No. 24 Ohio Northern drops 85-68 decision to Marietta in OAC Tournament Championship

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By Caleb Scott

ADA — The No. 24-ranked Ohio Northern women's basketball team fell to No. 2-seeded Marietta 85-68 on Saturday afternoon in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament Championship game at the ONU Sports Center.

The Polar Bears fall to 23-5 overall, while the Pioneers move to 24-4 and earn the OAC's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Div. III Women's Basketball tournament with the victory.

Senior Amy Bullimore (Morrow/Little Miami) led the way for Northern with a game-high 24 points and a team-best nine rebounds.

Junior Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreek/Carroll) added nine points, five assists and three steals for Northern and senior Courtney Cramer (Arcadia) tallied nine points.

After trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half, Northern would cut the deficit to 40-36 at the intermission.

The two teams would exchange missed buckets to start the second half before a 3-pointer from Cramer and back-to-back layups from Bullimore gave ONU its first lead of the contest at 41-40 since the 6:32 mark of the first quarter.

ONU and Marietta would exchange leads over the course of the third quarter before back-to-back jumpers from Dirksen and a 3-pointer from senior Alexis Kirkbride (Zanesville/Bishop Rosecrans) gave Northern its largest lead of the second half at 55-49 with 2:05 remaining in the third quarter.

After an MC 3-pointer with 5 seconds left in the third quarter cut the lead to 55-53, Amisha Herd stole the ensuing inbound pass and completed an and-one to give Marietta a 56-55 edge heading into the final period.

A layup from sophomore Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local) knotted the game at 59-all with 7:47 left in the contest before Marietta used a quick 7-0 run to take a 66-59 lead.

Northern would get as close as three points with 5:07 left in the contest, but Marietta would go 6-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal their victory.

The Polar Bears shot 27-of-53 (50.9 percent) from the field and 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from 3-point range, while the Pioneers were 26-of-59 (44.1 percent) from the field, including 13-of-27 (48.1 percent) from 3-point range.

ONU outscored the visitors 35-26 in points in the paint.

The Polar Bears will await the NCAA III Selection Show on Monday, Feb. 26 at 2:30 pm to see if they earn an at large bid to the 2018 NCAA Div. III Women's Basketball Tournament.