By Caleb Scott
ADA — No. 5-ranked Ohio Northern defeated Lakeland (Wis.) 68-36 in the First Round of the NCAA Division III Women's basketball Tournament on Friday night at the ONU Sports Center.
The Polar Bears improve to 28-0, while the Muskies end their season at 20-8.
Ohio Northern will advance to the Second Round on Saturday at 7:30 pm and will face No. 15 Trine (ind.), who edged Illinois Wesleyan 63-56 in the first game of on Friday.
Junior Amy Bullimore (Morrow/Little Miami) led the Polar Bears as she posted a game-high 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Senior Britt Lauck (Lima/Shawnee) had an impressive stat line as she tallied 10 points and added seven rebounds and six assists.
Sophomore Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreek/Carroll) chipped in 10 points and added five rebounds and four assists.
Junior Courtney Cramer (Arcadia) posted a team-high eight rebounds.
The game marked the first time in nine NCAA Tournament appearances that ONU hosted a game, and it did so in front of a school-record crowd of 846.
"We were a bit nervous early on, but once we got running a bit we settled down," ONU head coach Michele Durand said. "Once we settled down we got going and did a good job of attacking their zone."
"It was a crazy experience, playing in front of such a great crowd," Lauck said. "We were glad to be home with all of our fans supporting us."
The Polar Bears used a 7-0 run over the final 1:09 of the second quarter to take a 37-20 lead at intermission.
ONU scored the first three points of the third quarter to extend the lead to 40-20 and led 55-32 after 30 minutes of play.
The lead grew to as many as 67-34 as the Polar Bears emptied the bench in the final three minutes.
Ohio Northern made 28-of-60 field goal attempts for 46.7 percent and were 6-of-14 from 3-point range for 42.9 percent, while Lakeland was 14-of-61 from the floor for 23.0 percent and was 4-of-32 from beyond the 3-point arc for 12.5 percent.
The Polar Bears won the rebounding battle by a 45-34 margin.
Northern will take on No. 15-ranked Trine (Ind.) tomorrow evening at the ONU Sports Center with a 7:30 pm tipoff.