By Blake Moore
ADA — The Ohio Northern women's basketball program roared back from a 12-point halftime deficit, outscoring the visiting Wilmington Quakers 45-25 in the second half to knock off their midweek OAC visitors 75-67 and even their 2018-19 conference record inside the ONU Sports Center in Ada, Ohio.
With the victory, the Polar Bears move to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference this season. Meanwhile, the Quakers drop to 4-3 overall and 0-2 in league play.
Northern would see three players reach double-figure scoring in the conference affair, including senior guard Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreek/Carroll) who tallied a team-high 18 points in the victory. The former All-OAC honoree would also register a team-best four assists while shooting seven-for-fifteen from the floor and adding four rebounds.
Junior center Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local) and sophomore guard Emily Brock (Akron/Revere) each chipped in 14 points to the winning effort, rounding out the night's double-figure scorers for the Polar Bears.
Mescher posted her fourth game this season with 10-or-more points on an impressive seven-for-nine shooting clip. In addition, the junior center topped the rebounding charts for both teams, hauling in nine boards on the evening, and recorded two assists.
In her first career start, Brock posted a new career-high with her 14-point outing Wednesday night, which included shooting four-for-eight from beyond the arc. The second-year also dished out two assists and recorded a rebound for the home side.
Sophomore center Faith Teagarden would lead the Quakers in the conference contest, tossing in a team-best 17 points while hauling in four rebounds.
The Polar Bears struggled early from the floor, shooting just five-for-fifteen in the first quarter Wednesday evening. However, Northern would keep the contest close and hold a narrow 10-8 edge six minutes into the game. From there, the Quakers rattled off nine straight points over the next three minutes to take a 17-10 advantage before extending their lead to 10 before the first period buzzer sounded.
ONU began to heat up from the floor in the second period, shooting an improved 57.1% in the frame. Despite the offensive success, Wilmington battled the home team step-for-step as the half came to a close, pushing their lead to 14 points with 1:12 remaining before the intermission.
After returning from the locker rooms, the Polar Bears erupted for 28 points on a 61% shooting clip in the third stanza. Dirksen knocked down a jumper to kick off the second half, sparking an 8-0 run to cut the Quaker lead to 42-40 within the first five minutes. With the score tied at 48 moments later, the Orange and Black would take command with a 10-4 run to close the third period, capped by a buzzer-beating three-pointer from freshman Lexi Jacobs (Wapakoneta).
The strong second half surge would continute into the final period as Northern posted 17 points over the final 10 minutes of Wednesday's contest. The Polar Bears would stretch their lead out to a game-high 12 points with 5:15 remaining, allowing ONU to secure their first conference win this season.
Ohio Northern is set to return to action this Saturday, December 8 when they host the Capital Crusaders for an Ohio Athletic Conference battle. Game time is set for 3 p.m. inside the ONU Sports Center in Ada, Ohio.