Box Score (PDF)
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio women's basketball team (8-0) has started a season with eight-straight wins for the first time since 1985-86 after topping Coppin State (0-7), 87-62, in its final non-conference home game of the season today at the Convocation Center.
Ohio's win over Coppin State was sparked by a powerful third quarter that saw the Bobcats outscore the Eagles 34-12 to take a 64-38 lead into the final quarter of play. Coppin State outscored Ohio by a 24-23 margin in the final quarter, but the Bobcats' margin was too large for the Eagles. Ohio shot 64 percent (11-of-17) with four three-pointers in the second half while limiting Coppin State to just 37.5 percent (3-of-8) from the floor. The Bobcats forced the Eagles to commit 31 turnovers -- the most by an Ohio opponent this season.
Sophomore forward Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) led the Bobcats in scoring with 19 points with 15 of them coming in the final 20 minutes of the game. She shot 8-of-14 from the field with a pair of three-pointers. Burris also chipped in a team-high seven rebounds and a steal in 25 minutes. Junior guard Amani Burke (Columbus, Ohio) followed closely behind with 18 points by going 6-of-11 from the field -- including 2-of-3 from three-point range -- and added four assists, a block and a steal in 28 minutes. Senior forward Kendall Jessing (Sylvania, Ohio) contributed a career-high 14 points, going 4-of-4 from the field -- including 2-of-2 from three-point range -- and added three rebounds for Ohio in 14 minutes of work off of the bench. Senior guard Dominique Doseck (Athens, Ohio) chipped in 10 points thanks in large part to three treys while sophomore guard Cece Hooks (Dayton, Ohio) added seven points, a game-high six assists and a game-high five steals.
"Kendall was great today," said sixth-year head coach Bob Boldon. "Kendall was our best player today. It was nice to see her stretch out and make some shots. That's what she struggled with last year, was just consistently making shots, and she showed today that she could do that and came in and gave us good energy. She always gives us good energy; that's not new. Her ability to knock down shots kept us in the game."
The contest got off to a slow start of the Bobcats, who shot just 29.4 percent (5-of-17) in the first quarter and found themselves deadlocked in a 13-all tie with the Eagles after 10 minutes of play.
After a two-minute scoring drought, Burke and Doseck paired back-to-back three-point baskets that gave the Bobcats a 19-13 second-quarter lead. Coppin State put together a 9-2 run, however, to take a 22-21 lead with four minutes remaining in the second quarter. Jessing entered the game and added five quick points for Ohio that led to a 28-23 lead for the Bobcats as the clock wound below two minutes. The Eagles were able to convert a three-point attempt that brought the Bobcat lead down to 29-26, but Jessing converted on one of her two free throw attempts with five seconds remaining in the half to allow Ohio to take a 30-26 edge into halftime.
In a strong third-quarter performance, Hooks, Burris, Burke and Doseck combined to spur Ohio on to a 15-2 run to open the second half. Ohio did not take its foot off the gas as Burke, Burris and Hooks added another nine points that extended the Bobcats' lead to 54-34 with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter. Ohio's defense held Coppin State scoreless for over three minutes while Doseck added another three-point basket, Burris chipped in a basket in the paint and Hooks converted a pair of free throws that brought the lead to 63-36 with under a minute to play in the third quarter.
Coppin State opened the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run, but Jessing and redshirt freshman guard Kaylee Bambule (Plainfield, Ill.) strung two three-point baskets together for Ohio, resulting in a 70-45 lead with over seven minutes remaining. Bambule delivered a basket in the paint and another three-pointer while senior forward Olivia Bower (Bowerstown, Ohio) delivered a pair of baskets in the paint and added two free throw conversions to give the Bobcats an 85-59 lead with a minute remaining and effectively seal the win.
"It felt good," said Jessing of her strong performance. "You never know when your opportunity is going to come, and I guess, for me, today was my opportunity, and I stepped up to that, hitting shots finally. It felt really good to help my team out in that way."
Senior guard Brooke Fields finished as the leading scorer for Coppin State, recording a game-high 26 points after going 9-of-16 from the floor. She also added two rebounds and an assist in 35 minutes of play. Sophomore guard Maraiyah Smith added 12 points, three rebounds and three assists in her 30 minutes of play. Senior guard Kaiya Coleman contributed a game-high 12 rebounds and added a team-high four steals for Coppin State. Freshman guard Diamond Adams chipped in a team-high four assists for the Eagles.
The Bobcats will wrap up non-conference play with a three-game road trip beginning in a battle against IUPUI on Sunday, Dec. 16, for a 2 p.m. ET contest.