Women’s Basketball: Ohio brings on redshirt freshman transfer from Saint Francis

Coach Bob Boldon announced Wednesday that Ohio has brought on redshirt freshman transfer Caitlyn Kroll.

Kroll, who’s transferring from Saint Francis, won’t be eligible to play next season because of NCAA transfer rules. She will be eligible to play during the 2019-20 season.

Kroll didn’t play in her freshman season at Saint Francis because she suffered a knee injury during her senior year of high school. Last season, Kroll averaged 13.4 points per game on 40.7 percent shooting from the field. Kroll shot 32.6 percent from the 3-point line. Kroll was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year last season, and she was named to the conference’s third team.

Though Kroll won’t be able to play in the upcoming season, she has the potential to fit well in Ohio’s system. A 5-foot-10 guard, Kroll brings versatility. She averaged 4.2 rebounds per game last season, ranking fourth on the Red Flash for the category.

Boldon’s team is composed of players who can play multiple positions on both ends of the floor, and with Kroll’s size, she can add to the flexibility of Ohio’s lineups.

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Women’s Basketball: Ohio’s experiences this season will help the youth grow into next season

Women's Basketball: Ohio's experiences this season will help the youth grow into next season

 

Ohio senior guard Taylor Agler (#0) drives to the basket during the Bobcats’ 69-66 loss to Miami in the MAC Tournament in Cleveland on March 7. (FILE)

 

When Bob Boldon started Ohio’s five freshmen during the season-opening exhibition against Walsh, he wanted to see what his young group could do.

After losing five seniors from the season before, Boldon had a young team. Taylor Agler was the lone senior, and out of the three juniors, Dominique Doseck was the only one who had played consistent minutes.

Throughout this season, though, the Bobcats’ youth didn’t matter as much as some thought it would. On March 7, the Bobcats lost 69-66 in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament against Miami. Ohio wasn’t invited to play in the WNIT, so its season is over.

This season marks the first time since the 2013-14 campaign that the Bobcats didn’t win 20 or more games. This season also marks the third straight season the Bobcats have lost in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament.

“Obviously the last two years have been tough coming up here,” Boldon said after the Miami game. “We provided very good entertainment, coming out on the wrong side twice. But I think that often makes kids tougher and tougher and stronger.”

The Bobcats played in a plethora of close games this season. And for a young team, playing in those games helped provide experience as the season progressed.

On Jan. 24, the Bobcats were tied at 75 against Northern Illinois with fewer than 15 seconds left. Cierra Hooks stripped the ball from Courtney Woods’ hands made the game-winning layup on the other end.

When the Bobcats played Akron the first time Jan. 6, the game went to overtime. Agler was fouled as she made the game-winning layup. She made the free throw, and the Bobcats won 70-67.

Not all of those close games resulted in an Ohio win, either. The Bobcats lost to Buffalo 67-63 at home Jan. 17, and had they made a few more shots late in the game, they probably would have won.

While some of those games are a testament to how the Bobcats must continue to grow, some are also a testament to how underrated the Mid-American Conference was this season.

Aside from Central Michigan and Buffalo — both teams will play in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 — the rest of the conference was close. Any given team wasn’t significantly better than another.

The MAC has the potential to be a good conference again next season. Central Michigan won’t have seniors Tinara Moore and Cassie Breen, but Presley Hudson and Reyna Frost will return. Buffalo will lose seniors Stephanie Reid and Cassie Oursler, but Cierra Dillard and Summer Hemphill will return.

Miami is on the rise, and it’ll probably be one of the top teams in the conference next season. The RedHawks’ scoring duo of Kendall McCoy and Lauren Dickerson will be back.

But with those teams likely being the MAC’s top teams next season, Ohio will be right there, too.

The Bobcats will miss Agler’s leadership. She led the Bobcats throughout the season, helping young players like Cierra Hooks and Gabby Burris succeed.

Hooks and Burris will be sophomores next season, though. Amani Burke will be a junior, and she’ll be set to have a breakout year. Katie Barker will still be ready to knock down open 3-pointers. And the Bobcats will have three seniors in Doseck, Kendall Jessing and Olivia Bower.

“Hopefully next year we won’t be a young team,” Boldon said after the Miami game. “That won’t be us because we’ll have these experiences, and hopefully we’re intelligent enough to learn from these experiences.”

 

Quiera Lampkins: Hooping In Switzerland

Quiera Lampkins heard the news about why she might not have been drafted from one of her American Athletic Union, or AAU, coaches, who had also told her father.

