CHARLOTTE — The Ohio women’s basketball team faced a first-half deficit that it was unable to climb out of in the season finale.
The Bobcats wrapped up their 2020-21 hoops season on Monday with a 95-71 defeat to Massachusetts in a Women’s National Invitational Tournament consolation final.
Ohio closes the season with a record of 15-10 after going 1-2 in the WNIT over the weekend.
All of Ohio’s WNIT games were played in Charlotte’s Bojangles Coliseum.
The Bobcats were hampered by foul trouble in the loss to UMass. Cece Hooks picked up three first-half fouls, eventually fouling out while playing only 19 minutes.
Hooks finished with 18 points, three steals, two rebounds and two assists.
Hooks is a three-time Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and the reigning MAC MVP.
A senior, Hooks might have played her final game for the Bobcats. The program’s second all-time leading scorer has the option to return for another year with a COVID exception.
Erica Johnson had 18 points, five rebounds and four assists for Ohio, while Caitlyn Kroll added 11 points. Gabby Burris had nine points, while Abby Garnett had six points.
Kendall Hale added four points and four rebounds, Madi Macie three points and 13 rebounds and Kate Dennis two points.
UMass (16-8) was led by Sam Breen’s 27 points on 12 of 22 shooting. She added nine rebounds and three steals. Sydney Taylor also provided 25 points and four assists, while Angelique Ngalakulondi added 15 points and nine rebounds.
Ohio led 4-0 in the early minutes, and the game was tied at 14-14 after Kroll connected on a 3-pointer.
UMass made three consecutive 3-pointers, two by Taylor and one by Breen, to lead 23-14 and the Bobcats trailed the rest of the way.
Ohio was as close as two points — 31-29 — after Burris’ bucket with 6:33 remaining in the first half.
UMass would eventually go into halftime leading 47-36.
Ohio was as close as seven points in the third quarter, but trailed by double figures the entire fourth quarter. UMass went ahead 84-63 with 5:00 to play after Makennah White’s basket.
The Bobcats largest deficit was 26 points in the final minute of the game.
UMass shot 49.3 percent for the game, 36 of 73, to go with a 14-of-16 effort from the foul line.
Ohio turned the ball over 18 times, compared to nine for UMass and lost the rebounding battle, 42-33. UMass also had 21 assists, compared to 12 for the Bobcats.
Other seniors aside from Hooks on Ohio’s roster are Hunter Rogan and Burris.
Burris, from Liberty Union High School, is a career 1,000 point scorer.