The league-leading Central Michigan Chippewas took on the Bobcats Wednesday evening with a perfect record in the MAC on the line. Ohio was in search of its first league win. After the contest, neither team’s stance has changed. The Chippewas (11-7, 5-0 MAC) left Athens with their record intact and the Bobcats (5-12, 0-5 MAC) remain winless in the MAC, after Central Michigan walked away with a 77-48 win.
For a stretch in the first half, the teams appeared to be poised for a close contest, with both teams vying to get ahead. At one point during the game, the Bobcats were ahead by one point, but that quickly escaped them. The disparity between Central Michigan and Ohio reached as great as 34 with 3:38 left in the game, with the Chippewas coming away with the win.
“Central Michigan is a high-power scoring, offensive team and they did score a lot of points, but I thought our team did a tremendous job of just trying to compete and battle against them, so give credit to our locker room for just playing extremely hard, pushing the ball and attacking them,” said head coach Semeka Randall. “I thought we did a very, very good job with that.”
Central Michigan opened the game by moving the ball around Bobcat territory and was able to capitalize on the early possession. The Bobcats however were ready to pounce at the opposition’s mistakes. Central Michigan bobbled the ball a few times, giving Ohio the chance to take shots. The team initially struggled to find the net but Kiyanna Black got the Bobcats on the board.
Erin Bailes sunk two three pointers, each time bringing the Bobcats to within two points of the Chippewas. She found the net again later in the half to give the Bobcats their only lead of the game, though it was short-lived as the Chippewas raced to the other end of the court to put up two points.
“We missed our opportunities scoring so that drought where, in the first half, we got stuck on 22 for a very, very long time,” said Randall.
The Chippewas began to pull away the clock ticked closer to zero. Time expired in the first half with the Chippewas ahead 35-22.
In the first half, Bailes led the Bobcats in scoring with nine points from her three trifectas. Jas’Mine Bracey and Taylor Johnson led the Chippewas with eight points each.
The Bobcats continued to struggle to find the basket in the second half. Central Michigan continued to put up numbers throughout the half, distancing them from Ohio.
Bailes led the Bobcats in scoring overall, amassing 12 points. Black joined her in double-digits with ten points. Johnson led the Chippewas with 13 points and was joined in double-digits by Bracey (12), Jessica Green (11), Jessica Schroll (10) and Crystal Bradford (10).
Ohio shot 28.8 percent through the entire game. Central Michigan had a 44.4 percent mark for the full game.
“Give them credit that they are waking up everyday and that they’re trying to give it their best, so they’re being gutsy in a trial time right now and again, they’re not really talking about it, but they’re just trying to step up and do what they can do on their part,” said Randall.
“With the limited roster, it’s a little difficult energy-wise because we get through probably the first ten minutes of the first half and we’re good, but then you start to notice us with a little bit of wear and tear,” said Tina Fisher. “It’s just kind of tough to get a breath and stay at the pace we need to be at to compete with the team.”
The short bench gave more players the chance to earn minutes on the court.
“On the bench, we’re really just there to support them and it’s tough for us to see because we know that they’re out there and they’re really pushing, trying to keep their momentum going and it’s hard to see them, but it’s also great to see them working hard and really putting forth all their effort to keep their momentum going,” said Laura Mastro, who had five minutes and scored a three-pointer. “When we get that chance to go in late in the game to give them a minute just to get a drink and get back out there, that’s really what we’re there for.”