ONU women pick up thrilling 68-67 win
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 6:38 AM
LAS VEGAS (Nev.) -- Sophomore Carly Thomas made the game tying and go-ahead free throw with 3.6 seconds left, to give the Ohio Northern women's basketball team a 68-67 victory over No. 8 Wisconsin-Whitewater on Monday afternoon at the D3hoops.com Classic at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Polar Bears improve to 9-2 on the season, while the Warhawks fall to 8-3.
Junior Jordan Kimes finished with a game and career-high 20 points and seven rebounds.
Kimes was also named to the All-Tournament Team for her efforts.
Thomas added 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting and also pulled down a career-high six rebounds.
Sophomore Brooke Espenschied finished with 10 points and senior Sara Kocian and senior Cenzie Yoder each scored eight points.
A layup by Kimes with 1:06 remaining put the Polar Bears in front 64-62.
Both teams would not score on their next possession.
Kimes then made another layup, putting ONU up 66-62 with 31 seconds left.
The Warhawks came right back and drained a three pointer, cutting the Northern lead to 66-65 with 20 seconds left.
Wisconsin-Whitewater would force a turnover on the ensuing ONU inbound and Katie Burton would make a basket under the hoop, putting the Warhawks in front 67-66.
But Thomas got behind the defense on the inbound and was fouled going up for a layup with 3.6 seconds left.
She stepped up and calmly sunk both free throws, putting the Polar Bears up 68-67.
The Warhawks' shot as time expired came up short.
ONU opened up the game strong, taking a 12-4 lead on a layup from freshman Britt Lauck with 13:35 left in the first half.
Wisconsin-Whitewater would trim the lead to 14-11, but ONU responded with a 7-2 run to push its lead back to 21-13 with 5:44 left in the first half.
The Warhawks would chip away and sink a three pointer just before the first half buzzer to take a 30-29 lead into the break.
In the second half, UWW used a 9-2 run to open up a 39-31 lead with just under 16 minutes to play.
ONU would take the lead back at 46-44 on a three pointer from Kocian, with 9:05 left to play.
"This was a great win for us," said head coach Michele Durand. "This victory will serve as a springboard as we move into the heart of conference play. This team battled and should be proud to go 7-0 against a difficult non-conference schedule."
Northern would finish the game 23-of-47 (48.9 percent) from the field, while Wisconsin-Whitewater finished 23-of-69 (33.3 percent).
The Polar Bears won the rebounding battle 40-36, with a 31-19 advantage on the defensive glass.
Ohio Northern will return to action on Saturday, when it returns to OAC play at Marietta at 3 pm.