Ohio senior guard Yamonie Jenkins drives to the basket during the second half of the Bobcat’s 79-68 win over Bowling Green on Wednesday, March 1.
Ohio walked off the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday night, preparing for the end-of-game handshake line.
The Bobcats hadn’t capitalized on their second chance at salvaging an underwhelming season. The season was underwhelming by Ohio’s standards, at least.
Ohio lost 74-65 to Penn State on Friday night in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. But even with their season-ending loss, the Bobcats are proud.
With the most accomplished senior class in program history leading the team, the Bobcats have gone to the postseason for three-straight seasons.
The program had never accomplished that previously.
“When you set your expectations as high as we set them, sometimes it feels a little bit like a failure,” coach Bob Boldon. “But these kids worked. They worked so hard.”
The Bobcats’ hard work was a staple this season, as they rarely showed a lack of effort.
Even against an athletic Penn State squad, Ohio tried to take control. Even after being down as much as 18 points, the Bobcats cut the lead to five with 1:56 left in the game.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Ohio scored four points. Penn State wouldn’t relinquish its lead, but Ohio kept working, eventually getting to a position in which it could win the game.
Ohio was down 70-65 with 47 seconds left in the game, and Quiera Lampkins drove to the hoop, missing a layup.
“I thought we got a pretty good look, and unfortunately it didn’t go down for us,” Boldon said. “That’s kind of the way things have gone for us this year.”
The season has been one filled with effort that sometimes doesn’t lead to success. After establishing a 22-point lead against Northern Illinois in the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament, Ohio lost. The Bobcats has had numerous games where it doesn’t shoot the ball well.
Ohio’s game against Penn State was one of those games, but even so, they had as good a fourth quarter as they could have.
But the effort just couldn’t be fulfilled.
“It’s not like we took a heroic Ohio effort,” Boldon said. “It was a pretty normal Ohio effort.”
The effort was normal, yet so was the disappointment of losing.
For a team like the Bobcats, a team that’s won 20 or more games for three-straight seasons for the first time in program history, the expectations were understandably high.
But somewhere the Bobcats’ effort couldn’t lead consistently to success. Most times the reason for losing would be poor offensive efficiency, and sometimes average defense would surface.
But the effort never waned, and for that, Boldon isn’t disappointed.
“At no time did these kids stop trying, did they stop believing in each other,” Boldon said.