By Blake Moore
TIFFIN — The Ohio Northern women's basketball program dropped a heartbreaking 82-77 decision in overtime to Ohio Athletic Conference rival Heidelberg Wednesday evening to wrap up the team's pre-Christmas slate inside Sieberling Gymnasium in Tiffin, Ohio.
With the loss, the Polar Bears move to 6-4 overall and to 1-4 in OAC action this season. Meanwhile, the Student Princes rise to 5-5 overall and 2-3 against the conference circuit.
The former would go six-for-fifteen from the floor for a 40% shooting clip and add six points from the charity stripe in seven attempts for her third 20-or-more point outing this season. The senior would also provide five rebounds, an assist, and a block in the conference affair.
Mescher finished the evening shooting an efficient eight-for-thirteen to tie her career-high point total. Additionally, she chipped in four rebounds and a steal to aid the Polar Bear efforts.
Senior forward Tori Wyss (Ada) and junior guard Abby Weeks (West Chester/Mount Notre Dame) each tallied eight rebounds in the contest. They would lead ONU to a 40-38 edge on the glass, which included ten offensive rebounds for the Polar Bears on the evening.
Additionally, Wyss nailed a game-tying three-point field goal as regulation time expired, sending the contest into the overtime period.
For the Student Princes, guard Alyssa Riley posted a game-high 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting to pace the home side in the victory.
In the first quarter, Ohio Northern bolted out to a 5-0 advantage early due to an Alyssa Manley (Lima/Bath) three-pointer and a layup from sophomore Sydney Ward (Columbus/Upper Arlington), who made her first career start Wednesday. With under four minutes to go in the period, the Polar Bears pushed the lead out to seven, their largest lead of the night, with a 13-6 scoreline following a Mescher layup. Heidelberg would go on to cut the lead to just three after the first ten minutes had concluded.
The Student Princes kept the contest close into the second frame, allowing the home side to eventually claim their first lead (26-25) with 3:41 left in the period. A tight-knit, back-and-forth battle continued throughout the stanza, but Northern would hold the upper hand with a 38-33 halftime lead heading into the locker rooms.
Following the break, HU rattled off the first five points in the half with just one minute played in the period to draw level at 38-38. Heidelberg would utilize a short six-point run midway through the third quarter to regain control on their home court, putting the Student Princes up 48-42 with 4:20 left in the stanza. Moments later, the Polar Bears responded with a seven-point run of their own, culminating with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Emily Brock (Akron/Revere) to bring the teams to a 51-51 stalemate through three frames.
Down the stretch, Northern trailed 69-66 with eight seconds to go in regulation when the Polar Bears utilized a timeout to stop the clock. Brock would find Wyss on the ensuing play for a game-tying three-pointer as time expired to keep the competitive affair alive with extra time.
Northern would keep the game close at hand in the overtime period, but the Student Princes scored the final six points in the contest, capped with two free throws from Madelyn Crawford to seal the 82-77 conference victory for the Student Princes.
The Polar Bears will now break from action until the next week following the holidays. Ohio Northern will return to action and compete in the annual D3hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 27 and 28. They are scheduled to face off against Carthage (Wis.) and Willamette (Ore.) with 5 p.m. start times both days.