Updated Sun, Jan 6, 2013 3:03 pm
Ohio Women’s Basketball took care of business on the road Saturday afternoon by defeating Xavier 68-62 in Cincinnati. It was the Bobcats’ first game played in 15 days and their second road-win of the season.
“I think any win feels good,” said head coach Semeka Randall after the game. “The odds were against us just with the injuries we had prior to (this game)…those seven players stepped up and just played their butts off.”
Ohio was without second-leading scorer Shavon Robinson Saturday.
The long layoff seemed to affect Ohio’s offense in the first half as it shot only 35 percent from the field, including 3-of-12 from behind the 3-point line. The ‘Cats also managed to get to the free throw line only once in the first half.
Despite their offensive struggles Ohio was able to carry a 27-19 lead into halftime, thanks in large part to an incredible defensive effort. Ohio held Xavier to a dismal 25 percent shooting on 7-of-28 from the field.
“When we couldn’t score, our defense held us in there,” said Randall.
Randall brought the Bobcats out of the locker room for the second half with a completely different offensive mindset it appeared. Ohio was more focused, executing sets to perfection and getting open look after open look.
The Bobcats turned the ball over only three times in the second half and shot 53.6 percent from the field, while draining 4-of-7 trey balls.
Kiyanna Black poured in 14 second half points for the Bobcats en route to a career high 23 on the day. The freshman also added 5 rebounds from her guard position.
“(Black) is starting to learn how special she can be for this basketball team,” said Randall. “The conference is going to know what you like to do and try to take it away, but she has the type of play that is going to be hard to stop. The only person who can stop Kiyanna is K.B.”
Erin Bailes also had an outstanding day on the offensive end adding 20 points and 5 rebounds of her own.
Alex’ei Baldwin led the team with 8 rebounds, 2 short of a double double as she had 10 points on the day.
As good as the offense was, the defense struggled at times throughout the second half. Mental errors and breakdowns in key situations hurt the Bobcats. Take, for example, fouling Xavier 80 feet from the bucket with less than 2 minutes remaining in a close game to put them on the line while stopping the clock.
Although Xavier missed the front end of the 1-and-1, those are the types of mistakes Ohio must clean up in order to be consistently good. Ohio also gave up 43 second-half points, giving up 20 points in the paint and allowing Xavier to grab 9 offensive rebounds in the half.
All in all, a depleted Ohio team started 2013 off on the right foot. The Bobcats will look to start conference play with a win at home vs. Akron on Jan. 10.