By Blake Moore
ADA — The Ohio Northern women's basketball program trailed the visiting Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets 30-15 at the halftime break, but outscored the OAC foe 38-16 over the final 20 minutes to send the 150-plus spectators inside the ONU Sports Center home happy on Wednesday evening.
With the come-from-behind victory, the Polar Bears climb to 9-5 overall and to 3-4 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Meanwhile, Baldwin Wallace drops to 10-4 on the season and to 4-3 against the OAC circuit.
Sophomore guard Emily Brock (Akron/Revere) played a pivotal role in the conference victory, leading all scorers with a career-high 16 points Wednesday night. She would shoot five-for-nine from the floor, which included four three-point field goals and a two-for-two effort at the charity stripe that helped ice the game late in the fourth quarter.
The Polar Bears also received a double-digit scoring effort from senior guard Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreek/Carroll), who pitched in 10 points to the winning effort. Additionally, she would tie classmate Tori Wyss (Ada) atop the team's statistical charts with four assists while recording three rebounds, a block, and a steal.
The Yellow Jackets were paced by guard Mary Schentur, who recorded 11 total points on an efficient four-for-five shooting effort that included a perfect three-for-three clip from beyond the arc.
In the opening period, the two sides would exchange leads on four separate occasions and see the score tied twice over the first 10 minutes. The Polar Bears would lead twice in the stanza when an Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local) free throw put the home side up 3-2 and following a Martrina Parks (Columbus/Thomas Worthington) jump shot to make the score 6-5.
Northern began to struggle offensively during the second period, shooting just one-for-fifteen in the frame. The Yellow Jackets were able to capitalize on the cold shooting spell as they put together a 10-0 run over the final six minutes in the period to push their lead out to fifteen before the teams headed to the locker rooms.
A revitalized Polar Bear squad would return from the intermission and rally back to within just eight points via a 7-0 run to open the second half. Junior Abby Weeks (West Chester/Mount Notre Dame) would lead off the period with a layup followed by a Dirksen three-pointer and a Mescher layup from inside the paint over the first two minutes. Ohio Northern would outscore their guests 20-10 in the third frame, closing the gap to just five before the final 10 minutes ensued.
In the final frame, Northern would score the first six points, allowing the home team to take their first lead since the opening period at 41-40 after Dirksen made two successive free throws at the 6:37 mark. Moments later, Brock hit a critical three-pointer to take a 44-42 lead and send the Polar Bears on a brief 8-2 run, which she capped with another three-point field goal with 2:33 left in regulation. Senior guard Alyssa Manley (Lima/Bath) and Brock would each hit a pair of free throws down the stretch, ensuring the seven-point victory Wednesday night.
Ohio Northern is slated to return to action this Saturday, January 12 when the program hosts OAC foe Marietta in the first contest of a women's-men's basketball doubleheader. The women are scheduled to tipoff at 3 p.m. while the men will follow at roughly 5 p.m. inside the ONU Sports Center in Ada.