ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio women's basketball team begins the 2018-19 regular season on Sunday (Nov. 11) when it plays host to UNCW (1-0) in a 1 p.m. matchup at the Convocation Center.
The contest will be streamed live on ESPN3, with Marty Bannister and Jake Hromada on the call. Sunday's game will also be broadcast on WOUB-AM 1340, with Gabe Genovesi and Noah Wolf calling the action.
SEASON SIX UNDER BOLDON BEGINS
The Bobcats open up their sixth season under the direction of head coach Bob Boldon, who was named the 10th head coach in program history on March 28, 2013.
Ohio has gone 100-58 (.633) in the previous five seasons with Boldon at the helm of the program. His .633 winning percentage is the highest of any head coach in the history of Ohio women's basketball, and he needs 24 more wins to surpass Marsha Reall (123; 1990-99) for the most in program history.
Boldon led Ohio to back-to-back Mid-American Conference regular season titles in 2015 and '16. The Bobcats won the MAC tournament crown in 2015 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995. Ohio participated in the WNIT in both 2016 and '17 and advanced to the third round in '16.
MEET THE COACHING STAFF
Tavares Jackson has been an assistant coach on Bob Boldon's Ohio staff for six years. Marwan Miller is in his third season on Boldon's staff as an assistant coach and fifth overall after serving as the program's director of operations for the 2013-14 and '14-15 seasons.
Steph Hass is the team's new assistant coach after spending the last two seasons at Florida Gulf Coast as a video coordinator following a four-year playing career with the Eagles. Tia Jameson is in her fourth season as Ohio's director of operations. Ohio familiar face will be on the Ohio bench as a graduate assistant this season as Kiyanna Black returns to the Bobcats following a stellar playing career in Athens in which she racked up 1,724 career points -- the third-most in the history of the program.
A LOOK BACK AT 2017-18
Ohio is coming off of a 2017-18 season in which it finished 16-15 overall and 9-9 in conference play. The No. 5-seeded Bobcats topped Akron, 85-73, in the MAC Tournament First Round before falling to No. 4-seeded Miami, 69-66, in the quarterfinals. Ohio has advanced to the MAC Tournament Quarterfinals each of the last three seasons.
BOBCATS PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN MAC EAST
Ohio was picked to finish third in the MAC East Division in the league's 2018-19 preseason coaches' poll, which was announced by the league office on Wednesday (Oct. 31). The Bobcats earned three of the MAC East Division's 12 first-place votes and finished with 57 points. Ohio also received one vote to win the 2019 MAC regular season title.
HOOKS EARNS PRESEASON HONORS
Sophomore guard Cece Hooks (Dayton, Ohio) represented Ohio on the 2018-19 Preseason All-MAC East Division Team. Hooks is coming off a rookie season in which she was named MAC Freshman of the Year and earned sports on both the All-MAC Third Team and MAC All-Freshman Team. She averaged a team-high 13.5 points per game and became the second-highest scoring freshman in program history with 406 points. She broke Ohio's single-season record with 100 steals (3.3 per game) and led the Bobcats with 4.8 rebounds per game.
READY FOR AN ENCORE
Forward Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) also earned a spot on the MAC All-Freshman Team in 2017-18. She averaged 10.2 points per game in her rookie campaign to rank third on the team and 4.4 boards per game to rank second.
Also returning for the Bobcats in 2018-19 are redshirt freshman guard Kaylee Bambule (Plainfield, Ill.), redshirt junior guard Katie Barker (Cary, Ill.), senior forward Olivia Bower (Bowerstown, Ohio), junior guard Amani Burke (Columbus, Ohio), senior guard Dominique Doseck (Athens, Ohio), senior forward Kendall Jessing (Athens, Ohio), redshirt freshman forward Erica Johnson (Mansfield, Ohio) and redshirt junior forward Hannah Thome (Chagrin Falls, Ohio).
New faces to Ohio's roster include freshman forward Alexandra Antonova (Moscow, Russia), freshman forward Deesh Beck (Grand Rapids, Mich.), freshman forward Abby Garnett (Golden, Colo.), redshirt sophomore guard Caitlyn Kroll (Bridgeport, Ohio) and sophomore guard Hunter Rogan (Urbana, Ohio).
Ohio is 4-1 in season openers under Bob Boldon -- including 2-0 in openers played at the Convo. The Bobcats began the 2017-18 season with a 64-61 victory over High Point on Nov. 12, 2017, at the Convo.
UNCW comes into Sunday's game with a 1-0 record after defeating Belmont Abbey, 74-58, last Tuesday (Nov. 6) in Wilmington, N.C. Redshirt junior guard GiGi Smith scored a career-high 27 points and sophomore forward Paige Powell posted her first career double-double with 10 points to match her career high and a career-high 13 rebounds.
The Seahawks are led by head coach Karen Barefoot, who is in her second season at UNCW. UNCW went 12-19 in Barefoot's first season in Wilmington. The Seahawks were picked to finish seventh in the Colonial Athletic Association's Predicted Order of Finish. Junior guard Lacey Suggs, who averaged 11.8 points per game last season, was named as an honorable mention selection on the 2018-19 Preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association Women's Basketball Team.
Sunday's matchup marks the second meeting between Ohio and UNCW. In the lone previous contest between the Bobcats and the Seahawks, Ohio prevailed by a score of 75-59 on Dec. 18, 2015, in Wilmington.
Ohio will host Binghamton on Thursday (Nov. 15) in an 11 a.m. contest at the Convo as the Bobcats host their annual School Day.