Ohio’s Hannah Boesinger tries to maneuver around Toledo’s Janice Monakana during a game at The Convo on Feb. 4, 2017. Ohio beat Toledo 61-55.
Photo taken by Hannah Ruhoff
As coach Bob Boldon walked out of the press conference Saturday, he called Hannah Boesinger a media darling. Boesinger walked in with a cough, still battling an illness she has had for about two and a half weeks.
A player who usually isn’t the star, Boesinger has played as if she’s Ohio’s best player in the past four games.
And in a game where the Bobcats struggled to play with energy, Boesinger, nagging cough and all, continued to play with as much grit as she has all season.
With 9:13 left in the game, Boesinger grabbed a rebound, got fouled and scored on the putback. Her basket began a 7-0 run for the Bobcats, propelling them to a 61-55 win over Toledo on Saturday in The Convo.
In the past three games, Boesinger has had to play with more spirit than usual after Jasmine Weatherspoon, the team’s best interior defender, suffered a knee injury Jan. 25 against Western Michigan, but returning to play against Toledo.
Including the game against Western Michigan, Boesinger has averaged 13.3 points per game since Weatherspoon left, scoring 11 points against Toledo.
“I don’t think she’s playing any different than she has in the last three years,” Boldon said. “It’s just maybe she’s scoring a little bit more.”
Boesinger is a player who scores her points in a relatively unorthodox fashion, such as putback layups and being an active rebounder, but it’s effective.
“Any shot that’s open I think I can make, that’s what coach Boldon tells us to do,” Boesinger said. “So I listen to him, been making some shots, so it’s nice.”
If the Bobcats (17-5, 8-3 in the Mid-American Conference) didn’t have Boesinger scoring any way she can, they probably wouldn’t have beat the Rockets. The Rockets’ 2-3 zone was tight, and Ohio struggled to find gaps.
The Bobcats had a poor start to the game, not scoring until around the 7-minute mark, but Boesinger hit two free throws to score the Bobcats’ first points.
When the Bobcats were on their 18-2 run to end the first half, Boesinger contributed three points, helping the Bobcats establish momentum.
Even if no gaps were to be found, she discovered a path.
Despite Boesinger’s solid play, the Bobcats didn’t play well to begin the third quarter. The sloppy offense returned, and so did Toledo’s stifling zone. Shots just wouldn’t fall.
It was game No. 22 for Ohio and it showed. The Bobcats were coming off a 64-59 loss against Central Michigan and their lack of energy showing up again against Toledo (14-7, 5-5 MAC).
The Bobcats were in a position in which they could win, establishing a 31-22 lead at halftime. But that lead wasn’t comfortable again until Boesinger’s putback layup, her body language emitting a sense of satisfaction before she stepped to the free throw line.
But with Weatherspoon just coming back from injury and the Bobcats heading into a tough stretch of their schedule, Boesinger’s energy was needed. Even with her cough.
Boldon said the difference between now and the past three seasons is that Boesinger is scoring more. She is scoring more, as she averaged 5.1 points per game last season.
But another key difference is present: her energetic play for Ohio isn’t only a luxury; it’s a necessity.
“I’m happy for her to be able to find some success, and that you guys are finally talking about her,” Boldon said.