Ohio’s Amani Burke (#3) attempts to escape the Buffalo defense in The Convo on Wednesday. (FILE)
With about a minute left in the game, Cierra Hooks stole the ball and raced down the floor for a layup to tie the game.
But then Buffalo’s Summer Hemphill scored a layup on the next possession. The media timeout came with under 50 seconds left, and coach Bob Boldon just wanted his team to have a good possession.
After the timeout, redshirt senior guard Taylor Agler missed a 3-pointer that would have given Ohio the lead. Ohio got one more possession after Buffalo guard Stephanie Reid made two free throws, but it couldn’t convert. The Bobcats lost to the Bulls 67-63 in The Convo.
“I thought we executed, got a pretty good look, and we missed it,” Boldon said. “That’s basketball.”
For the Bobcats, missing shots was a significant factor in the loss. The Bobcats shot 3-of-20 from three; that’s the fewest numbers of threes they’ve made this season.
And while the Bobcats competed with the Bulls throughout, it was because of their defense. They forced 25 turnovers, and they competed for rebounds, too. The Bobcats’ had 40 rebounds to the Bulls’ 42.
Still, for the first time this season, the Bobcats forced their average number of turnovers (24.4) and lost.
Boldon knows the Bobcats haven’t shot well all season, but he still believes in his team.
“We are actively trying to shoot the ball better,” Boldon said. “We’re trying to find ways to get them better shots. That’s just the reality of it.”
The Bobcats aren’t shooting a significant number of bad shots. Some of the threes they shoot are contested or simply out of rhythm. But most of them are the product of the Bobcats finding the open player.
The shots simply aren’t falling enough, but the Bobcats have persevered as they continue to take – and try to make – good shots.
“It’s normal for players to miss shots,” said Amani Burke, a sophomore guard. “We have actually missed a lot of shots in our games, and our percentage is kind of low. But we just keep shooting through that.”
Burke said that she air-balled her first 3-pointer. She missed her second one, but then she made her third.
“It’s just about how you feel,” Burke said. “It’s about if you’re on or not. Or if that shot feels good, you’re just going to shoot it.”
Despite the Bobcats struggling to make shots, Boldon praised his team’s toughness, particularly in taking shots at the basket. The Bulls were playing tight inside, but as they overcommitted on the perimeter, the Bobcats blew past them for layups.
Effort has not been an issue for the Bobcats, no matter what situation they’re in. Ohio was down by 14 points in the third quarter against Akron, and they stormed back to win 70-67 in overtime.
They’ve been through adversity, and the bad shooting has been part of that. Still, it’s not a problem the Bobcats have shied away from.
“Before practice I will tell you, these kids are out there and they’re shooting,” Boldon said. “They’re trying game shots. They’re working on their form. They’re actively trying as best they can to make shots.