CLEVELAND- With a trip to the Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship Game on the line, no Bobcat could afford a bad game, especially not Erica Johnson. Luckily for Ohio, the redshirt freshman continued to rise to the occasion.
Johnson led Ohio (27-4, 14-4 MAC) to the title game Friday, after her double-double effort helped secure a 74-48 blowout win over Miami at Quicken Loans Arena. It was the point guard’s second double-double this tournament, strengthening her case for the tournament MVP honors.
“It’d be very special,” Johnson said after being asked what MVP honors would mean to her. “I couldn’t do it without my teammates, my coaches. They push me to my limit, and they know what I can do. They believe in me when I don’t believe in myself. Sometimes if I find my head down, they’re picking me up. So, to just get that accomplishment would be phenomenal.”
Johnson started off her stellar performance just like she had in Ohio’s quarterfinal win on Wednesday, with a 3. She hit *two in the first quarter alone and knew early that she would find success with the ball in her hands.
Since she was so successful, the Bobcats continued to look to her for an easy bucket, and time and again she delivered. Step-back 3s, tough finishes around the rim and consistency at the foul line were all ways she found her points as she finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Miami (23-8 13-5 MAC) tried, but couldn’t stop the MAC’s Freshman and Sixth Player of the Year.
“We didn’t have an answer,” Miami coach Megan Duffy said. “We tried different people on her. We tried to, you know, not let her touch the ball, but we didn’t have enough against her. I thought she was really the catalyst.”
While Johnson dominated, Ohio followed suit. Thanks to its hot shooting and perhaps the best defensive performance of the year, Ohio led the RedHawks by 13 at the half. The Bobcats were in control and confident even though prior experiences suggested they shouldn’t be.
In their two previous regular season meetings, Ohio led Miami at the half by 19 and 23 points, respectively. In the first game, Miami stormed back to win 67-61. In the second, Ohio held on for a 70-66 win.
In both games the Bobcats weren’t as aggressive as they had been in the first half and it ended up costing them. Johnson ensured that the Bobcats kept up the pace and that Miami stayed deep in a deficit.
She started off the second half with another 3-pointer. Two minutes later she came down court, dribbled the ball between her legs, stepped back and hit another one while Miami’s Kendall McCoy made contact with her. Johnson’s four-point play was the play of the game.
From then on, Ohio continued to roll in the second half on its way to the win.
Johnson walked off the court with a smile knowing that the Bobcats were on their way to the championship …read more
Source:: Daily times