Taylor Agler walks off the court during Ohio’s game against North Kentucky on Nov. 21. Ohio won 58-41. (FILE)
Photo taken by Joe Cooke
Quiera Lampkins didn’t need to play like a superhero Wednesday nigh for Ohio to defeat Buffalo at The Convo.
Lampkins was solid but Katie Barker was great and the other players on Ohio’s roster were ready to be viable sidekicks.
After going on an 8-0 run at the end of first quarter in which four players scored, Ohio (11-2, 2-0 Mid-American Conference) took control against Buffalo, winning 83-55. Ohio snapped its three-game losing streak against Buffalo (11-2, 1-1 MAC) with its victory and took control of first place in the MAC East.
“I really thought that was one of the most complete games we played in a long time,” coach Bob Boldon said after the game.
Lampkins, the undisputed leader of the team, averages 19.8 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. She has led the team, and Ohio has been reliant on her efforts.
Lampkins finished with 17 points and six rebounds, but Barker was the star Wednesday night. Baker tied her career-high of 18 points, going 6-of-11 from three.
Whenever Buffalo began to creep back into the game, Ohio seemed to hit a three – and Barker hit 42.8 percent of the Bobcats’ 14 3-pointers.
Even with Ohio’s mediocre offense being a concern, a bigger one was whether Ohio would continue to struggle against Buffalo’s tight 2-3 zone. The Bobcats lost three times to the Bulls last season, including a 72-60 loss in the quarterfinals of the 2016 MAC Tournament.
Sporting a stout zone, Buffalo dominated Ohio last season – but perhaps this season is different.
Even with the Bobcats being one of the worst shooting teams in the MAC – they average 37.5 percent from the field – even with their reliance on Lampkins, they displayed their dominance against the Bulls.
This Bulls’ zone wasn’t as stout, as Ohio used its improved zone offense to defeat it. Ohio shot a season-high 54 percent from the field and a season-high 53.8 percent from the 3-point line.
“We’re a better team, and everybody’s a better team when they make shots,” Boldon said.
Yeah, making shots is the objective of the game – but Ohio fulfilled the game’s other objective: keep the opposing team from making shots. Ohio held Buffalo to 41.4 percent from the field, as the Bulls began the game 0-of-11 from the field.
“I think as good as we do defensively, making shots is kind of icing on the cake,” Boldon said.
Ohio played its best basketball of the season so far, and its breakout play on offense – all its players produced – was the cause for that.
But that’s the type of play Ohio will need each game – though she plays as if she’s Wonder Woman, Lampkins can’t work wonders every game.
Ohio will play its next game on the road against Northern Illinois (9-4, 2-0 MAC) on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Huskies are coming off an 89-76 win over Bowling Green.
Northern Illinois is first in the MAC in scoring offense, averaging 91 points per game.
“They’re scoring the ball at an alarming rate, so we’re going to have to be able to get back and guard them,” Boldon said.