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Polar Bears stay atop OAC with 66-51 win over No. 23 Wilmington

ADA - Ohio Northern women's basketball team captured a convincing victory against No. 23-ranked Wilmington 66-51 in a battle of league leaders to stay atop the Ohio Athletic Conference Wednesday evening at the ONU Sports Center.

The Polar Bears (10-3, 5-1 OAC) snapped a 17-game losing streak to the Quakers (10-3, 4-2) that dated back to the 1996-97 season.

The win keeps Ohio Northern locked in a three-way tie with No. 24 Capital and Baldwin-Wallace in the OAC.

Jenny Markle had 19 points in the contest on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc and tied Alyssa Rickert's record of 213 career 3-pointers, which she set from 2001-04.

Wilmington's last lead of the game came at the 17:13 mark of the first half at 7-5 before Markle's first three pointer of the game put the Polar Bears ahead.

The Polar Bears never relinquished the lead and only allowed the Quakers to pull to a tie once at 25-25 with 4:11 to go in the first half.

Northern ended the first half on a 12-2 run that was capped off when Alisha Rinehart grabbed a rebound with three seconds left and banked in a half court shot as time expired.

Leah Zimmerman began the second half with a three pointer that sparked a 10-3 run to give the Polar Bears their largest lead of the game at 47-30.

The Quakers kept fighting and cut the lead to 49-42 with 8:11 to go in the game.

ONU, however, stopped the run thanks to four consecutive points from Brittany Bogart and eventually built another 17-point lead before finishing the game up 66-51.

"This win is important to us for many reasons, especially to get the monkey off of our back," said head coach Michele Durand. "We executed our defensive game plan well, and we were able to hit the three-point shots that their defense gave us."

Ohio Northern hit 10-of-25 (40.0 percent) three-point buckets compared to just 2-of-15 (13.3 percent) for the Quakers.

Zimmerman, Rinehart and Emily Culbertson each tallied nine points for Northern, while Bogart grabbed a team-high six rebounds, all of which came in the second half.

Gina Hyle led the Quakers with 14 points and six boards, and Katie Streck had 13 points and six boards.

The Polar Bears will again battle for first place in the OAC against Capital on Saturday at 3 pm.