By Caleb Scott
ADA — The No. 24-ranked Ohio Northern women's basketball team fell to No. 2-seeded Marietta 85-68 on Saturday afternoon in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament Championship game at the ONU Sports Center.
The Polar Bears fall to 23-5 overall, while the Pioneers move to 24-4 and earn the OAC's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Div. III Women's Basketball tournament with the victory.
Senior Amy Bullimore (Morrow/Little Miami) led the way for Northern with a game-high 24 points and a team-best nine rebounds.
Bullimore and sophomore Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local) were named to the All-Tournament Team.
After trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half, Northern would cut the deficit to 40-36 at the intermission.
The two teams would exchange missed buckets to start the second half before a 3-pointer from Cramer and back-to-back layups from Bullimore gave ONU its first lead of the contest at 41-40 since the 6:32 mark of the first quarter.
ONU and Marietta would exchange leads over the course of the third quarter before back-to-back jumpers from Dirksen and a 3-pointer from senior Alexis Kirkbride (Zanesville/Bishop Rosecrans) gave Northern its largest lead of the second half at 55-49 with 2:05 remaining in the third quarter.
After an MC 3-pointer with 5 seconds left in the third quarter cut the lead to 55-53, Amisha Herd stole the ensuing inbound pass and completed an and-one to give Marietta a 56-55 edge heading into the final period.
A layup from Mescher knotted the game at 59-all with 7:47 left in the contest before Marietta used a quick 7-0 run to take a 66-59 lead.
Northern would get as close as three points with 5:07 left in the contest, but Marietta would go 6-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal their victory.
The Polar Bears shot 27-of-53 (50.9 percent) from the field and 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from 3-point range, while the Pioneers were 26-of-59 (44.1 percent) from the field, including 13-of-27 (48.1 percent) from 3-point range.
ONU outscored the visitors 35-26 in points in the paint.
The Polar Bears will await the NCAA III Selection Show on Monday, Feb. 26 at 2:30 pm to see if they earn an at large bid to the 2018 NCAA Div. III Women's Basketball Tournament.