By Scott Beaton
BEXLEY — Senior Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreek/Carroll) netted a career-high 24 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds for her first career double-double in a 68-65 loss at Capital at the Capital Center on Friday evening.
Dirksen was 8-for-16 from the floor and 4-for-8 from 3-point range to lead the Polar Bears (10-7 overall, 4-6 Ohio Athletic Conference).
ONU also got 12 points from junior Abby Weeks (West Chester/Mount Notre Dame), 10 points and eight rebounds from junior Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local) and eight points from freshman Lexi Jacobs (Wapakoneta).
The Crusaders (11-6, 6-4) received 20-point scoring efforts from Elle Folan and Emma Burns in the victory.
CU raced out to an 18-6 edge after five minutes of action before closing the first quarter up 29-21.
A step-back jumper two seconds before the halftime buzzer capped a 17-point first-half performance by Dirksen as the Polar Bears pulled within 38-33 after 20 minutes of play.
Back-and-forth action ensued throughout the third quarter with the Crusaders taking a 56-49 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer by Weeks with 6:14 remaining brought ONU to within 58-55.
Mescher converted a lay up off a Weeks assist with 1:58 to go, cutting the CU lead to 64-63.
The Crusaders responded with a basket with 26 seconds to go up 66-63.
Following a missed ONU 3-point attempt with 15 seconds to go, two free throws from Capital's Folan iced the game for the Crusaders.
The Polar Bears made 25-of-59 attempts from the floor for 42.4 percent and tied a season high with 50 percent shooting from 3-points range at 9-of-18. The Crusaders shot 22-for-48 from the floor for 45.8 percent and were 8-for-19 on 3-pointers for 42.1 percent.
ONU will return to action on Wednesday at Wilmington in a 7 p.m. game.