As Lampkins went through two WNBA combines, she drew interest from some of the league’s teams. But at the end of the 2017 WNBA draft, Lampkins hadn’t been selected.

Lampkins, a former Ohio player, is the second all-time leading scorer in the team’s history. She’s part of the program’s 2017 class, arguably the best class in school history. During her senior season, she averaged 19.8 points per game and helped lead the team to a 22-10 record.

It was the third straight year the Bobcats had won 20 or more games in the regular season. Lampkins was on each of those three teams.

But when Lampkins heard that one of the reasons she wasn’t drafted was because she didn’t shoot many jump shots in college, she was driven to show that she could do more than drive to the hoop.

“A lot of people think it was like, ‘Well, she couldn’t shoot,’ ” Lampkins said. “And it was not — that was never the case. It’s just that I didn’t shoot.”

Lampkins’ game has been centered on her driving to the basket with ease. When she played at Ohio, her role wasn’t to shoot jumpers. Her role was to drive and score. And if she didn’t score, she was to create shots for others.

Now Lampkins plays for BC Winterthur, a team in Switzerland. She’s developed into an all-around player, and it’s been an endeavor that is necessary for her growth as a professional player.

“It’s kind of fortunate, but I understand,” Lampkins said in referring to not being drafted. “Because you know, it’s a business. (The WNBA expects) their players to be able to do a lot of things.”

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Photo from Carl Fonticella | PHOTO EDITOR

Ohio senior guard Quiera Lampkins drives to the basket during the first half of the Bobcat’s game against Central Michigan on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

 

What Lampkins has had to do is show that she can shoot. And she has. She is shooting significantly better with BC Winterthur than she did at Ohio. With the Bobcats, Lampkins shot under 30 percent from 3-point range for her career.

But with BC Winterthur, she is the team’s top shooter; she averages 41.3 percent from the 3-point-line.

For Lampkins, the addition of a jump shot to her game will likely help her receive WNBA opportunities.

While Lampkins still wants to go to the WNBA, she has had a change in heart about playing overseas since she arrived in Switzerland late last August. When Lampkins first got to Switzerland, she didn’t know if she could stay overseas for another year, much less play overseas for multiple years.

But Lampkins has seen the benefits of playing overseas. She still wants to play in the WNBA, but she also likes the idea of traveling the world.

And from a financial aspect, women are paid better overseas compared to what the WNBA offers. In 2016, the WNBA’s maximum salary was $106,000. WNBA players play overseas during the off-season, and they earn considerably more money.

Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi sat out the 2015 season, opting to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg, the team she plays for in Russia. Taurasi reportedly made nearly $1.5 million a year compared to what she was making in the U.S., which was just over $100,000.

Earning money is important, but for Lampkins, gaining exposure was initially the focus.

“I feel like once you first start out, at least for me, the money wasn’t really that important to me,” Lampkins said. “It’s important to get the exposure, get to play and to see if I could possibly continue to do this for year after year.”

Of course Lampkins cares about making more money. She said she’s making what a rookie typically makes overseas. In the future, Lampkins wants more than money, though.

She also wants more competition, as she strives to play in the EuroLeague. As a guard, she’s defending other American guards, who are some of the best players in the Swiss league.

“There’s other teams that are more competitive,” Lampkins said. “It’s not terrible, but I know there is more competition somewhere else.”

Lampkins has been successful so far in Switzerland, but with that, she has noticed differences between the way basketball is played in America compared to the way it’s played in Switzerland.

Lampkins said the game isn’t fundamental in Switzerland, citing that players in America learn the game’s basics at a younger age compared to players in Switzerland. Part of that, though, is because Switzerland has a work-oriented culture.

Because of Switzerland’s hard working culture, some of the players on BC Winterthur have jobs along with playing on the team.

Lampkins said that for some players, playing on the team is more leisure than it is a career.

“People have jobs and then they still play, but there’s a chance that they won’t be able to make it because they have work or something like that,” Lampkins said. “So like in other countries, it’s more serious.”

For Lampkins, though, playing basketball is her job now. She’s a professional player, so she must go to practice and play in games. She must go to workouts, which she goes to with Abria Trice, the only other American player on BC Winterthur’s women’s team. BC Winterthur’s men’s team also has American players, and Lampkins and Trice work out with the American men’s players as well.

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Photo by Carl Fonticella | PHOTO EDITOR

Quiera Lampkins poses for a portrait in The Convo.

 

Though Lampkins has practice nine or 10 times a week, she still has free time. She likes to watch animated movies. She recently watched Coco, which won best animated feature at The Oscars on Sunday.

