WILMINGTON — Ohio Northern University escaped Hermann Court and the Wilmington College women’s basketball team’s bid for a season sweep by winning a defensive battle 53-52 in Ohio Athletic Conference action on Saturday evening.
Neither team led by more than five points in the first half. The Polar Bears led 18-13 early in the second quarter while the Fightin’ Quakers grabbed a 31-26 lead at halftime as Cassidy Lovett scored the last bucket of the half.
Ironically, the contest played over very similar to the next before, except in reverse. The third quarter, which was won by Wilmington on Friday, was won by ONU 13-6 on Saturday, giving the visitors a 39-37 lead after three. The Polar Bears would take a seven-point lead on an Annie Weckesser layup midway through the quarter, but a quick 6-0 spurt from the Quakers, thanks to an old-fashioned, three-point play from Kennedy Lewis and a three-pointer from Hannah Binkley, got the hosts within a single point 48-47.
ONU scored on its next possession, but McKayla Binkley nailed a three-pointer with two minutes to go, tying the game 50-50. Unfortunately for the Quakers, Jaidyn Hale connected for three of her game-high 17 points on the next possession from the top of the arc.
Trailing 53-50, McKayla Binkley was fouled with a minute to play and made two free throws to pull within one. After a defensive stop, Wilmington, just like ONU the night before, got possession back with a chance to win it. Lewis’ triple was off the mark, and the Polar Bears escaped with the win.
ONU finished the game 23-of-59 (39.0 percent) from the field as well as 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from distance. Wilmington countered with an 18-of-55 (32.7 percent) performance from the field and 8-of-21 (38.1 percent) from distance. The Polar Bears won the rebounding battle 44-30 while the Quakers forced 18 turnovers and committed just 12.
Three Quakers – McKayla Binkley, Hannah Binkley and Michelle Lee – finished in double figures while Lewis dished out five assists. Alongside Hale’s 17, Sydney Ward tallied 10 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Polar Bears.
Wilmington (1-1) continues its season with two games against Muskingum University next weekend.