ADA — The Ohio Northern women have been rolling through their Ohio Athletic Conference competition all year, but Wednesday’s opponent was an Otterbein team that had been on a pretty impressive hot streak itself, as winners of 10 in a row.
However, Ohio Northern (19-1, 13-0) shut down Otterbein (16-6, 10-3) 65-42 to help the Polar Bears extend their school-record winning streak to 18 in a row.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” ONU coach Michele Durand said. “The way we look at it, its another OAC game against a tough opponent. We knew they were playing well, so we had to be on our game tonight.”
Both teams came out of the gates very strong defensively, with Otterbein actually leading throughout the first 12 minutes of the game. ONU put together a good run in the final minutes of the first half, and carried a tight 29-24 lead into halftime.
As the second half started, ONU did what it seems to typically be able to do — let its defensive adjustments help it open up a big lead. Otterbein struggled in a big way to get its shots to fall, while ONU began to come up with 3-pointers and foul shots left and right. Before long, the once tight, back and forth contest turned into the Cardinals watching their deficit grow bigger and bigger.
“The defense was the key in the second half,” Durand said. “They played a little better than they did in the first half. We didn’t give up hardly any 3s, and we did a good job guarding the basket.”
ONU actually watched its shot production fall slightly in the second half, from 31 percent to 28 percent. However, Otterbein took a huge punch offensively from half to half, seeing its production fall from 44 percent all the way to 21 percent.
ONU was 9-for-19 from behind the arc in the game, and 20-for-25 from the free throw line, including 16-of-17 down the stretch in the second half.
Morgan Dumbaugh stepped up and led the Polar Bears with 17 points. Cenzie Yoder scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds, and Taylor Hermiller finished with 8 points. Katie Mengos had seven points, six rebounds and three steals.
Otterbein took perhaps their biggest hit with its leading scorer, Hannah Day, being held scoreless in the game. Madi Miller led the Cardinals with nine points, while Tabatha Piper scored eight points while grabbing 11 rebounds.