Taylor Agler walks off the court during Ohio’s game against North Kentucky on Nov. 21. Ohio won 58-41.
With Ohio four games into its regular season, it has already competed against various styles of play. Whether it be a zone or man-to-man defense, Ohio has seen it — the team has faced a 2-3 zone, a 3-2 zone and a press defense so far.
What Ohio (4-0) hasn’t competed against, however, is a team with big post players. Ohio will get their first attempt at a team with some height Wednesday when it plays at Middle Tennessee State (1-2) at 11 a.m.
Coach Bob Boldon said the Blue Raiders’ post players would give the Bobcats problems, and rightfully so. Ohio’s tallest players – Jasmine Weatherspoon and Kelly Karlis – are 6-foot-2. Middle Tennessee has five players that are at least 6 feet tall, with its tallest player, Rebecca Reuter, standing at 6-foot-3.
The Blue Raiders have height, but Boldon has used Weatherspoon and Karlis in the starting lineup this season. That lineup has served the Bobcats well, with Karlis’ shooting skills providing space for Weatherspoon and the rest of the team to work in the middle of the floor and the perimeter.
Karlis is ranked No. 3 on the team in 3-point field goal percentage with 38.9; Katie Barker ranks first.
The Bobcats’ ability to use two post players in their starting lineup won’t hinder them – it will only serve them against the Blue Raiders.
In addition to the Blue Raiders’ height, they are also the reigning Conference USA champions — they defeated Old Dominion last season 70-54. Middle Tennessee lost 72-55 to then-No. 5 seed Florida State in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Boldon said Middle Tennessee is a tough place to play, with the Blue Raiders going 11-3 at home last season. Though still in the early part of its season, Middle Tennessee is 0-1 at home, losing to Louisville 91-72.
“I’m anxious to watch a little bit of this tape and put this game to bed and then get started looking at some Middle Tennessee stuff,” Boldon said after Ohio’s 79-70 win over Murray State on Saturday.
Though it appears the Bobcats will have a difficult game against the Blue Raiders, they do have some advantages. Ohio defeated Middle Tennessee 72-49 last season in Athens. Then-junior Quiera Lampkins scored 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
During that game Ohio had balanced scoring, with Baldwin, Lampkins and former Bobcat Kiyanna Black each scoring 10 points or more.
This season, Ohio has won each of its games when at least three or more players score in double figures. The Bobcats thrive when the ball is spread around, and it’s a formula that could prove beneficial as the season goes on.