By Blake Moore
ADA — A late, ten-foot jump shot from the Purple Raiders' Rachel Tinkey proved to be the difference Saturday afternoon as the Ohio Northern women's basketball program fell in a tight-knit, 59-57 battle to Ohio Athletic Conference foe Mount Union inside the ONU Sports Center.
Late in the fourth quarter, the two sides drew even at 55-55 with 1:54 remaining in the contest. However, the visitors capitalized on a Polar Bear turnover moments later, racing down the court for a fastbreak lay-up to pull ahead during the game's late stages.
ONU would not go quietly as senior guard Alyssa Manley (Lima/Bath) responded with a pull-up jumper to level the scoreline at 57-all and force a Mount Union timeout.
Following the break, Tinkey received the ball on the right wing, drove toward the baseline, and drained the game-winning shot with one second remaining. The Polar Bears would receive one final opportunity to send the game into extra time, but senior Jenna Dirksen's (Beavercreek/Carroll) turnaround jump shot in the paint fell just short as time expired.
With the loss, Ohio Northern moves to 11-8 overall this season and to 5-7 against the conference loop. Meanwhile, the Purple Raiders end a three-game losing skid, improving to 14-5 overall and to 7-5 in the OAC.
Dirksen contributed a team-high 12 points in the conference affair on four-for-eight shooting, which included eight points in the fourth quarter. The senior also connected on all four free throws attempted, hauled in three rebounds, and recorded a steal.
Junior center Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local) and sophomore guard Emily Brock (Akron/Revere) each chipped in nine points Saturday afternoon. The former drained a team-high five free throws and also registered six rebounds and two assists. Meanwhile, the latter recorded her nine points on three-for-five shooting, including two made three-pointers, and added a rebound.
Senior forward Tori Wyss (Ada) paced Ohio Northern on the glass, bringing down a team-high eight rebounds.
As a team, Ohio Northern shot 45.2% (19-42) from the floor and drilled 16 free throws in the contest. The Purple Raiders shot at a 38.7% (24-62) shooting clip and outrebounded the Polar Bears 32-30.
ONU will return to action next Wednesday evening when the team travels to Baldwin Wallace for a midweek OAC showdown. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. inside Ursprung Gymnasium.