By Blake Moore
MEADVILLE. Pa. — The Ohio Northern women's basketball team capped off an undefeated opening weekend with a 74-56 victory over tournament host Allegheny (Pa.) Saturday afternoon in the Allegheny Tip-Off Tournament, giving head women's basketball coach Michele Durand her 300th victory in her 18-year tenure at ONU.
Coach Durand now stands at 300-163 in her coaching career at Northern, which equates to a .648 winning percentage, making her the winningest coach in program history. She owns 421 career victories overall, which includes her time at ONU and an 11-year stint at nearby NCAA Division III institution Bluffton.
With the victory, the Polar Bears improve to 2-0 overall in the early 2018-19 season. Meanwhile, the Gators fell to 1-2 overall after dropping both contests this weekend.
Ohio Northern would benefit from four scorers in double-figures, including an impressive 17-point scoring outburst from junior Jaclyn Yankle (Youngstown/Cardinal Mooney) off the bench. In 23 minutes, the Youngstown native went six-for-nine from the floor and three-for-four from beyond the arc. In addition, Yankle would tie junior center Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local) for the team lead in rebounds, grabbing a career-high eight boards in the victory.
Senior Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreek/Carroll) would notch her second straight double-figure outing with 14 points while also tallying four rebounds and three assists. Junior guard Abby Weeks (West Chester/Mount Notre Dame) and sophomore guard Emily Brock (Akron/Revere) each chipped in 11 points to round out the double-digit efforts.
Meanwhile, Rylee Donovan would lead the Gator efforts, topping the team with 17 points, five assists, and five steals in the contest.
In the first quarter, Northern would find themselves trailing 9-4 midway through the frame in a tightly-contested affair inside the David V. Wise Center. The Polar Bears would then rattle off a 9-0 run to provide them with a lead they would not surrender and take control in the tournament finale.
Following the halftime break, Northern would look to build on the 34-22 advanatage they had built prior to the intermission. The Gators would try to close the gap within the final 20 minutes, but ONU fended off the comeback attempt and outscore their opponents by six in the second half to ensure a perfect record through their first weekend.
Ohio Northern will now turn its focus to the 2018-19 home opener, which is slated for Tuesday night inside the ONU Sports Center against area-rival Defiance. The Polar Bears and Yellow Jackets will battle it out on Campoli Court beginning with a 5:30 P.M. tipoff.