By Caleb Scott
CHICAGO, Ill. — The No. 7-ranked Ohio Northern women's basketball team fell 67-66 in its season opener against area-rival Bluffton at the North Park (Ill.) Tip-Off Tournament on Friday evening.
The Polar Bears fall to 0-1 on the season, while the Beavers move to 1-0.
Northern was led offensively by seniors Amy Bullimore's (Morrow/Little Miami) 17 points, while senior Lindsey Black (Urbana/Graham) and junior Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreek/Carroll) added 12 points each.
Bullimore, Dirksen and freshman Sydney Ward (Columbus/Upper Arlington) each tallied a game-high eight rebounds.
Bullimore became the 15th Ohio Northern women's basketball member to eclipse the 1,000-point margin and moved into 14th place all-time on ONU's scoring list with the effort.
After Bluffton jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the first quarter, Northern used a 7-1 run to close the gap to 12-11. A layup from Ward with 34 seconds remaining in the first quarter pulled Northern within 16-15.
At the 9:40 mark in the second quarter, a layup from senior Courtney Cramer (Arcadia) gave Northern its first lead at 17-16. Bluffton would hit a 3-pointer with eight seconds left to knot the game at 29-all at halftime.
A buzzer beater from Dirksen allowed ONU to take a 48-41 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
After stretching its lead to as many as 11 points, ONU would see its lead shrink to 66-64 after a Bullimore free throw.
The Beavers were able to hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer to claim the victory.
ONU was 24-of-49 (49.0 percent) from the field, while Bluffton was 22-for-64 (34.4 percent) from the field.
Northern won the rebounding battle by a 51-26 margin.
The Polar Bears return to action tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm as they take on St. Mary's (Ind.) on the second day of the North Park (Ill.) Tip-Off Tournament.