Athens, Ohio— Led by Cierra Hooks' 21 points, nine steals and a career-high eight assists, the Ohio women's basketball team defeated Mid-American Conference East foe Kent State in a thrilling 79-78 victory, Wednesday evening inside the Convocation Center. With her nine steals, Hooks became the single-season steals leader in Ohio history.
Adding to Hooks' (Dayton, Ohio) 21 points was Amani Burke (Columbus, Ohio) with 15 points, Dominique Doseck (Athens, Ohio) and Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) each had 13 points, while Katie Barker (Cay, Ill.) and Olivia Bower (Bowerstown, Ohio) each had five.
HOW IT WAS DECIDED
Burris would get the first two baskets for Ohio, but Kent State was able to get off to an early 7-4 lead. Two free-throws from Taylor Agler would make the score 7-6 with 7:49 remaining in the first quarter. Shortly after, the Bobcats would go on a 12-0 run starting with Doseck, who would drain a three-pointer with just over seven minutes to put Ohio in the lead 9-7. After a steal by Agler, Doseck would hit another three-pointer to increase the Bobcats lead 12-7.
The Flashes would halt Ohio's run at 12, but a set of free-throws from Hooks kept Ohio in the lead 18-9 with 2:24 remaining in the first. After that, Bower would score a three-pointer to make the score 21-11. Kent State would score a three-pointer at the buzzer to make the score 23-17 entering the second quarter.
Barker would open up the second quarter scoring for the Bobcats to make the score 25-17 with 9:21 to go in the second. With 7:58 to go, Hooks would dish the ball to Bower for an easy layup to make the score 27-19.
Kent State would pull within one, but a three from Barker would start an 8-0 scoring run and kept the Bobcats in a 35-31 lead. Burke would drain another Ohio three, putting Ohio up 38-31 with 3:14 left in the half.
At the end of the first half, the Bobcats would have the 41-36 advantage led by 12 points, five steals, and four assists from Burke.
Hooks would score the first Bobcat points of the second half with a layup keeping Ohio up 43-36 with 9:49 remaining in the third quarter. Two-free throws from Kent State would pull them within five points as the score was 45-40 with 6:44 left.
Two more free-throws from Kent State would tie the game 47-47 with 4:31 left in the third quarter. Later, Doseck would net another three to break the second tie of the game and make the score 52-49 with 2:31 to go in the third.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Ohio would keep the narrow 57-55 lead. Hooks started off the final period strong, getting a layup to put Ohio in the lead 59-55 with 9:41 to go. A minute later, Burris drained a three with 8:58 remaining and increased the Bobcat's lead to 62-57. Two straight layups from Hooks put Ohio in the lead 68-59 with 7:06 to go.
The score would be tied again 70-70 after two good free throws made by the Flashes, with 4:42 left to play in the contest. In their next possession Kent State would take a 73-70 lead. Ohio pulled back into the lead after a layup from Hooks at 3:33, although the Flashes still held a 73-72 lead.
Burke would get a three-pointer to tie the score again 75-75 with just over two minutes to play. Hooks followed that up with a layup with 2:10 remaining in the fourth quarter to give Ohio back the 77-75 lead.
A pair of free-throws coming from Agler put Ohio ahead 79-78 with just under a minute to go. Kent State would get two shots up before the final buzzer but wouldn't score, and the Bobcats came up with the 79-78 victory.
Hooks scored 21 points, going 10-of-19 from the field, while recording nine steals, a career-high eight assists, along with two rebounds and one block.
Hooks nine steals aided the freshman is setting the single season steals record at Ohio. As of now, Hooks has 95 steals.
Burke added 15 points, going 5-of-10 from the field, 3-of-5 from three-point range, and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. She also had four rebounds, two steals, and one assist.
Doseck and Burris each scored 13 points. Doseck also added four rebounds, three steals, and one assist. Burris went 5-of-9 from the field, and 2-of-4 from the free throw line.
Barker and Bower each added five points.
Agler dished out six assists, grabbed five rebounds, and scored four points in the victory.
As a team, the Bobcats were 30-for-59 (.508) from the field, 9-of-22 (.409) from three-point range, and 10-of-17 (.588) from the free throw line.
The Bobcats were outrebounded 42-26 in the victory. They dished out 18 assists, had five blocks and 16 steals.
Ohio forced Kent State to turn the ball over 21 times and scored 14 points off the turnovers. They also scored 40 points in the paint, 23 bench points, and 10 fast break points.
Jordan Korinek led Kent State with a game-high 26 points, going 9-of-9 from the field, 1-of-1 form three-point range, and 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Alexa Golden followed with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
As a team, Kent State was 26-of-57 (.456) from the field, 5-of-17 (.294) from three-point range, and 21-of-28 (.750) from the free throw line.
KSU scored 18 points off turnovers and 16 second-chance points.
The Bobcats picked up their 32nd all-time victory over the Flashes and their second win against them this season, winning the last game 78-65 Feb. 10.
The victory was Bob Boldon's 197th career win and his 99th win at Ohio.
Ohio now has 15 wins in the season from 12th time in program history, and the 14th time in program history that the Bobcats have won at least nine games in MAC play.
It is the 562nd victory in program history and 295th MAC win.
"I thought we did a better job of keeping the ball out of her hands. There's no secret that we can't guard her. I think there were too many times in the first half that we were willing to test that theory. It proved that we couldn't guard her when she got it. I thought that in the second half we were more committed to her not getting the ball." - Head coach Bob Boldon
"It's awesome. Nine steals and eight assists is ridiculous. Going into the fourth quarter she's playing pretty good, but not very aggressive offensively. Miss some lay-ups early. When you look at the halftime stats you think she hit a wall and isn't going to have a very good game. Then she ends up with 21. That's stuff you usually see out of kids who have been in college for two to three years." - Head coach Bob Boldon
"I think games like this are going to prepare us. Games in the tournament are going to be just like this." - Amani Burke
"My teammates kept picking my head up when I was down because I was missing free-throws. I'm one of the best defender on our team, so I just focused on defense." - Cierra Hooks
Up next, the Bobcats hit the road as they head to Buffalo, N.Y. Saturday, Feb. 24 for a match-up with the MAC East Division Champion, Buffalo. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. inside Alumni Arena and can be seen on ESPN3.