Another challenge in traveling to play basketball in Switzerland was the time difference. Ohio is six hours behind Switzerland, so that’s been a difficult adjustment for Lampkins.

“I’m still struggling with it,” Lampkins said. “To this day, I don’t go to sleep till maybe sometimes 5 a.m. here.”

Jasmine Weatherspoon, who played with Lampkins at Ohio, can relate to the time difference. Like Lampkins, Weatherspoon values family. But she’d be stuck when she wanted to talk to her family at 10 p.m. her time.

Weatherspoon plays professional basketball in Dunkirk, France, for DMBC, a team in a league called NF1. France is also six hours ahead of Ohio.

“I’ve had a lot of nights where I’ve stayed up till maybe 3 or 4 in the morning just because I don’t feel tired,” Weatherspoon said.

Lampkins is a self-acclaimed homebody. She likes being around her family and staying low key. She said that some of her friends didn’t even know she was playing basketball in Switzerland.

When Lampkins came to Switzerland, she was nervous. She had never left the country, and she wanted to be around her family. Still, she’s been fine. She talks to her mom every day, and she talks to her family almost every day.

Lampkins knew that she was going to play professional basketball and achieve her goal of becoming a professional player.

“I like to be around my family, but other than that, I had no choice,” Lampkins said. “This is something that I wanted. I kind of had to suck it up. I’m a softie, but I tend to be tough when it comes to stuff like that.”

 

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Development by: Megan Knapp / For The Post

Women’s Basketball: Ohio falls to Miami 69-66 in quarterfinals of MAC Tournament

Women's Basketball: Ohio falls to Miami 69-66 in quarterfinals of MAC Tournament

 

Ohio senior guard Taylor Agler (#0) puts up a potential game-tying three with just seconds left in the Bobcats’ 69-66 loss to Miami in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament on Wednesday, March 7.

 

CLEVELAND — Taylor Agler received the ball at the top of the 3-point line with about three seconds left in the game.

As the ball was thrown in, Agler got open at the top of the arc.

The Bobcats needed a 3-pointer to maintain their hopes of advancing in the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Agler hoisted the shot, but she missed. Ohio lost 69-66 to Miami in Quicken Loans Arena during the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament.

Agler sat at the table in the news conference, along with Dominique Doseck and coach Bob Boldon. The three wore somber faces. While they had exceeded outside expectations, the Bobcats didn’t achieve what they expected of themselves.

“We are very capable of doing more than we did this year,” Agler said. “So, I guess it feels good to exceed expectations of others. But we’re not here to please others.”

Agler is right. The Bobcats had lost five seniors after the 2016-17 season, and they had gained five freshmen. Three of those freshmen – Cierra Hooks, Gabby Burris and Alexis Stover – each played a role in Boldon’s rotation.

Hooks, the newly minted MAC Freshman of the Year, is the team’s best defender and top scorer. Burris, an All-MAC Freshman Team member along with Hooks, rebounds well and scores inside. Stover doesn’t earn as much playing time as Hooks and Burris, but she comes in for spurts, able to defend multiple positions on the floor.

The Bobcats were supposed to be a young team, one not capable of doing what they did this season. If anything, the Bobcats losing this game gives them more experience.

Missed shots accumulated in the second half after the RedHawks took Ohio’s 3-pointer away. Though the RedHawks took away jumpers, the Bobcats still had layups. They didn’t make enough, though. Along with that, their offense slowed down.

Ohio didn’t screen well in the second half, but Boldon said that the Bobcats didn’t move the ball well in the first half, either. They simply just made more shots in the first half.

“We got to the foul line, and we missed a couple of those and couldn’t capitalize,” Boldon said. “But I would say the pace of our screening on offense was our biggest detriment.”

The ball lacked energy in the second half, and that’s partly because the Bobcats ran more isolation plays.

That caused the Bobcats to take more layups, which is what the RedHawks wanted.

“We said, ‘hey, if we’re going to give up anything, we’re going to give up layups,’” Miami coach Megan Duffy said. “So what happened is we gave them contested layups and they missed a few.”

Amani Burke and Hooks fouled out of the game in the second half. The Bobcats not having both was a noted loss. They are two of Ohio’s best defenders, as well as the team’s top two scorers.

But for a team that won the 2015 MAC Tournament, for a team that has now played a quarterfinal game for the past three seasons, the Bobcats weren’t going to make excuses.

“Our team is designed for the next person to step up always, so it doesn’t matter who fouls out, it doesn’t matter who’s not healthy,” Agler said. “We count on the next person to step up.”

