Women's basketball: Ohio continues to improve offense as it prepares for tougher competition

 

Ohio sophomore guard Amani Burke (#3) drives to the basket during the first half of the Bobcats’ 93-37 win over Notre Dame College on November 16.

 

Ohio has begun the season well with two straight wins – the first against High Point and the other against Notre Dame College.

Tougher competition is coming, though.

Ohio will play Marshall on the road Wednesday at 5 p.m., and it will play at home Saturday against No. 24 Michigan at 2 p.m. The schedule is starting to intensify, but the Bobcats know they need to remain focused.

“We can start to get nitpicky now I guess I would say,” Kendall Jessing, a junior forward, said.

Jessing and the Bobcats want to focus on specific parts of their game as the season jumps off. Continuing to improve is a priority, whether that be setting better screens after the first one or continuing to post quality shooting numbers.

After the High Point game, when Ohio shot 35.3 percent from the field, it improved its numbers against Notre Dame College. The Bobcats shot 43.2 percent from the field, and they shot 33.3 percent from the 3-point line.

Those percentages aren’t necessarily great on their own, but compared to the Bobcats’ first game, they’re an improvement.

“Everything was better offensively,” Boldon said after the Notre Dame game.

Boldon mentioned that Katie Barker and Dominique Doseck, arguably the team’s best shooters, helped the Bobcats start well. Barker hit two 3-pointers before she missed, and Doseck shot 50.0 percent from the 3-point line.

In preparing for the Thundering Herd and the Wolverines, Boldon knows the Bobcats will see some zone defense. As the Bobcats prepare for a zone defense, their shooting numbers should continue to increase.

If they can make opponents move in their zone defenses, meaning not just let players stand still while guarding an area, then the Bobcats will have chances at open threes.

Making them is another matter, but that’s where practice comes in.

“We need to make sure that we’re taking every rep seriously,” Jessing said after the Notre Dame game.

Shooting threes is a main component of the Bobcats’ offense. In the past four seasons, Ohio has led the Mid-American Conference in 3-point field goal attempts three times. The only time it didn’t lead the MAC in the category during that span was in the 2013-14 season. And in that season Ohio was ranked second behind Central Michigan.

Still, the Bobcats’ offense has had more variety to begin this season. Through two games, Ohio has shot 64 3-pointers, which ranks it No. 8 in the conference. The Bobcats are moving the ball well, looking for good shots – threes are included still.

But they look for different types of shots. Freshman Cierra Hooks has shown an ability to drive to the hoop well, her quickness allowing her to blow by defenders. Hooks and other players such as Amani Burke driving to the hoop allows for 3-point shooters like Barker and Doseck to be open.

In addition, the Bobcats have looked to score in transition more this season compared to last season. When they rebound the ball, the Bobcats are looking to advance it quickly.

Despite these improvements on offense, it’s only just the start for the Bobcats. Better competition is ahead, but that means a chance to continue to improve.

“We’re screening decently, we’re moving the ball decently,” Boldon said after playing Notre Dame. “I think there’s better times ahead of us, but it is a good start.”

 

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