ALLIANCE, Ohio -- Mount Union's nationally ranked women's basketball team won its second straight Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament championship with a 92-84 victory over John Carroll at the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex on Saturday.
The tournament's most valuable player, Kori Wiedt (North Olmsted/North Olmsted), scored 20 points while fellow All-Tournament Team member Rosa LaMattina (Westlake/Westlake) contributed 18 points and seven assists for the Purple Raiders (25-3), who earned the OAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. In order to earn the spot, the Raiders had to weather a 39-point storm by John Carroll's Lee Jennings.
Mount Union took its final lead at 80-78 when Tierney Allen (Alliance/Alliance) made a pair of free throws. Wiedt followed, burying a trey with 2:20 left in the game.
John Carroll's Emilee Ritchie answered with a 3-pointer of her own, trimming the Raider lead to 83-81. LaMattina then made a jumper and Mount Union used the free-throw line to secure the win.
In the final five minutes, the Raiders were 9 of 11 from the charity stripe while the Blue Streaks made only one basket -- Ritchie's 3 -- on their last five possessions.
A game that started off slow -- the teams went scoreless during the first 2:23 -- certainly turned into an offensive explosion in the second half.
Mount Union went on a 9-0 run in the first half, capped by a three by Wiedt, which gave the hosts a 25-16 advantage. The Raiders held John Carroll at bay for the rest of the period and took a 43-34 score into the locker room.
Trailing 57-50, the Streaks scored eight straight points to take their first lead of the second half with 11:27 to go.
John Carroll (16-12) eventually built a four-point lead at 67-63 before Lauren Forquer (North Canton/Green) led the Raiders back. She scored six points during an 11-0 Mount Union run, which left the home team with a 74-67 advantage.
The game of runs continued again when the seventh-seeded Streaks went on a 9-2 stretch, tying the game at 76-all with 4:29 to go.
The squads then traded baskets -- LaMattina made a jumper and Jennings converted a layup -- until Allen put Mount Union ahead for good.
Jennings, who was named to the All-OAC Tournament Team with teammate Missy Spahar, also finished with eight rebounds and six assists. Spahar scored 20 points while Ritchie put in 19.
Other All-OAC Tournament Team members were Ohio Northern's Jeanne Bockey and Capital's Hilary Kuhns.
Mount Union, which is ranked 14th by ESPN/USA Today and 18th by D3Hoops.com, now awaits word from the NCAA, which should come on Monday when the Raiders learn of the date, time, location and opponent of their next game.