Ohio’s Taylor Agler drives to the basket during the Bobcats’ game against University of Tennessee-Martin in The Convo on Nov. 18th, 2016. (FILE)
Coach Bob Boldon started five freshmen and, up until the end of the third quarter, Ohio’s young players played fine.
Walsh went on a 7-0 run to end the third quarter, though, and Ohio didn’t score for the last 3:02 of the quarter. The Cavaliers scored seven straight points to begin the fourth, and the Bobcats soon fell out of the game, eventually losing 82-66 in an exhibition game Saturday in The Convo.
Boldon wanted to evaluate the freshmen for a full game; he wanted to see what they could do. He has an inexperienced team, with guard Taylor Agler being the lone senior. Cierra Hooks, Erica Johnson, Gabby Burris, Kaylee Bambule and Alexis Stover all stood on the floor when the lights came on after the starting lineups.
“You’re trying to see how kids react in game situations and put them in some tough circumstances and see them fight their way through it,” Boldon said.
Some of those circumstances consisted of Bambule and Burris fouling out. Stover, Johnson and Hooks each had four fouls. Boldon wanted his young players to gain experience and see the nuances of the college game, whether it was learning not to commit hand checks or going through media timeouts.
Though the freshmen learned in this exhibition game, Boldon said they did have some good moments. Stover led the team with 17 points, and Burris followed her with 15.
The good moments aside, Boldon knows a long season is ahead. This game against Walsh doesn’t count, but Boldon realizes that he’ll need to be patient. Losses will happen. Ohio starts the regular season at home Nov. 12 against High Point.
“I’m envisioning some pretty sad postgame press conferences over the next couple months,” Boldon said. “But we gotta learn.”
As the freshmen stood on the floor when the lights came on after the starting lineups, Agler, Amani Burke and Dominique Doseck, the team’s veterans, sat on the bench in warmups. They didn’t play, but that’s because Boldon knows what they can do.
Aside from the freshmen, Boldon also had junior forwards Olivia Bower and Kendall Jessing come off the bench to play.
Players such as Agler, Burke and Doseck have experience, so Boldon needed to give some of his inexperienced players a chance to gain their first taste of college basketball.
“They did a lot of nice things,” Boldon said. “They just didn’t do enough nice things. And that’s why we did this — so that they could get a lot of minutes and not get taken out for their first mistake. They got to make several mistakes.”