ADA -- A second half comeback attempt fell just short for the Heidelberg University women's basketball team on the road at Ohio Northern University on Wednesday night. The crucial OAC Game of the Week ended in favor of the Polar Bears (11-12, 6-11 OAC) by a final score of 53-45.
Maddy Crawford led Heidelberg (9-15, 5-12) as she chalked up her 15th double-double of the season with a 15-point, 10-rebound showing.
Leading all scorers on the night, Brooke Beamer tallied 18 points.
Heading into Saturday's regular-season finale, Heidelberg still holds out hope for a berth in next week's eight-team conference tournament. The Student Princes must win and get help on Saturday.
A stagnant start for the Student Princes set the offensive efforts back early. After 10 minutes of play, Heidelberg found themselves trailing 17-5 after shooting just 14% from the floor.
The Berg kept stayed step for step with the Polar Bears during the second quarter matching their 14 points. HU utilized a much sharper 50% shooting to keep pace, but the stinger was shooting 0-for-7 from beyond the arc in the first half. ONU connected on six threes to make the difference.
After scoring just one point in the first quarter, Maddy Crawford exploded for 10 in the second frame alone to give the Berg offense life heading to the break.
Again locking horns with the hosts, Heidelberg began to chip away at the lead. Brooke Beamer utilized a feed from Alli Adelsperger to work a bit of space to cash in on a 3-pointer to bring them within 10 in the dying moments of the third quarter.
Heading to the fourth, trailing 40-30, Beamer and Crawford continued to work the Student Prince offense back into the game to make things exciting late. After Beamer scored the first five points of the quarter, Crawford tabbed a layup. The efforts brought the Student Princes to within eight points with 4:43 left to play.
After Lajanae Morman split a pair at the charity stripe, Alyssa Riley cashed in on a 3-pointer that closed the gap to just four points. ONU responded with a layup, which was answered by a pair of free throws from Crawford.
Sydney Ward made it a six-point game, with 1:30 left on the clock. After a timeout, Heidelberg worked themselves three great looks to continue the comeback efforts. Unfortunately, all three shots fell out.
Under a time crunch, the Berg was forced to up the pressure. Ward drove to the basket and converted a tough three-point play for the Polar Bears. From there, the HU shot on the offensive end of the floor fell short.
In desperation mode a Berg foul sent Jenna Dirksen to the line, where she split the pair to extend the lead out to 10 points. The late offensive conversions by ONU resulted in just enough as they defended home floor with the 53-45 final score.
The sharp first quarter scoring proved to be the difference in the lackluster offensive night for both teams. The Berg converted just 28% of their opportunities on the evening, while the hosts managed a slightly better 35%.
Heidelberg held the advantage on the glass with 43 rebounds, while ONU only managed to collect 35. The visitors also distributed the ball better to pick up 11 assists compared to Northern's nine.
For ONU, Jenna Dirksen scored 12 points, while Alyssa Manley(11) and Sydney Ward (10) also reached double-digits.
The Student Princes will host Marietta College on Saturday at 3 p.m. In addition to vying for postseason qualification, the team will honor seniors, Alyssa Riley, Aianna Wilson and Lajanae Morman for Senior Day prior to tipoff.