MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Behind five players with double-digit points, the Ohio Women's Basketball team (20-2, 9-2 MAC) went on the road and took down Central Michigan (16-6, 7-3 MAC), 78-75, inside McGuirk Arena on Saturday afternoon.
"I'm really proud of our kids for hanging in there today," head coach Bob Boldon said. "This was a great environment and they had a tremendous crowd that backed them through the whole fourth quarter. When we allowed that 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter, our kids hung in there and battled through some turnovers and got the win. I'm very proud of them for that."
The Bobcats were up 67-54 at the end of the third quarter but Central Michigan cut the lead to 69-67 with 4:49 left in the fourth quarter. Hooks was able to end the run and put the Bobcats up four with a putback layup. CMU was never able to get the Ohio lead below three points the rest of the way.
"It's such a great experience for these kids," Boldon added. "Gabby (Burris) hit a couple big threes for us early, Cece (Hooks) missed some layups early but down the stretch made some big shots. Even Erica (Johnson) had a stretch where she turned the ball over late in the game, but she bounced back from that. These experiences are invaluable, not only for this year, but for years to come. It's big to have that experience."
Ohio earned a top-25 RPI win today, as CMU is currently ranked No. 23. Ohio has three wins over teams currently ranked in the top-50, with wins over No. 24 Buffalo and No. 44 Purdue. Ohio is ranked No. 35.
The Bobcats were led by sophomore guard Cece Hooks (Dayton, Ohio), who posted 28 points – three off her career-high – on 12-of-23 shooting from the field. Hooks was 4-of-7 from the free throw line. Hooks added eight rebounds, with three offensive boards and also chipped in two assists.
Sophomore guard Erica Johnson (Mansfield, Ohio) started the game 0-of-6 but ended with 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Johnson knocked down two three pointers and pulled in six rebounds with three assists. Sophomore forward Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) was 4-of-8 from the field and 3-of-6 from deep for 13 points. Burris added a team-high eight rebounds and four steals.
Junior guard Amani Burke (Columbus, Ohio) had 11 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. Senior Dominique Doseck (Athens, Ohio) hit two threes and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line for 10 points in 35 minutes of play.
As a team, Ohio shot 40.9 percent (27-of-66) from the field and 33.3 percent (10-of-30) from the three-point line. Ohio was 14-of-19 from the free throw line and assisted on 10 baskets.
The Bobcats were even in rebounding with the Chippewas at 42 each. 34 of Ohio's 78 points came in the paint, and 15 of those were second-chance points. The Bobcats forced 12 turnovers and scored six points off those turnovers.
Ohio started the game with a three and was up 9-2 early. Ohio took a 22-13 lead into the first break on a 36.8 percent (7-of-19) while hitting four three pointers. Hooks led the way with eight points on 3-of-7 shooting and was 2-of-2 from the free throw line with two rebounds.
The Bobcats were able to expand their lead to 11 at halftime after outscoring the Chippewas 23-21 in a high scoring second quarter. The Bobcats were 45.5 percent (10-of-22) in the second period while CMU was 53.5 percent (8-of-15). Hooks was the scoring leader at the break with 14, while Burris had 11 and Johnson had 10.
Ohio outscored CMU once again in the third period, 22-20. The Bobcats had just two three pointers in the third period and was 6-of-14 overall. Ohio got to the free throw line 11 times in the quarter and knocked down eight of them. Hooks added eight points on six shots and hit two free throws in third to help Ohio take a 67-54 advantage into the final break.
Central Michigan started the fourth quarter with a Reyna Frost layup to cut the Ohio lead to 11. That sprung an 11-0 run that that lasted a 4:48. Hooks earned a putback layup to go up 71-67 and Burke then knocked down a clutch three that put Ohio up 74-68. The Chippewas were able to get the score to 76-73 but Ohio would win, 78-75.
The Bobcats are back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 13 when Ohio heads to Toledo. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN+.