By Scott Beaton
MARIETTA — The Ohio Northern women's basketball team battled back from a 34-15 deficit with 6:50 to go in the second quarter, but were ultimately edged by Marietta 63-59 Saturday afternoon at Ban Johnson Fieldhouse.
The Polar Bears (11-10 overall, 5-9 Ohio Athletic Conference) received 21 points (6-9 FG), five rebounds, three assists, and three steals from senior Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreek/Carroll).
Freshman Lexi Jacobs (Wapakoneta) added eight points, four rebounds, and three assists for ONU.
Ohio Northern narrowly out-rebounded Marietta 32-30, led by six rebounds by sophomore Sydney Ward (Columbus/Upper Arlington).
The Pioneers (13-8 overall, 8-6 OAC) had four double-figure scorers, topped by Corrie Burkhardt's 14 points.
Marietta utilized 28 first-quarter points to build a 34-15 advantage three minutes into the second period before taking a 39-25 lead into halftime.
With 4:09 remaining in the third quarter, Northern trailed 47-32, but launched a 10-0 run to close the period.
Freshman Kate Iliff (Lorain/Amherst Steele) and Jacobs each hit a lay-up, followed by Jacobs-assisted three-pointers from sophomore Emily Brock (Akron/Revere) and junior Jaclyn Yankle (Youngstown/Cardinal Mooney).
Ohio Northern continued its run into the fourth quarter as Brock hit another three-pointer and Jacobs knocked down a jumper to tie the game at 47.
A jump shot by Ward off a Dirksen assist gave ONU its largest lead at 58-55 with 2:58 remaining.
The Pioneers converted a three-point play and a three-pointer to regain its lead, 61-58, with 1:31 to go.
A lay-up with 12 seconds left gave the Pioneers a 63-59 advantage that would stand.
ONU was 21-for-53 (39.6%) from the floor and 7-for-26 (26.9%) from three-point range while MC was 24-for-51 (47.1%) from the field and 8-for-25 (32.0%) on three-pointers.
The Polar Bears will return to the court on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. contest at Otterbein.