TIFFIN -- With the frustrations of Wednesday's sluggish loss at Trine University still lingering, a first quarter 3-point barrage lifted the Heidelberg University women's basketball team to a critical early-season victory. HU knocked down five 3-pointers in the first ten minutes, 11 in all, as the Student Princes opened Ohio Athletic Conference play with a 75-60 win over Otterbein University.
The Berg moves to 2-3, 1-0 in conference play. Otterbein falls to 2-3, 0-2 in the OAC.
Freshman Maddi Stiles led the Student Princes with 14 points and six assists, including a perfect 3-of-3 from three.
Cassidy Frank chipped in with 12 points off the bench -- all coming from beyond the arc.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Heidelberg found their groove in the first quarter. Freshman Brittanie Ulmer -- making her first collegiate start -- and Stiles hit 3-pointers, gving HU an early 8-7 lead.
A three by Frank and layups from Liburdi and Jessica Barnes pushed the HU lead to seven points. The Cards responded with a layup, but Davault responded at the other end with a three. HU held a 21-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Otterbein chipped away at the Student Prince lead, bringing the score to 23-21 with 6:57 before half. Another Frank three and a three-point play by Liburdi gave Heidelberg an eight-point advantage. Otterbein made another small comeback with a 3-pointer by Ali Cartnal to make the score 32-29 at halftime, in favor of HU.
The Student Princes built their lead to 11 points early in the fourth quarter. Stiles swished a three from the top of the arc to give the Berg a 40-29 lead. The Cards would cut the lead to five before a pair of free throws from Stiles halted the Otterbein run. Another Stiles free throw gave the Berg a commanding 12-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Holding at least a nine-point lead for the entire final quarter, Frank hit a three from the wing with 2:23 to play, giving HU a 15-point edge. The Student Princes would hold on to the lead, giving them their first OAC victory of the season.
NOTES & QUOTES
Prior to today's game, Heidelberg had made 16 pointers total in their four games this season. In this game, HU went 11-16 (69%) from three.
Heidelberg shot 50% from the field compared to Otterbein's 35%.
Head coach Morgan Harrigan on the win: "We were trying to split up our offensive and defensive weapons and it worked out for us ... It was a great team win and the girls had a lot of fun out there."
Harrigan on the play of the guards: "We took in-rhythm threes in our offense ... We were playing in our gym which helps because we make those shots in practice all the time."
Harrigan on opening OAC play with a win: "They bought into our game plan and our scouting report ... They have to continue to do that every game ...Having a tough non-conference has really prepared our girls for conference play."
The Berg will have a week off until their next game, a Dec. 10th matchup with Wilmington. Tipoff at Wilmington is scheduled for 3 p.m.