ADA — The Ohio Northern women's basketball team used a dominanting defense in the second half to defeat Otterbein 66-58 in a key Ohio Athletic Conference game Wednesday night at the ONU Sports Center.
The Polar Bears improve to 15-3 overall and 9-2 in the league to maintain their second-place position in the OAC, while the Cardinals fall to 13-5 overall and 7-4 in the conference.
Junior Morgan Dumbaugh scored 17 first half points to keep ONU in the game, and finished with 19 points and six boards.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle, as neither team grabbed a lead of more than five points during a period that featured seven lead changes and five ties.
After Otterbein took a 40-37 lead into the half, Ohio Northern outscored the Cardinals 29-18 in the second half to pull out the win.
The Cardinals pushed its lead back up to five points, 46-41, five minutes into the second half.
In the next seven minutes, junior Joanna Snyder scored all nine of her points during a 14-2 ONU run as the Polar Bears took a 55-48 lead, their biggest of the game at that point.
After an Otterbein layup, ONU again responded quickly as sophomore Cenzie Yoder put in a layup of her own and fellow sophomore Sara Kocian connected from deep to give Northern a 60-50 lead at the 5:24 mark.
The Cardinals were unable to get back into the game, as they were just 1-for-11 from the field in the waning minutes until a Hannah Day trey at the buzzer closed out the game, giving ONU a 66-58 win.
Ohio Northern's defense limited Otterbein to just 7-for-34 (20.6 percent) from the field and 2-for-12 (16.7 percent) from long distance in the second half after the Cardinals started the game 15-for-30 (50 percent) from the floor and 7-for-11 (63.6 percent) from 3-point range in the first period.
The Polar Bears finished the game 23-for-54 (42.6 percent) from the field, 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) from long range, and 12-for-13 (92.3 percent) from the charity stripe.
Yoder finished with 10 points and five rebounds, while Snyder added seven boards and four assists in addition to her nine points.
Otterbein's Kristi Kotterman, the conference's second-highest scorer, was limited to just two points on 1-for-14 shooting, but still managed to pull down a game-high 12 rebounds.
Shea McCoy and Hannah Day led the Cardinals with 17 and 15 points, respectively.
"Our transition defense improved tremendously in the second half," head coach Michele Durand said. "This was a good win against a tough Otterbein team and gives us a little room to breathe in the OAC race."
The Polar Bears remain at home Saturday as the team hosts John Carroll in another conference game, with tip-off slated for 3 p.m. The team will also welcome back the program's former players for alumni weekend.