By: Jay Garneau
ADA -- The Ohio Northern women's basketball team came up just short in a thrilling 72-68 battle against No. 7-ranked Mount Union in Ohio Athletic Conference action at the ONU Sports Center on Saturday afternoon.
ONU falls to 19-4 overall and 13-3 in the OAC, while the Purple Raiders improve to 22-1 overall and 15-1 in the league.
Junior Katie Mengos was one of four Polar Bears to score in double figures, as she scored a season-high 13 points, going 5-for-6 from the field and 3-for-4 from behind the arc, also pulling down five rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Fellow junior Morgan Dumbaugh scored a team-high 16 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Mount Union's Rosa LaMattina led all scorers with 22 points, shooting 9-for-17 from the floor.
The Polar Bears went on runs of 11-0 and 9-0 in the first half, helping them gain a 25-16 lead with 6:52 remaining.
Mount Union ended the half on a 12-2 run, though, as a Tierney Allen layup in the final minute gave them a 28-27 advantage into the break, the team's first lead in nearly 15 minutes.
After Yoder scored the first two points of the second half, the Purple Raiders went on another spurt, this time outscoring ONU 14-1 over the next three minutes to take a 42-30 lead, the biggest margin of the game, with 16:59 to play.
Minutes later, four different ONU players scored during a 10-0 run to tie the game at 45-all with 12:28 remaining.
With Mount Union holding a 56-55 lead at the 7:31 mark, Dumbaugh and Mengos hit three-pointers and freshman Jordan Kimes connected on a layup to give ONU an 8-0 run and a 63-56 lead, its biggest of the contest, with 5:36 left in the game.
After calling a timeout, Mount Union scored four quick points to make the score 63-60 at the 3:56 mark.
A fast break layup from Dysert pushed ONU's lead back to 65-60 with 3:08 to play, but the Purple Raiders took over from there.
Five different Mount Union players scored during the 11-0 run, a span in which Northern committed four turnovers in less than two minutes.
The Purple Raiders held a 71-65 lead after Allen hit a pair of free throws, but a three-pointer from Kimes with 17 seconds left gave ONU another burst of life.
Ohio Northern forced a turnover, but missed a three-pointer that would have tied the game, and a Mount Union free throw extended the lead to a two-possession game.
The teams were closely matched in many statistical categories, but Mount Union held the advantage in offensive rebounding (13-6) and free-throw shooting (14-for-16, 87.5 percent to 7-for-11, 63.6 percent), which was a key difference in the game.
ONU shot the ball better overall, going 26-for-52 (50.0 percent) from the field and 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) from three-point range, compared to 25-for-58 (43.1 percent) and 8-for-23 (34.8 percent) from distance for the Purple Raiders.
Mount Union also locked up the top seed in next week's OAC Tournament, while Ohio Northern clinched the second seed, first round and quarterfinal rounbd byes and a home game in the semifinal round.
Northern will wrap up its 2011-12 regular season with a pair of road games this week, first with a trip to Wilmington on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., followed to a game at Baldwin-Wallace on Saturday at 2 p.m.