. The game will be broadcast live on WOUB-AM 1340 and OhioBobcats.com, with Ohio play-by-play broadcaster Grant Burkhardt calling the action.

In their last game, the Bobcats ended up on the wrong side of a 67-47 score line against the rival Miami RedHawks on Sunday. The game was broadcast regionally on SportsTime Ohio and nationwide on ESPN3.com and ESPN Full Court. Ohio limited Miami to 35.8 percent shooting from the field and accumulated a season-high seven blocks, but Miami’s early ability to dominate the offensive glass proved lethal to the Bobcats, allowing the RedHawks a 22-9 advantage in second-chance points.

Ohio’s game against Akron on Jan. 19 is free jersey night, as the first 100 students in attendance will be given an Ohio Basketball replica jersey.

Akron comes to Athens the owner of an 8-10 record that includes a 2-2 mark in Mid-American Conference play. The Zips are currently on a two-game winning streak, having beaten Buffalo (91-82) and Kent State (68-62). Akron picked up its two conference losses in early January against Miami and Bowling Green.

The Zips are led in scoring by Sina King’s 11.6 points per game. Taylor Ruper and Jasmine Mushington are not far behind, averaging 10.4 and 10.2 points per game, respectively. Akron’s Rachel Tecca was the leading scorer through the first ten games, but has not played since a Dec. 14 game at Duquesne due to injury.

Akron plays a very up-tempo game, scoring 75 points per game while allowing 74. The Zips shoot 44 percent from the field, the highest percentage in the MAC as of games played Jan. 15.

Thursday’s game will be the 47th meeting between the Bobcats and Zips. Ohio holds a commanding 33-13 edge in the series that dates back to the 1976-77 season.

Akron has won the last three meetings between the two teams and four of the last five. The Zips earned a 54-45 victory in Akron last season on Jan. 8 and narrowly edged the Bobcats, 59-57, in Athens on Feb. 19.

Ohio holds the longest winning streak in the series, taking 16 games in a row from Feb. 3, 2001 to Jan. 14, 2009.

Senior guard Tenishia Benson ranks near the top of the Mid-American Conference in many statistical categories. As of games played Jan. 15, Benson is among the top ten in: points per game (6th), rebounding (8th), field-goal percentage (6th), free-throw percentage (3rd), offensive rebounds (7th) and defensive rebounds (7th).

Through 18 games this season, sophomore Shavon Robinson has scored in double figures on eight occasions. At this point last year, she had scored ten points or more a total of two times.

Ohio’s difficulty shooting from the field in the first half of Jan. 15’s game against Miami (7-of-25, 28%) changed dramatically in the second half, as the ‘Cats connected on 10-of-22 field goals to shoot 45.5% during the final 20 minutes of play.

Not only did Ohio limit Miami to 35.8 percent shooting from the field on Jan. 15, but the Bobcats also swatted a season-high seven shots. Alesia Howard and Shavon Robinson each had two blocks while Erin Bailes, Symone Lyles and Samantha Buls chipped in with one apiece.

Seven blocks is the highest single-game total achieved by the Bobcats since Jan. 18, 2011, also in a game against Miami.

Following a difficult stretch of seven games during which she averaged 0.6 points per contest, Erin Bailes has found her form once again. The sophomore guard scored 11 points against Miami and has averaged 6.7 points per game in Ohio’s last three MAC contests.

Tenishia Benson has been incredibly consistent for the Bobcats this season. In 14 games played, the senior has scored in double figures on 13 occasions, including the last 11 consecu­tive games. The last time a Bobcat scored in double figures for at least ten straight games was from Dec. 21, 2007 - Feb. 13, 2008. This was four seasons ago.

A total of 109 games had passed between the end of Lauren Kohn’s impressive streak and the beginning of Benson’s.

One of Ohio’s calling cards this season has been the ability to play disciplined basketball. The Bobcats have committed 47 fewer (304-257) personal fouls than opponents and have attempted 99 more free throws (344-245) during the 2011-12 season.