Bullimore, Steffas lead No. 11-ranked Women's Basketball past Muskingum 68-53

Bullimore, Steffas lead No. 11-ranked Women's Basketball past Muskingum 68-53

By Ashley Birchmeier

ADA — The No. 11-ranked Ohio Northern women's basketball team downed Muskingum 68-53 Saturday afternoon at the ONU Sports Center to claim the OAC Regular Season Title outright.

With the win the Polar Bears will recieve a double bye in the OAC Tournament and will host a Semifinal match-up.

The Polar Bears improve to 20-3 overall, 15-1 Ohio Athletic Conference, while Muskingum falls to 5-17, 1-14.

Northern was led in the contest by sophomore Amy Bullimore and senior Karissa Steffas both finishing with double-doubles.

Bullimore recorded her third consecutive double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, while Steffas picked up her first double-double of the season, netting 13 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

Senior Carly Thomas finished the contest with a team-high 15 points for the Polar Bears.

In the opening period, ONU and Muskingum exchanged points for several minutes before back-to-back-to-back three pointers from sophomore Courtney Cramer put the Polar Bears on top 22-14 with 1:32 to play.

Freshman Jenna Dirksen would close out the first period as she hit a jumper as time expired giving ONU the 24-17 first quarter advantage.

The Polar Bears would extend its lead once more in the second quarter as a three-pointer from senior Brooke Espenschied with 4:40 to play would extend the Polar Bear lead to 36-23.

The Fighting Muskies would respond moments later as a three-pointer from Olivia Besancon would spark a Muskingum 8-0 run, pulling the Fighting Muskies within 39-33 at the intermission.

Norhtern would open the second half with a 10-0 run led by Thomas to extend its lead once more to 49-35 with 5:06 to play in the third.

The Polar Bears would go on to out score Muskingum by a 17-11 margin in the third quarter to take the 56-44 advantage.

Muskingum would cut the deficit to 56-46 with 8:27 to play but ONU held strong finishing the contest shooting 76.9% from the free-throw line en route to the 68-53 victory.

"I am very happy for the ladies and winning the OAC Regular Season Championship," said head coach Michele Durand. 

Northern won the rebound battle, out rebounding the Fighting Muskies by a 43-29 margin. 

The Polar Bears return to action Wednesday at 7:30 pm as they celebrate senior day and welcome Baldwin Wallace to the ONU Sports Center.