TIFFIN – As snowflakes swirled outside, the Heidelberg University women's basketball team fell to No. 11 Ohio Northern University in Seiberling Gymnasium on Wednesday. Heidelberg fell behind early, rallied, then ran out of steam at the end of a 70-51 loss.
Heidelberg fell to 9-13 on the season, 7-8 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. ONU improved to 19-3, 14-1 in the OAC.
Marisa Liburdi led the Student Princes with 14 points and eight boards. All 14 of her points came in the in the second quarter.
Sluggish out of the gate, Heidelberg watched the Polar Bears build a 19-2 lead in the first 6:20 of the game. An 8-2 run by the Student Princes helped cut the deficit to 21-10 after 10 minutes of play.
Heidelberg's success continued early in the second as Liburdi began to heat up. With ONU center Amy Bullimore (14 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks) on the bench in foul trouble, the Tricolor was able to find offense in the paint. A three-point play by Theresa Jackson made it 23-18 wth 6:48 remaining in the half. Less than 90 seconds later, a 3-pointer by sharp-shooter Shelby Dearth made it 25-23. The teams went to the locker room with ONU leading 39-33.
Jackie Abrecht opened the third period with a 3-pointer from the right wing off a feed from Jessica Barnes. A Bullimore turnover gave HU their first opportunity to tie the contest since the opening minutes of the game. A 3-point attempt by Shiloh Murphy didn't fall, however. After the miss, the Polar Bears scored three easy baskets to rebuild a comfortable cushion.
Up 45-40, ONU ended the third quarter on a 16-4 run and led 61-44.
Heidelberg had no answers in the fourth as the visitors cruised to their 17th win in their last 18 games. ONU's Carly Thomas led all scorers with 16 points.
QUOTES FROM THE COACH:
Head coach Morgan Shriver on what allowed ONU to build their early lead: "They were able to shoot 50% from three in the first half. We had bad close-outs, which led to over helping and wide open 3-pointers. It starts with one-on-one defense and moves to team defense, and we didn't play very well with that."
Shriver on the third quarter: "We're a team that when we get stops, we're able to score because we can score in transition, but we weren't able to get any stops, so we weren't able to find an offensive rhythm. The last minute of that third quarter it just trickled away from us and they had about six points and it kind of deflated us going into the fourth."
Shriver on the play of Marisa Liburdi: "Scoring was hard to come by for us and we did emphasize getting the ball into the post and I think she (Liburdi) was able to capitalize when their best post player was on the bench with two fouls."
Shriver on moving forward to the next game on Saturday: "We need to refocus, buckle down, trust in our defense, and know that that's going to create our offense."
Heidelberg heads to Alliance on Saturday for a 3 p.m. game with Mount Union (15-6, 9-5 OAC). The Purple Raiders won the first matchup, 73-59.