ATHENS, Ohio – Behind a strong fourth quarter performance, the Ohio Women's Basketball team (28-5, 14-4 MAC) earned a Women's National Invitation Tournament first round win after defeating High Point (22-7, 15-3 Big South), 81-74, on Thursday evening inside the Convocation Center. With this victory, Ohio set a new school record for wins in a season with 28.
The Bobcats will continue the WNIT at home on Sunday, March 24th at 2 p.m. against Middle Tennessee State for the second round.
The Bobcats biggest lead was 13 points in the fourth quarter after trailing by three after the third quarter closed. Ohio and High Point had eight lead changes and were tied four times in the first-round battle.
"I think we just dug in a little bit," head coach Bob Boldon said about the fourth quarter. "Ive said this before, when you are scoring points defense doesn't seem that important sometimes. You get kind of comfortable and go with the flow of the game. In the third quarter we stopped scoring a little bit and it kind of got our attention."
Sophomore guard Cece Hooks (Dayton, Ohio), was just shy of a double-double with a game-high 21 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Hooks was 8-of-19 from the field and 1-of-2 from deep. Hooks added three assists and three steals.
Junior guard Amani Burke (Columbus, Ohio) was 6-of-11 from the field with three three pointers and three made free throws for 18 points. Burke added three rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Redshirt-freshman forward Erica Johnson (Mansfield, Ohio), registered 14 points and seven rebounds. Johnson was 5-of-12 from the field and knocked down three free throws. Johnson compiled a game-high four assists and one steal.
Sophomore forward Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) and senior guard Dominique Doseck (Athens, Ohio) both had 11 points in the contest. Burris added six rebounds and two assists while Doseck added two rebounds, two steals and an assist.
As a team, Ohio shot 44.6 percent (29-of-65) from the field and was 40.0 percent (8-of-20) from the three-point line. Ohio was 15-of-22 from the foul line. High Point was 46.0 percent shooting (29-of-63) and 7-of-19 (36.8 percent) from deep. Ohio outrebounded HP 44-43. The Bobcats had 42 points in the paint to HP's 34, while Ohio outscored the Panthers in the paint, 42-34.
Ohio fell to an early 16-9 deficit before compiling a 14-6 run late in the first quarter to gain a 23-22 advantage. The Bobcats struggled from the field early but finished shooting 9-of-14 while the Panthers shot 9-of-15. Hooks had eight points on five shots while Doseck had five on four shots.
The Bobcats were unable to extend their lead as High Point compiled an 11-5 run to open the second quarter to take a 33-28 lead. After a timeout at the five-minute mark, Ohio battled back to regain a 42-41 lead into the halftime break on a 10-3 run. Ohio was 41.2 percent (7-of-17) from the field in the quarter, while High Point was 58.3 percent (7-of-12). Doseck and Johnson combined for 10 of Ohio's 19 points in the quarter.
An 8-2 run opened the third quarter for Ohio on a lay-up basket and three-point basket by Burke followed by a three-point basket by Hooks. Ohio would fall into a scoring drought going 5-of-18 for the quarter and gave High Point a 61-58 lead headed into the final quarter of play. Hooks scored 8 of Ohio's 16 points while Burke added five and compiled two steals.
The Bobcats more than doubled High Point in the fourth quarter, 23-9. Ohio compiled a 14-2 run and went 8-of-16 in the final quarter while holding High Point to 3-of-19. Burke was Ohio's leading scorer with eight points going perfect, 3-of-3, from the field. Johnson and Burris both added five points apiece.