By Tim Glon
DEFIANCE — Junior Sydney Ward (Columbus/Upper Arlington) scored a career-high 18 points and senior Emily Mescher (Maria Stein/Marion Local) tied a career-high with 18 points to lead the Ohio Northern women's basketball team to a 68-59 victory at area-rival Defiance on Tuesday night at the Weaner Center.
The Polar Bears (4-0 overall) out-scored DC 38-22 in the second half to rally from a 37-30 halftime deficit and remain undefeated on the season.
The Yellow Jackets (0-3) were led by Taylor Steinbrunner and Brianna Townley with 12 points each.
With Mescher and Ward dominating inside, ONU enjoyed an impressive 42-16 advantage in points in the paint.
Defiance made 7 of its first 10 three-pointers and took a 33-24 lead with 5:56 left in the second quarter.
"I don't think I have ever been involved with a game that was as chaotic as tonight's game was," ONU head coach Michele Durand said. "We were bad for the first part of the game on both ends of the floor and Defiance out-played us. We showed some grit on defense in the second half to get back into the game and had a big fourth quarter to get a good road win."
ONU answered with a 21-6 run to go up 45-39 with 4:33 left in the third.
The Yellow Jackets came right back with an 8-0 run of their own to grab a 47-45 lead with 1:03 left in the third quarter, but Northern finished the period on a 6-1 run to lead 51-48 after 30 minutes of action.
The game was tied at 51-all when a 3-pointer by freshman Brynn Serbin (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) gave ONU a 54-51 lead with 7:39 to play.
Ward followed with a basket at the 5:48 mark to make it 56-51.
Northern led 57-53 when senior Abby Weeks (West Chester/Mount Notre Dame) scored on a layup to give ONU a 59-53 advantage and sophomore Jaidyn Hale (Lima/Bath) followed with a 3-point play to make it 62-53 with 2:50 to go.
Ward followed with a basket in the lane with 1:52 left and Weeks made two free throws with 1:31 remaining to make it 66-53 and cap the game-clinching 15-2 run.
Ohio Northern made 26-of-59 of its field goal attempts for 44.1 percent and was 3-of-18 from 3-point range for 16.7 percent, while Defiance made 21-of-50 from the floor for 42.0 percent and ended up 9-of-21 from long range for 42.9 percent.
ONU won the rebounding battle by a 38-33 margin, led by Mescher with six boards.
Northern's defense forced Defiance into 22 turnovers, 17 of which came in the game's final 26 minutes.
The Polar Bears will return to action on Dec. 7 when they host Mount Union in the Ohio Athletic Conference opener.