Post-season basketball came to the Convocation Center on Thursday, and the high intensity of March basketball came with it. After trading blows with the High Point Panthers all night in this first-round WNIT game, the Ohio Bobcats landed the final punches in the fourth quarter to win 81-74.
The Bobcats trailed 61-58 entering the fourth quarter. Ohio retook the lead early in the quarter before the Panthers cut the Ohio lead to just one point, 66-65. An 11-0 run by Ohio gave the ’Cats a 77-65 advantage that was enough to ice the game.
Up 42-41 at halftime, Ohio had struggled with the High Point offense. The Panthers shot 59.3 percent from the field in the first half, and Ohio didn’t have many answers, except to score right back. Ohio shot 51.6 percent in the half, which lacked much effective defense.
Both Ohio and High Point’s second-half offense performance dipped, but the Bobcats took advantage in the final stretch.
Ohio only shot 27.8 percent in the third quarter while High Point outscored Ohio 20-16 in the quarter. In the final quarter, the Bobcats scratched back and shot 50 percent (8-16) from the field. Ohio also grabbed 15 rebounds in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats only got 13 boards in the first half.
Two High Point starters fouled out in the fourth quarter. Ohio senior Dominique Doseck fouled out late in the game, but her absence came when the Bobcats had the game sealed. All five Ohio starters reached double-digit points, led by sophomore guard Cece Hooks’ 21 points. Junior Amani Burke added 18 points, and redshirt freshman Erica Johnson 14.
High Point ended its season with the first-round loss in the WNIT with a 22-9 season record.
Ohio improved to 28-5, which breaks the program record for most wins in a season. The Bobcats will march on to the second round of the WNIT and will play Middle Tennessee Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Convocation Center. Middle Tennessee advanced after beating IUPUI 59-47 on Thursday.