Women’s Basketball: Ohio opens against Murray State, hoping for MAC title

After a disappointing season last year, the Ohio Bobcats have high hopes and are optimistic about the 2014-2015 season. They have good reason to be since all but two players from last year’s team are returning this season.

“I think it’s a big help,” Ohio coach Bob Boldon said. “You’re able to get through things a lot quicker. But at the same time you’ve got to be careful though. You’ve got to make sure you’re teaching new things every day.”

Ten players are returning to the team for Boldon’s second season. This includes junior guard Kiyanna Black, who was named to the Preseason All-MAC East Team. Last year Black led the Bobcats in total points with 389 and points per game with 13.4. Quiera Lampkins, who started all 30 games and averaged 10.8 points per game, also returns to the team.

The team’s lone senior, Mariah Byard, is prepared to become a leader on the team. Last year Byard appeared in 22 games and averaged 9.5 points per game for the Bobcats.

“I have a lot of experience compared to others,” Byard said. “I think my role would probably be a leader and by that I lead by example. I’m not always the most vocal, but I always try to do the right thing and try to make sure everything is being done the way it should be done.”

Most teams in the MAC are already seeking the MAC championship and the Bobcats are no different. With an experienced, veteran team, the Bobcats see no reason they can’t claim the title. Byard has high expectations for the team as they enter into the season.

“I’d like to see a MAC championship,” she said. “ That’s my ultimate goal this year. Having a winning season is something I have not done yet and that would be great.”

To accomplish this goal, Byard says the key is to simply work together as a team.

“It’s a long season,” she said. “I think just sticking together as a team and getting through everything even when we’re tired and just getting better each days is the key to success.

The Bobcats open their season on the road against Murray State on Friday at 6 p.m. MAC play begins on Jan. 3 when the Bobcats will make a trip to Buffalo.

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