Season Review: Women's Basketball advances to the Second Round of the NCAA III Tournament in 2016

Season Review: Women's Basketball advances to the Second Round of the NCAA III Tournament in 2016

By Ashley Birchmeier

ADA — The Ohio Northern women's basketball team made its third NCAA III Tournament appearance under 15th year head coach Michele Durand in 2015-16.

The Polar Bears finished the season 23-5 overall, won the Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season title with a 17-1 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA III Tournament.

Northern saw three members garner All-Conference honors. Junior Britt Lauck and sophomore Amy Bullimore were named First Team, while senior Carly Thomas earned Honorable Mention honors.

Lauck put together the best season of her career, leading the team in assists (3.4 apg) and three-pointers (32). She finished the season with a career-high 282 points.

Bullimore also posted a strong campaign, leading the team in scoring (12.9 ppg), rebounding (7.9 rpg) and blocks (1.6). For her efforts, Bullimore was named Second Team All-Great Lakes Region.

Thomas finished her career ranked 10th all-time in ONU career history in 3-point percentage (.367), 12th in assists (190), and 13th in 3-pointers made (77).

Off the court, ONU had five student/athletes named Academic All-OAC. Seniors Brooke Espenschied and Thomas earned their third honor, while junior Angela Tesny earned her second honor and sophomores Courtney Cramer and Cheyenne Raker both garnered their first honor.

ONU entered the season ranked No. 15 in the preseason poll and opened up its campaign with the Rochester (N.Y.) Chuck Resler Tournament.

The Polar Bears opened the tournament with a convincing win over St. Vincent (Pa.) 95-47 but would fall in the championship game to No. 16-ranked Rochester 75-62.

Northern would then go on to top Defiance 95-51, before dropping a 75-61 decision to the defending national champions Thomas More (Ky.).

After falling to Thomas More, ONU would go on to win 12 straight games, improving to 14-2 overall.

During the win streak, the Polar Bears went a perfect 10-0 in conference play defeating No. 22-ranked Capital 58-46 and Baldwin Wallace in a fourth quarter thriller 67-63 in the process.

In round two of conference play, Northern saw its win streak come to an end as they fell to No. 17-ranked Capital 58-45.

The Polar Bears would go on to win the final games of its regular season schedule to clinch the No. one seed and a double bye in the OAC Tournament.

Northern would fall to Baldwin Wallace in the Semifinal game, but still earned an at-large berth to the NCAA III Tournament.

ONU drew Denison in the NCAA III Tournament First Round and defeated the Big Red 62-53 after playing from behind for most of the contest.

The Polar Bears would advance to play No. 25-ranked Carnegie Mellon (Pa.) in the Second Round where they saw their season come to a close in a hard fought 68-65 decision.

This was Ohio Northern's seventh appearance in the NCAA III Tournament and second time advancing to the NCAA III Second Round.