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New Look Bobcats Ready for New Challenges

New Look Bobcats Ready for New Challenges

By Pete Nakos
OhioBobcats.com Feature Writer 

ATHENS, Ohio -- As Bob Boldon sat in his office at the Convocation Center, he found it hard not admit how different this season will be. 

Entering his fifth year on the job, he's taken the Bobcats women's basketball program to heights it hasn't seen—a Mid-American Conference Tournament championship, a berth in the NCAA Tournament and two trips to the WNIT. 

But this season, he'll enter the 2017-18 campaign without the centerpieces of those accomplishes—Jasmine Weatherspoon, Yamonie Jenkins, Quiera Lampkins and Hannah Boesinger. Add in Kelly Karlis' transfer to Wisconsin and Ohio is out four of its five starters from last season. 

So, as Boldon puts it, he's got some work to do, but that's why he got into coaching.

"We always try to get better as the season goes on," he said. "Obviously the last senior class did a pretty good job. The nice thing is us as a coaching staff, we get to start over with a new class and the juniors have been waiting to step up."

Still, there's a hope that the additions made this offseason will fill in for the absence of the graduates. The Bobcats welcomed in five new freshmen—two guards and three forwards. 

In the exhibition game against Walsh, Boldon opted to start all five of them and just rotate in two players with experience. Ohio lost that game, but Boldon said he took away some valuable things from the game including a full tape of film of his freshmen playing in front of a crowd. 

"They did a lot of nice things," Boldon said. "They just didn't do enough nice things. And that's why we did this — so that they could get a lot of minutes and not get taken out for their first mistake. They got to make several mistakes."

Amani Burke and Taylor Agler will lead the group of returners, which sees Ohio return four players who played a large amount of minutes last season. 

Agler will be the leader on and off the court for the Bobcats, the sole senior on team, she'll take over the reins of the offense as the facilitator at the point guard position. Last year her and Jenkins shared time at the point, this year it will be all her. 

Her top target will probably be Burke, a sophomore guard who helped Lampkins with most of the point production last year. The two had two different styles of play that complemented each other, both could drive down the lane, but Burke shined from behind the 3-point line. 

Last season she averaged 7.3 points per game, but she's hoping for more this year. Her teammates think she can handle the load, too. 

"Regardless if you throw a double team at her, you're not going to win," junior guard Dominique Doseck said. "She's going to find the open person, and we're still going to score."

Still, the Bobcats have their fair share of work to do. The season kicks off Sunday against High Point and features games against three power five schools, including Michigan who the Bobcats will host on Saturday, Nov. 25. 

Either way, Ohio doesn't have the chance to look ahead this year. With the young bunch it has, it'll have to take the schedule on practice by practice, game by game. 

But it's doable. 

"I know it's not going to be easy every day, but so far it's been fun," Burke said.

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