Ohio’s Quiera Lampkins goes in for a layup during a game against Northern Illinois University on Feb. 6, 2016, in The Convo. Lampkins will be graduating this year and will leave behind a big hole in the Bobcats’ roster.(FILE)
Ohio hasn’t started its regular season yet, but despite an uncertain starting lineup and rotation, one thing is certain: the team will be as good as it has been in recent years.
The Bobcats lost sharpshooter Kiyanna Black to graduation this season, and there was a legitimate question as to whether the Bobcats could maintain their level of offensive output.
With an 87-50 win over Thomas More on Saturday, however, Ohio has reason to be optimistic.
“I think we got some good things, we showed quite a few deficiencies,” coach Bob Boldon said after Saturday’s exhibition. “I told my coaches at least we got something to practice this week.”
The purpose of the exhibition game was to experiment with different lineups. Boldon wanted to see how different players played together. The team’s first regular season game will be at High Point on Nov. 13.
One combination Boldon experimented with was pairing Jasmine Weatherspoon and Hannah Boesinger in the starting lineup.
The team’s top rebounders, Weatherspoon and Boesinger played well together. Weatherspoon had a double-double, posting 21 points and 12 rebounds. Boesinger had 10 points.
Weatherspoon has added a serviceable jump shot to her game, as she shot 60 percent from beyond the arc against Thomas More. Last season, Weatherspoon wasn’t a premier option on offense, averaging 6.3 points per game.
This season, however, Weatherspoon has the potential to be the team’s next best player after Quiera Lampkins.
“Jasmine’s been playing well all preseason, and it was nice to see her translate it over on the court,” Boldon said.
Along with Weatherspoon’s showing, guards Yamonie Jenkins and Taylor Agler showed the ability to penetrate the defense. If the layup wasn’t there, Jenkins or Agler would pass the ball to an open teammate for a jump shot.
The Bobcats love to shoot the three — they ranked No. 4 in the nation last season for three-point field goals attempted — and they don’t plan on taking less threes this season.
“I think this year we will take way more threes just because I think we don’t have as many slashers,” Lampkins said Thursday.
The Bobcats are no stranger to the 3-point shot — they shot 1,016 last season — which led the Mid-American Conference in three-point field goals attempted.
Lampkins is right, though. With the Bobcats only having Weatherspoon as a viable inside threat, more players will need to play well around the perimeter.
And the solid perimeter play continued to show, too, on Saturday. The Bobcats shot 32.3 percent from the three-point line.
In October, Boldon mentioned Ohio’s depth could be an asset this season. With a supporting cast of players like Agler, Jenkins and Boesinger, the Bobcats don’t have a true supporting cast yet.
Essentially, most of their players can provide valuable minutes this season — and that makes for what could be a tight rotation.
“We’ve had more depth than we’ve ever had,” Boldon said on Oct. 13. “We have a lot of players that are really good. And the difference between playing and not playing could be pretty minuscule on this team.”