By Bud Denega
ADA — Senior Jaclyn Yankle (Youngstown/Cardinal Mooney) had herself a career night Wednesday against Wilmington. She poured in a career-high 27 points, as the Ohio Northern women's basketball team raced past the Quakers 85-76 inside the ONU Sports Center.
"Obviously, (Jaclyn) scored, which is really what we needed, especially in the first half," ONU head coach Michele Durand said. "Jaclyn can shoot the ball, and she's worked really hard in practice, and she got to see the ball go through tonight, so I'm happy for her."
Yankle did most of her damage from the 3-point land. She went 7-for-10 from beyond the arc, while adding a career-high five assists and four rebounds.
The victory — Northern's fourth in a row — improved it to 14-4 overall and 8-3 in Ohio Athletic Conference play. The loss dropped Wilmington to 9-9 overall and 5-6 in conference action.
The Polar Bears trailed 46-40 at halftime. The first half was played to the Quakers' — who lead the OAC, averaging north of 80 points — liking.
ONU made a concerted effort to lock in defensively, and that's precisely what it did in the final 20 minutes. The Polar Bears only allowed 30 second-half points and held Wilmington to 23.3 percent field-goal percentage.
"We always talk about tough and together, and I thought we were tough and together tonight," Durand said. "I thought our defense showed up in the second half."
Northern pulled to within 62-58 at the end of the third quarter, and then erupted in the final 10 minutes. The Polar Bears outscored the Quakers 27-14 in the fourth period to run away with the victory.
Northern hit 43.7 percent (31-for-71) of its field-goal attempts and 39.3 percent (11 of 28) of its 3-point shots. Wilmington connected on 37.2 percent (29-for-78) of its shots from the floor and 20 percent (6 of 29) from 3-point land.
Kelly Noll paced the Quakers with 20 points, while McKayla Binkley logged a double-double with 18 points and 11 boards.
The Polar Bears hit the road, traveling to Mount Union Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip. ONU won the first matchup 58-57 in Ada back on Dec. 7.