Women's Basketball: Raiders Come Up Short Against Polar Bears

Freshman Sarah Hessel pushing the ball as Renee DeFord runs down court.
Freshman Sarah Hessel pushing the ball as Renee DeFord runs down court.

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The Mount Union women's basketball team fell to No. 15 Ohio Northern (7-1, 3-0 OAC) Saturday afternoon from the McPhearson Academic and Athletic Complex.

The Purple Raiders (3-5, 1-2 OAC) had nine players in the scoring column as sophomore Tori Rappach (Warren/Howland) led with nine points. Junior Renee DeFord (Casstown/Miami East) followed close behind with eight points, five rebounds and two blocks. 

The Raiders were solid on the defensive end to start off the game applying pressure to the Bears' down-low offense. Mount Union would not let Ohio Northern get ahead by more than three points through seven and a half minutes of play. The Bears would spark an 8-0 run late in the quarter to bump up their lead to 17-6. Inside play for the Raiders would be crucial as three consecutive layups would only put the Raiders back five as to end the first quarter at 19-14.

Both teams proved to be persistent to start the second quarter. Tough on both offense and defense, an Ohio Northern lead would be sliced by a strong play inside by DeFord and a three-point play by Jaime Sanborn (Twinsburg/Twinsburg) making it 24-23. The Bears would fight back but the Raiders would come back just as hard as they pushed the ball down the floor and go into the half with a one-possesion game of 30-27.

Start of the second half, Ohio Northern would fire from all angles with 10 unanswered points. Freshman guard Elena Rauhe (Seven Hills/Padua Franciscan), driving hard into the paint, would get the Raiders on their feet with energy as she followed it up with a deep three making it 43-32 with four minutes to go. The Bears would get hot from three, pushing it to a 17-point lead over the Raiders. Casey Morrissette (Wakeman/Firelands) and Rappach would answer with a pair of three's of their own to end the third quarter at 51-40.

Final ten minutes of play, another two long buckets by Rappach would get the Raiders fired up as it continue on the defensive end, forcing the Bears to make turnovers. Ohio Northern would make up for it with a few "and-one" opportunities and three point shooting to push the final score to be 63-52. Despite the loss, Mount Union would hold Ohio Northern to their lowest score of the season.

Mount Union will next travel to Tiffin, Ohio for another OAC matchup against the Heidelberg Student Princes on Saturday, December 16 at 3:00 pm.