Stover and Kendall Jessing came in as Burke and Hooks fouled out. Stover and Jessing gave good minutes, but for any team, losing two of its best players will be impactful. What’s important, though, is that the Bobcats don’t think like that.

Though they have now lost three straight quarterfinal games, the Bobcats still have a winning culture that allows them to have resolve.

For a team that not many people expected to do well this season, Ohio exceeded expectations. But the fact that the Bobcats feel they didn’t exceed their own is what makes them a routinely formidable team in the MAC.

“Obviously the last two years have been tough coming up here,” Boldon said. “We provided very good entertainment, coming out on the wrong side twice. But I think that often makes kids tougher and tougher and stronger.”

 

Women’s Basketball: Defense will be key for Bobcats in MAC quarterfinals

Women's Basketball: Defense will be key for Bobcats in MAC quarterfinals

 

Ohio head coach Bob Boldon talks to the team during a time-out in the second half of the Bobcats’ game against Bowling Green on Feb. 17. Boldon reached the 100-win mark on March 5 with a win over Akron in the first round of the MAC Tournament.

 

Coach Bob Boldon knows Miami is probably feeling excited about playing his team. Ohio has played the RedHawks twice and this season — the Bobcats lost both games.

Aside from Central Michigan and Buffalo, the Mid-American Conference’s elite, no team has given Ohio fits like Miami has.

The RedHawks have perhaps one of the best scoring duos in the conference in Lauren Dickerson and Kendall McCoy. Both players scored 21 points the last time Ohio and Miami played. The Bobcats lost 78-56 at home.

It’s a perfect combination, but it’s a combination that the Bobcats will need to at least slow down Wednesday afternoon. The Bobcats will play the RedHawks in the second session of the MAC Tournament’s quarterfinals at Quicken Loans Arena.

“We didn’t guard them (the RedHawks) well at their place, and then we couldn’t guard them here,” Boldon said after Ohio defeated Akron in the first round Monday.

For Ohio, guarding Dickerson and McCoy has presented matchup problems. Dickerson drives inside, and McCoy spaces the floor and shoots open jumpers.

While Akron didn’t have the scoring duo Miami has, both teams do move the ball well. The RedHawks’ offense focuses more on getting the ball to Dickerson and McCoy, their best players.

If the Bobcats can take shots away from either of them, that will slow down the RedHawks’ offense. Ohio will need to make some of Miami’s other players score. Dickerson and McCoy are the only players on the team who average double figures in scoring.

Energy on defense will need to be in abundance for Ohio again. Akron continued to put pressure on the Ohio’s defense, as it moved the ball and shot 47.1 percent from the 3-point line.

In the two games the RedHawks and Bobcats have played, the RedHawks have been aggressive on offense, forcing Ohio’s defense to move and work. But as the Bobcats prepare to play the RedHawks for a third time this season, Kendall Jessing feels Ohio hasn’t fully shown Miami what it’s capable of.

“I don’t think they’ve seen our best game yet,” Jessing said after the Akron game. “So as long as we go in there with confidence, we should get the outcome we want.”

The outcome the Bobcats want is going to be hard to come by, though. No team has given Ohio the sort of matchup problems that Miami has. Central Michigan plays fast, and so does Buffalo. While those teams are great, it’s a different type of offense to defend.

It’s also more manageable in a way, because the main focus when playing a fast team is to control the pace and slow the game down.

The RedHawks don’t consistently play at the speed that the Chippewas and Bulls do, though. They’ll play fast in spurts, and the Bobcats will need to play good transition defense, too. But the challenge is guarding the RedHawks’ inside-out attack in the half-court. Dickerson drives, and McCoy is one of the best shooters in the MAC.

It’s a perfect combination, but it’s one that the Bobcats will need to stop to keep their season alive.

 

 

 

Women’s Basketball: Cierra Hooks and Gabby Burris earn Mid-American Conference honors

Women's Basketball: Cierra Hooks and Gabby Burris earn Mid-American Conference honors

 

Ohio freshman guard Cierra Hooks (#1) goes in for a layup during the Bobcats’ game against Akron on Monday in the first round of the MAC Tournament.

 

Correction appended.

Cierra Hooks and Gabby Burris have been among the best freshmen in the Mid-American Conference this season.

On Tuesday morning, Hooks’ and Burris’ success was validated.

Hooks was named MAC Freshman of the Year, as the conference announced its regular season awards. She was also selected to the All-MAC Freshman Team, and along with those honors, was named to both the All-MAC Third Team and the All-MAC Defensive Team. Burris was named to the All-MAC Freshman Team as well.

