By Scott Beaton
ALLIANCE — The Ohio Northern women's basketball team came up on the wrong side of a 77-58 decision in its Ohio Athleic Conference-opening contest at Mount Union on Saturday afternoon at the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.
Both teams entered at 5-0 as the Polar Bears fall to 5-1 overall and 0-1 in OAC play and the Purple Raiders improve to 6-0, 1-0 on the season.
Senior Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreek/Carroll) had 11 points and was 4-for-5 from the field to lead the ONU offense.
Four different Polar Bears recorded five rebounds apiece as ONU held a 41-32 advantage on the glass.
Rachel Tinkey led the Purple Raiders with 17 points.
Northern held the lead for the nearly four minutes throughout the first quarter before Mount Union took a 10-9 lead it would never relinquish with 6:09 to go in the period.
The Purple Raiders used an 11-0 run with 1:52 left in the first stanza to stretch their lead to 22-11 at the 7:21 mark in the second quarter.
A free throw from Stahler would cut the deficit to 35-28 at the half.
Mount made 10 third period field goals, including five 3-pointers, to take a 61-41 advantage after 30 minutes of play.
Hale and Stahler each scored five points in the fourth quarter as the Polar Bears outscored the Purple Raiders 17-16 in the final period.
Ohio Northern made 20-of-52 field goal attempts for 38.5 percent and was 7-of-24 from 3-point range for 29.2 percent, while Mount Union was 29-of-67 from the floor for 43.3 percent and made 15-of-29 three-pointers for 51.7 percent.
Ohio Northern will look to bounce back on Wednesday as it hosts OAC-foe Wilimington at the ONU Sports Center at 7 p.m.