Ohio women's basketball

Ohio’s Erica Johnson puts up a shot during a game against Notre Dame on Nov. 27. Johnson scored 29 points on Friday in Ohio’s 84-80 loss at Kent State.

KENT — Playing without their head coach, the Ohio women’s basketball team suffered an 84-80 defeat at Kent State on Friday afternoon.

It was the Mid-American Conference opener for both teams, as Ohio falls to 2-1 overall. Kent State improves to 1-2 overall, and 1-0 in the MAC.

Before the contest, Ohio announced that head coach Bob Boldon had recently tested positive for COVID-19 and would be unavailable for the Kent State game.

“During our routine testing last week, I tested positive for COVID-19,” Boldon said in a press release tweeted out by the program. “I immediately self-isolated and have been working remotely since that day. I have the utmost confidence in our staff, led by Tavares Jackson, to coach our game at KSU. I look forward to returning when our protocols and medical staff deem it safe for everyone involved.”

The Bobcats lost a shootout against the Flashes.

Kent State’s Mariah Modkins sank a 3-pointer for a 79-75 lead with 1:03 to play in the fourth quarter. Erica Johnson responded with two free throws for Ohio with 55 seconds left, making the score 79-77.

Ohio forced a turnover, and Johnson was able to get back to the one with 22 seconds left. She made the first, but a lane violation wiped out the Bobcats’ chance to tie the score.

The Flashes took advantage when Modkins made two free throws for an 81-78 advantage with 15 seconds left.

Johnson again got to the foul line, this time making both to cut Kent State’s lead to 81-80 with six seconds remaining.

The Flashes went ahead 84-80 on Katie Shumate’s three-point play, clinching the victory.

Johnson led Ohio with 29 points, making six 3-pointers. She had five assists and four rebounds.

Cece Hooks added 23 points and nine rebounds for Ohio. Gabby Burris had 12 points and six rebounds, while Madi Mace had six points. Caitlyn Kroll and Peyton Guice each tallied five points.

Kent State placed six players in double figures. Shumate led the way with 18 points, while Modkins tallied 15 points and seven assists. Casey Santoro and Clare Kelly each scored 14 points, while Nila Blackford had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Lindsey Thall had 11 points and four assists.

Kent State shot 44.6 percent for the game (25 of 56) including 16 of 28 (57.1 percent) from 3-point range.

Ohio shots 36.5 percent for the game, 23 for 63, including 13 of 34 from 3-point range.

Kent State led 20-16 after one quarter, and 38-33 at halftime.

Ohio tied the score at 47-47 with 5:13 left in the third after a Johnson 3-pointer.

Back-to-back Johnson 3s allowed Ohio to lead 60-58 with 1:09 left in the third. It started a 9-0 run that put Ohio ahead 63-58 after a Burris free throw with 49 seconds left in the third.

Shumate hit a 3 to close out the third quarter, ultimately starting an 11-0 run that allowed the Flashes to lead 69-63 after Kelly’s 3-pointer with 7:48 to play.

Kent State never lost that lead the rest of the way.

Ohio is scheduled to play at Northern Illinois on Wednesday at 7 p.m., before traveling to West Virginia on Sunday.

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