By Blake Moore
CLEVELAND — The Ohio Northern women's basketball program upended in-state foe Case Western Reserve 71-57 Wednesday evening inside Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio, claiming their fifth successive victory to kick off the 2018-19 campaign.
The Polar Bears, who move to 5-0 overall, received 20 points from senior guard Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreek/Carroll) and double-double efforts from junior forward Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local) and senior forward Tori Wyss (Ada) in the win.
Dirksen led all scorers in the contest and secured her second straight 20-or-more point outing following her career-high 22-point showing against Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday. The senior would go seven-for-seventeen from the floor and four-for-five from the charity stripe. She would also chip in a team-high five assists, three rebounds, and a steal in the winning effort.
Meanwhile, Mescher recorded her second career double-double and first of the 2018-19 season after tallying a career-high 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Spartans. The Maria Stein native would finish eight-for-twelve shooting on the evening in 30 minutes on the floor.
Wyss also posted her first career double-double Wednesday night, tossing in 11 points and hauling in 11 rebounds for the Orange and Black. The senior would prove efficient as she finished five-for-six on the day and dished out two assists to help the offensive barrage.
Sophomore Emily Brock (Akron/Revere) would round out the double-digit scoring efforts for the Polar Bears after posting 10 points, which included two buckets from beyond the arc.
Case Western Reserve dropped their first game in the new campaign, falling to 4-1 overall. Senior guard/forward Hillary Hellmann paced the home side with 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Early in the first quarter, the two programs exchanged buckets through the first three minutes. The Spartans scored first, jumping out to a 2-0 lead, and regained the advantage with a 4-2 scoreline.
Northern then rattled off a 13-2 run that spanned the next four minutes to take a commanding lead in the opening frame, an advantage they would not concede throughout the remainder of the non-conference contest. The Polar Bears would go on to build their edge to 10 before the first period buzzer sounded.
The offensive surge continued into the second period as ONU opened the frame with a brief 9-3 run, giving the visitors a 30-14 lead, the largest point spread on the evening. CWRU would slowly regain momentum inside their home gymnasium, cutting the lead to just nine headed to the locker rooms.
In the second half, Case Western Reserve would trim the lead to just two at 50-48 with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter. Dirksen quickly responded with a three-pointer moments later, sparking a 9-0 run that extended into the final stanza. The late streak would allow Ohio Northern to pull away from their hosts to capture the road victory.
As a team, the Polar Bears shot 43.3% from the floor while going 35.3% from long range. Northern would continue its current string of strong defensive outings, holding the home side to just 35% shooting, and out-rebound the Spartans 45-38 in the contest.
The Polar Bears will now turn their attention to the Ohio Athletic Conference schedule opener, which is set for Saturday, December 1 at Mount Union. Game time is set for 3 p.m. inside the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex in Alliance, Ohio.