ONU pulls away in second half

First Posted: 2/4/2015

ADA — Many coaches hesitate to label a loss as a “good loss.”

However, invariably, every coach wants their team to learn from a loss.

After Ohio Northern University lost on the road to Ohio Athletic Conference-foe John Carroll this past Saturday, 63-49, ONU women’s basketball coach Michele Durand wanted her team to get refocused.

The Polar Bears responded against visiting Wilmington on Wednesday night at the ONU Sports Center.

ONU got off to a slow start in the first half, but then pulled away in big fashion in the second half for a convincing 73-42 win over Wilmington.

It was ONU’s defensive effort that paved the way for the victory.

The Polar Bears (15-5, 11-2 OAC) helped force 23 Wilmington turnovers and held the Quakers to 27-percent shooting for the game.

“We had sort of a tough-love practice on Monday,” Durand said. “It was a butt whipping last week (against John Carroll). We needed to be challenged again. And they answered the challenge.”

Coming into Wednesday’s contest, the Polar Bears were sitting in a three-way tie for the lead in the OAC, along with John Carroll and Baldwin Wallace.

Against Wilmington (11-9, 6-7), four players scored in double figures for ONU.

Amy Bullimore led the Polar Bears with 12 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Kimes scored 11 points and had three blocks. Karissa Steffas and Carly Thomas each added 10 points for ONU.

Shawnee graduate Britt Lauck came off the bench and scored seven points in 12 minutes of action. The 5-foot-7 sophomore guard scored all of her points in the first half.

“We just came off a tough loss,” Lauck said. “What we talked about in the locker room before the game was about being tougher, both physically and mentally. I think everyone stepped up and got a lot tougher and really took it to them.”

ONU struggled, offensively, in the early part of the game.

However, the Polar Bears managed to pull out to a 27-16 lead by the halftime break.

In the opening moments of the second half, Wilmington came out strong, cutting the deficit to 29-22.

But that would be the closest the Quakers would come.

ONU got it going at the offensive end and at the defensive end, wreaked havoc on Wilmington’s ball handlers. In the second half, Wilmington turned the ball over 13 times.

The Polar Bears stretched the lead out to 32 points, 68-36, with 6:10 left to play in the game, on a 3-pointer by Kimes (2-for-2 from behind the arc).

Durand was pleased at the effort from her team.

“I actually wasn’t unhappy with the first 10 minutes (of the game),” Durand said. “Offensively, it wasn’t great, but I thought our effort was outstanding. We just couldn’t put the ball into the ocean. But, when you’re still in the game and that’s happening, then that makes me happy.”

Wilmington had just one player score in double figures. Spencer Robles led the Quakers with 12 points and six boards.

For the game, ONU shot 48 percent from the field and 83 percent from the free throw line.

The Polar Bears won the battle on the boards, 40-33.

“Overall, I thought it was a really good team win,” Durand said. “A lot of people stepped up and I’m just proud of everybody.”

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