Ohio’s Amani Burke (#3) attempts to escape the Buffalo defense in The Convo on Wednesday. (FILE)
In the third quarter of its game Saturday against Bowling Green, the Bobcats had only scored four points in the third quarter at the 1:07 mark.
Sophomore guard Amani Burke scored a layup, then Katie Barker hit a 3-pointer with under a minute left to put the Bobcats up by one heading into the fourth. Despite their low-scoring third quarter, the Bobcats began to put possessions together in the fourth.
The Bobcats defeated the Falcons 70-63 on the road in the Stroh Center, winning their seventh straight game against them.
“After the slow start, we battled back in and we went through some lulls,” coach Bob Boldon said. “And that’s what we’re trying to figure out is the importance of playing every possession as best you can.”
The Bobcats began the game down 11-0, not scoring until freshman forward Gabby Burris hit a 3-pointer with 6:49 left in the first quarter.
Ohio’s offense showed why it can be good, but it only did so in spots. The Bobcats scored nine points in the third quarter; even in the fourth quarter, it didn’t create a solid lead until about a minute remained in the game.
Bowling Green guard Sydney Lambert hit two free throws to cut the Bobcats’ lead to 62-53. But after a timeout with just over a minute left, Ohio guard Dominique Doseck threw a deep pass down the floor to a streaking Cierra Hooks.
Hooks made the bucket, and, from there, the Bobcats simply made their free throws as the Falcons fouled them and tried to stop the clock.
After her layup off the assist from Doseck, Hooks scored the Bobcats’ last six points to seal the game.
For the Bobcats, playing consistently on both ends of the floor was the problem against the Falcons. They played well in spurts, but other times their offense wasn’t fluid. Even the Bobcats’ defense wasn’t as intense as it’s been in the past. They only forced 18 turnovers, they force an average of 24.0 turnovers a game.
Still, Ohio (10-8, 4-3 Mid-American Conference) scored and made plays defensively when it needed to.
Barker’s 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter provided a boost, and Burris’ play in the second half was steady in that she scored easy buckets down low and played well defensively.
“Particularly the fourth quarter and end of the third quarter, we strung a couple of those possessions together and we looked pretty good,” Boldon said. “So, it’s very, very encouraging. It’s also very, very stressful.”
The Bobcats couldn’t do what they wanted on offense easily against the Falcons. They couldn’t establish a solid half court offense as they missed layups and other shots near the rim.
Taking away the Falcons’ 3-point shooting ability was important, especially considering the Bobcats struggled to make shots.
The Bobcats held the Falcons to 36.0 percent from 3-point range, and the Falcons (10-8, 2-5 MAC) only made four 3-pointers in the second half.
Playing in games like this — ones where the Bobcats aren’t consistently making jumpers or consistently playing well defensively — has been customary. Boldon and the team both know obtaining that consistency needs to improve.
The Bobcats will play Northern Illinois at home Wednesday at 7 p.m.