Hooks is the third player in program history to be awarded MAC Freshman of the Year. Rachel Frederick won the award in 2006, and Caroline Mast, Ohio’s all-time leading scorer, won in 1983.

Throughout the season, Hooks and Burris have played significant roles in Ohio’s success. Hooks and Burris have been in starting roles consistently since early February; before that, they were the first two players off the bench.

Hooks provided a burst on offense because of her ability to drive to the basket and score. This season, Hooks became the second-highest scoring freshman in program history.

On defense, Hooks has led the team. She is ranked first in the MAC in steals per game (3.4), and she is now the Bobcats’ record holder for most steals in a season. Hooks’ surpassed the previous record of 86 steals, which Pam Pullie set during the 1985-1986 season. Hooks has 99 steals, which ranks her ninth in the nation for steals per game.

Burris’ role has been to score easy points inside and move without the ball well. Burris has averaged 10.3 points per game this season on 40.8 percent shooting. She’s been an energy player that goes after loose balls and can hit open 3-pointers, too.

The Bobcats will play Miami on Wednesday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament, which is at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

@CameronFields_

cf710614@ohio.edu

Correction: A previous version of this report misstated when the conference announced its regular season awards. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

 

Women’s Basketball: Ohio has five players score in double figures in win over Akron, shows it can have balanced scoring

Women's Basketball: Ohio has five players score in double figures in win over Akron, shows it can have balanced scoring

 

Ohio freshman guard Cierra Hooks (#1) goes in for a layup during the Bobcats’ game against Akron on Monday in the first round of the MAC Tournament.

 

Gabby Burris has said that Kendall Jessing is Ohio’s motivator.

Jessing is the most vocal player on the bench, as she routinely urges her team to get a stop when it needs one.

She’s the one who shouts “let’s go” when the Bobcats need a boost. Before Burris became a consistent starter, Jessing was in the starting lineup. Jessing has as much energy on the floor as she does when she’s motivating her team from the bench. Jessing is the player who moves without the ball well and can run the floor when necessary.

The Bobcats played Akron in The Convo on Monday during the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Ohio’s effort has been low recently. The Bobcats needed to play with more energy against the Zips.

And they needed energy not only from a few players, but everyone. Jessing, who scored a career-high 12 points, was one of five players who scored in double figures as the Bobcats defeated the Zips 85-73.

With the win, the Bobcats advanced to the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament, which will be at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

“We knew we had it, we have all the parts,” Jessing said.

The Bobcats are like a jigsaw puzzle. Each player on the team is a piece that makes the puzzle what it is. Jessing’s success is a microcosm of Ohio’s offensive production against Akron.

Ohio has had at least five players score in double figures only two other games this season. One was against Notre Dame College, when Ohio won 93-37. The other was against Purdue, when Ohio won 77-71 on the road.

Sometimes the puzzle isn’t always complete. Amani Burke might be missing more shots than usual. Katie Barker might not be making 3-pointers from multiple spots on the floor. Jessing might not be playing off the ball as well. But on Monday night, that wasn’t the case.

Whether it was Barker making four 3-pointers or Amani Burke not missing any of her four 3s and scoring 20 points, the pieces came together.

Each player did their job to the full extent.

“I thought our kids’ approach today was really good,” coach Bob Boldon said. “I thought we had a little bit extra energy.”

Ohio needed a jolt of motivation for this game. If the Bobcats lost, the season would be over. If they won, they’d travel to Cleveland.

“Instead of having our coaches, our families, people from the outside, or even our other teammates tell us ‘we have to have energy, we have to have motivation, we can do this,’ ” Burke said. “We knew we could do it, we just did it.”

The Bobcats will play Miami on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the tournament.  Miami has defeated Ohio twice this season; once at home and once on the road.

The Bobcats have struggled against Miami, particularly because of the offensive combo of Lauren Dickerson and Kendall McCoy. The last time the two teams played, Dickerson and McCoy scored 21 points each.

Boldon knows that the duo will score, but he also knows that Ohio has to at least slow them down. If the Bobcats can hold one of the players to below 20 points, then they’ll be in a position to win.

The RedHawks have played against the Bobcats well. For the Bobcats, guarding Dickerson and McCoy has been the primary issue.

Still, Jessing believes that Miami hasn’t seen the Bobcats’ complete puzzle.

“I don’t think they’ve seen our best game yet,” Jessing said. “So as long as we go in there with confidence, we should get the outcome we want.”