ATHENS, Ohio – Sophomore guard Cece Hooks (Dayton, Ohio) made the game-winning layup with 0.3 seconds left as Ohio Women's Basketball (29-5, 14-4 MAC) defeated Middle Tennessee State (21-11, 13-6 C-USA), 59-57, in the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament on Sunday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
Ohio will host Western Kentucky in the WNIT round of 16 on Thursday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside the Convocation Center.
"We were going to go to her (Cece Hooks)," head coach Bob Boldon said. "There was nothing tricky about it. It was just a way to figure out how to get her the ball in a place that it was difficult to help from. I thought we did that. When Cece starts to get going – she got going after struggling a little bit for most of the game – we're going to ride her as long as we can. Cece was the most efficient of the crew in the fourth quarter."
Hooks became the 17th member of the Ohio University 1,000 point club during the game and now has 1,006 points in her career. Hooks also recorded her 102nd steal of the season, breaking her own record of 100 steals in a single campaign that she set last season.
Hooks led the way for the Bobcats with 18 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Hooks went to the line 15 times and knocked down eight, drawing an impressive 10 fouls during the game. The Dayton, Ohio native had four steals, three rebounds and three assists.
Junior guard Amani Burke had a team-high eight rebounds and eight points after going 3-of-12 from the field and 2-of-7 behind the arc.
The game was a defensive battle, with Ohio shooting 36.5 percent (19-of-52) from the field and 26.3 percent (5-of-19) from behind the arc. The Bobcats went to the line 26 times and was 61.5 percent (16-of-26). Ohio held MTSU to 42.6 percent (23-of-54) shooting and 30.4 percent (7-of-23) from three, but the difference in the game came at the line. MTSU shot just nine free throws and made four.
The Bobcats won the opening tip and grabbed the first points of the game on a layup from Johnson. After MTSU tied it up, a layup and a free throw from Hooks gave the Bobcats a three-point lead. Both teams traded baskets over the next few minutes before Middle Tennessee tied the game up at 11-11 with 5:39 to go. Two free throws from Johnson and a three from Olivia Bower put the Bobcats up five with just over two minutes to go before MTSU went on a 5-0 run to close the quarter with the game tied at 16-16.
In the second quarter, MTSU opened up on a 7-2 run, taking a 25-18 lead with 7:23 left in the quarter. Back-to-back threes from Burke cut the MTSU lead to one with 6:36 left in the second quarter. Ohio and Middle Tennessee traded baskets, with MTSU taking an eight-point lead before a layup from Johnson would bring the score to 34-28 entering halftime.
At the half, Ohio shot 37 percent from the field, 31 percent from three-point range and 67 percent from the free throw line, while Middle Tennessee shot 50 percent from the field, 42 percent three-point range and 33 percent from the free throw line. Ohio was out rebounded 21-13, while MTSU dished out nine assists, had two steals and three blocks compared to Ohio's four assists, two steals and three blocks.
Ohio opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run that was capped by a three from Burris to give Ohio a one-point lead. The Bobcats and MTSU traded baskets over the eight minutes, before a driving layup from Hooks would give Ohio a two-point lead with 2:13 left in the quarters. Middle Tennessee would tie the game up at 41-41 with 1:39 left, before a free throw from Hooks gave Ohio a one point lead. Johnson hit two free throws to close out the quarter, giving Ohio a 44-41 lead going into the final quarter of play.
MTSU opened the fourth quarter with a basket before Johnson recorded a layup of her own, giving Ohio a three-point lead with 7:50 left. However, Ohio and Middle Tennessee traded free throws over the next few minutes, tying the game at 47-47 going into the media timeout. A layup from Hooks out of the timeout put the Bobcats up two, before two free throws, that gave her 1,000 career points, put the Bobcats up, 51-47 with 2:34 left in the game. After MTSU hit a jumper, a layup from Hooks and another free throw gave the Bobcats a five-point lead with 44 seconds to go. Bower bumped up the score to 55-49 with a free throw, but MTSU cut the lead with a three. Doseck made two free throws with 29 seconds left to go up 57-52. Another Raiders three cut the Bobcat advantage to 57-55, and MTSU tied the game with five seconds left. Hooks made her layup with 0.3 seconds left to win the game.