The Ohio Bobcats capped a 2-0 start to the season with an 86-85 home win over No. 22 Notre Dame on Friday, marking the first-ever win by the Bobcats over a ranked opponent. The win over the Fighting Irish came two days after a 76-72 season-opening win over Liberty.
Recently named to the Mid-American Conference Preseason First Team, guards Cece Hooks (32 points) and Erica Johnson (24) combined for 56 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in leading the way for Ohio in the win over Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish took a 77-70 lead with 6:03 left in the game before Ohio stormed back to take the lead on an 8-0 run to go up 78-77 with 4:47 left. The Fighting Irish and Bobcats traded buckets before Hooks gave Ohio the advantage with 52 seconds left. Hooks extended the lead with a free throw with 18 seconds left and Notre Dame was unable to mount a last second comeback.
"It was a good win for us," said Hooks, who went 10-of-23 from the field, that included a pair of 3-point field goals. "We ground it out. We didn't give up, even when we went down. I am so proud of the team for that."
A guard, Hooks added eight rebounds, including three on the offensive end and two assists. Hooks has now scored 30 or more points in six games in her career.
Ohio opened the season with a 76-72 victory over Liberty on Nov. 25 as Johnson led the way with 31 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Johnson was 10-of-25 from the floor and 5-of-16 from the three-point line. Johnson has now scored 30 or more points in her career four times. The Bobcats were down 14 points in the second quarter before storming back to retake the lead in the third quarter and never looked back.
Ohio, which last made the NCAA tournament field in 2015, was selected to finish second in the MAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll behind favorite Central Michigan.
The Bobcats will next return to the court and open MAC play at Kent State on Dec. 5.