By Caleb Scott
MARIETTA — It took 50 minutes, including two overtime periods for the No. 21-ranked Ohio Northern women's basketball team to grind out a 93-85 victory over Marietta and claim the Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season title outright on Saturday afternoon at Ban Johnson Arena.
The Polar Bears move to 21-4 overall and 15-3 in the OAC, while the Pioneers fall to 21-4, 14-4.
With the victory, Northern claimed the OAC Regular Season title outright for the fourth straight season and will own the No. 1 seed in next weeks OAC Tournament.
Senior Amy Bullimore (Morrow/Little Miami) had another monster game to lead the way for ONU as she tallied a team-best 25 points and added a game-best 16 rebounds to pace the Polar Bears.
The Polar Bears also got a career-high 15 points from junior Alyssa Manley (Lima/Bath), while senior Alexis Kirkbride (Zanesville/Bishop Rosecrans) and sophomore Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local) each added 12 points for ONU.
Mescher also grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds to record her first career double-double in the victory.
Clinging to a 68-66 lead with 1:22 remaining in the contest, ONU gave up a layup and could not score over the final 1:19 of regulation as the game went into overtime.
Marietta controlled most of the first overtime period, pushing its lead to as many as five points on two occasions.
After an MC free throw with 10 seconds left in the first OT period gave Marietta a 79-76 lead, Bullimore would find the opportune time to connect on her first 3-pointer of the season as senior Lindsey Black (Urbana/Graham) found her for a 3-pointer with four seconds left in the overtime period to force a second overtime.
Kirkbride hit two key 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the final period of play, including a dagger with 2:27 left in the contest that gave ONU an 87-83 lead with just 2:27 left in the contest.
After Marietta closed the gap to 87-85, Northern would go 6-of-6 from the free throw line to seal the victory and claim the OAC Regular Season title.
Northern shot 27-of-67 (40.3 percent) from the field, including 13-of-22 (59.1 percent) from 3-point range, while Marietta was 33-of-81 (40.7 percent) from the field and 6-of-29 (20.7 percent) from 3-point range.
ONU won the rebounding battle by a 54-39 margin outscored the hosts 46-22 in bench points.
The Polar Bears return to action as the No. 1 seed in next weeks OAC Tournament and will take on No. 8 seed Wilmington in the opening round of the tournament at 6 pm as part of a double header with the men's basketball team.