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Ohio Northern women’s basketball upset by Otterbein 77-65

ADA - Otterbein shot 54.5 percent from the field and hit 22-of-29 from the free-throw line to upset the Ohio Northern women's basketball team 77-65 Wednesday evening at the ONU Sports Center.

The Polar Bears fall from first place in the Ohio Athletic Conference with the loss, dropping their record to 15-5, 10-3 OAC.

The Cardinals improve to 11-9, 7-6.

OC also held a substantial 37-24 rebounding edge over ONU, while shooting 7-for-15 from 3-point range.

Otterbein kept ONU's shooters in check, as the Polar Bears only connected on 40.4 percent overall and 24 percent from beyond the arc.

After the Polar Bears opened the game on a 4-0 run over the first 44 seconds, the Cardinals responded with 11 unanswered points up to the 14:23 mark of the first half.

Otterbein never relinquished the lead, building a commanding 43-31 halftime lead.

Emily Culbertson nailed a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 58-50 with 13:51 remaining, but OC scored six in a row to spark an 11-4 run that gave the Cardinals their biggest lead of the game at 69-54.

Northern cut the lead to 69-62 after Alisha Rinehart drew a foul while connecting on the layup and hitting the free throw with 7:30 left in the game.

Neither team scored another point until Otterbein's Laura Roth split a pair of free throws with 2:04 to go.

The Polar Bears cut the lead to seven once more but were unable to get in closer.

"We struggled in transition tonight," said head coach Michele Durand. "We knew coming into the game that they were a very explosive offensive team, and when you don't play good defense, they are able to take advantage."

Rinehart led the Polar Bears with 14 points and seven rebounds, including 8-of-9 from the free-throw line.

Erin Brand also scored 14 points, giving her 1,020 points for her career and moving her into sixth place on ONU's all-time scoring list.

The Polar Bears will look to stop its two-game skid on Saturday when they travel to John Carroll at 3 pm.