By: Caleb Scott
ADA - The Ohio Northern Women's basketball team claimed the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season title on Senior Day Sunday afternoon, as they defeated Marietta 51-48 at the ONU Sports Center.
The Polar Bears conclude regular season play at 20-5 overall and 16-2 in Ohio Athletic Conference play while Marietta finished 9-16, 5-13.
Senior Jordan Kimes' double-double led the Polar Bears as she finished with a game-high 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Junior Carly Thomas also scored a game-high 16 points and had two key steals for Northern.
With the victory, the Polar Bears won the OAC regular season title, and earned the No. 1 seed in the OAC tournament.
Northern will receive a double-bye in the tournament and host a semi-final game at the ONU Sports Center Thursday evening at 7:30 pm.
Northern found themselves in a hole early on in the contest as they fell behind 24-11 with 5:49 remaining in the first half.
After two free throws from freshman Amy Bullimore and a jumper by Thomas, the Polar Bears were within 24-15 with 4:47 remaining in the first half.
Two 3-pointers by the Pioneers would give Marietta its biggest lead of the afternoon at 32-18 with 1:48 remaining in the first period.
Kimes would hit two free throws to end the half and cut the deficit to 32-20 at the break.
The Polar Bears started the second half quick, as a 5-0 run keyed by a three pointer from Thomas and a layup from Kimes would pull Northern within 32-25 with 15:45 remaining in the contest.
After Marietta went on a quick 4-0 run of their own, Northern would go on a 17-7 run to pull within 43-42 with 5:58 remaining in the contest.
Northern would regain the lead after Thomas took a pass from junior Brooke Espenschied and nailed a 3-pointer to give the Polar Bears the 45-43 lead.
After an answer from Marietta knotted the game at 45-45, Thomas would hit another three pointer to give Northern the lead for good as they went on to win 51-48.
"I told the girls at halftime to just keep fighting," said Head Coach Michelle Durand. "This is a very tough Ohio Athletic Conference and it's a great feeling to be able to win outright."
ONU went 18-of-53 from the field (34.0 percent), while Marietta went 18-of-51 (35.3 percent) from the field.
Northern won the rebounding battle 44-30, with 17 of those being offensive boards.
The Polar Bears will return to action as they host a semi-final game as the No.1 seed in the OAC Tournament, Thursday evening at 7:30 at the ONU Sports Center.