Ohio guard Amani Burke (#3) tries to get into position to grab a rebound during a free throw in the Bobcats’ 79-68 win over Bowling Green on March 1. (FILE)
Amani Burke sat at the table, the black microphone resting on the green tablecloth. Dominique Doseck sat next to her. Both were still in their white uniforms.
Burke and Doseck, both guards for Ohio, had just finished making their first college start, along with junior forward Kendall Jessing and redshirt sophomore guard Katie Barker. Redshirt senior guard Taylor Agler was the only player in the lineup who started last season for the Bobcats.
Still, in a game where Ohio had four first-time starters, it found a path toward victory. Ohio defeated High Point 64-61 in its season openerSunday at The Convo.
For Burke and Doseck, starting was different. They were used to watching the game from the bench and knowing what to do upon entering the game.
Despite the adjustment, though, Burke and Doseck weren’t uncomfortable.
“This is actually the team that I practiced with last year in practice,” Burke said. “And we played in the game together at different times too.”
As Burke, Doseck, Jessing and Barker made their first starts, shooting woes ensued for Ohio. The Bobcats missed their first five shots, and they finished the game shooting 35.3 percent from the field.
Part of the Bobcats’ shooting struggles stemmed from the Panthers’ defense. The Panthers played a zone in which they didn’t allow the Bobcats to drive the rim easily.
Burke said that the Bobcats ran a play called “40,” which didn’t work well against the Panthers’ zone.
“It seems like a lot of us are stationary, and it’s only like one person moving, and that’s the person with the ball,” Burke said.
Burke also said the Panthers played good defense, but she also was confident about the Bobcats breaking down offenses in the future.
Going off Ohio’s offensive struggles, coach Bob Boldon didn’t expect his team to shoot this poorly to start. With the starting lineup, the floor was supposed to be spaced well. The entire starting lineup was supposed to be able to shoot.
Boldon said he doesn’t believe the poor shooting will persist — eventually the Bobcats will start to shoot well.
The Bobcats’ woes on the offensive end were perhaps offset by their defense. The Bobcats forced the Panthers to commit 30 turnovers, and they scored 25 points off those turnovers.
“I thought defensively we did a nice job,” Boldon said. “Minus the first couple of possessions of the first half and then like the first six or seven possessions of the third quarter was a trainwreck.”
The Bobcats led 59-49, their largest lead of the game, with 6:27 left in the game. The Panthers weren’t done yet, though.
The Panthers hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to cut the lead to 64-61, but they missed a potential game-tying three on the last possession.
Even with their four new starters, the Bobcats held on. Ohio is a young team, but in its first game of the season, it proved that it’s not afraid of pressure.
“I learned that when we are challenged with adversity, we will come together as a group,” Doseck said.