ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio women's basketball team (12-1, 1-1 MAC) suffered its first loss of the 2018-19 season, falling to Central Michigan (11-3, 2-0 MAC), 88-70, this evening at the Convocation Center.
The Chippewas limited the Bobcats to just 37.9 percent (25-of-66) from the field – including just 26.7 percent (8-of-30) from beyond the arc. Central Michigan shot 51.6 percent (32-of-62) from the floor and sank 11 of its 25 three-point attempts. The Chippewas turned the ball over 21 times but outrebounded the Bobcats, 51-22.
Ohio was led by redshirt freshman Erica Johnson (Columbus, Ohio) with 19 points on 7-of-18 shooting. Johnson was 3-of-8 from deep and and 2-of-2 from the free throw line in 25 minutes of play. Sophomore guard Cece Hooks (Dayton, Ohio) added 15 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Hooks also produced five assists and one rebound. Sophomore forward Gabby Burris (Baltimore, Ohio) had 13 points with five rebounds and two assists, while junior guard Amani Burke (Columbus, Ohio) also hit double-digits with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
Central Michigan held a six-point lead after a quarter of play. The Chippewas raced out to an 11-3 lead behind three layups by freshman center Jahari Smith and a three-pointer by senior guard Presley Hudson. The Bobcats countered with an 11-5 run to cut the Central Michigan lead down to two at 16-14 with 1:37 left in the quarter. Hooks and Burke accounted for four points apiece during the stretch. Central Michigan held Ohio scoreless over the final 1:17 of the quarter, though, and sophomore forward Kyra Bussell sent the Chippewas into the second quarter up 20-14 after sinking a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left.
The Chippewas took a 45-27 lead into the break after outscoring the Bobcats 25-13 in the second quarter – Ohio's largest halftime deficit of the season. Central Michigan limited Ohio to just 10-of-34 shooting from the field, and the Bobcats shot just 20 percent (3-of-15) from three point range. The Chippewas turned the ball over 11 times in the opening 20 minutes but shot 51.6 percent (16-of-31) from floor – including 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. Central Michigan dominated on the glass in the first half, outrebounding Ohio by a 29-11 count. Senior forward Reyna Frost achieved a double-double in the opening 20 minutes for the Chippewas, totaling 11 points and 13 boards.
Ohio narrowly outscored Central Michigan in the third quarter, 19-18, sending the Bobcats into the final 10 minutes of play trailing by 17. Burke, Burris and Johnson each tallied four points in the quarter.
Central Michigan took a 19-point lead with 6:40 to go when Frost knocked down a trey to make it 73-54 in favor of the Chippewas. The Bobcats managed to cut the Central Michigan to lead to 13 twice – first on a layup by Hooks with just under six minutes to play and then again on a three-pointer by Doseck with just over four minutes left. That's as close as Ohio got, though, as the Chippewas closed the contest out by outscoring the Bobcats 12-7 over the final 3:30, with an and-one layup by Hudson that came off a turnover on an inbound by the Bobcats proving to be the dagger. Ohio was outscored 25-24 in the fourth quarter. The Bocbats shot 7-of-14 from the field while making four three pointers.
Ohio will continue MAC play on Saturday when they travel to Ball State on Saturday. Tip off is set for 2:30 p.m.