WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Mount Union women's basketball team defeated Otterbein 73-67 Saturday afternoon at the Rike Center to conclude the regular season.
The Purple Raiders (15-10, 12-6 OAC) were led by junior forward Jaime Sanborn's (Twinsburg/Twinsburg) career-high 25 points. Junior guard Rachel Tinkey (Canfield/Canfield) also scored in double figures with 17 points.
Otterbein (16-9, 12-6 OAC) was led by Alex Schaffer with 13 points.
Mount Union opened with a quick 5-0 lead by a combination of a Sanborn and senior guard Casey Morrissette (Wakeman/Firelands) before Otterbein was able to take the lead 9-7 at 5:15 in the first quarter. Second-chance opportunities and foul trouble for Mount Union allowed Otterbein to further their lead to 17-8 with 2:33 remaining. Mount Union went on to score four unanswered points to shorten the deficit 17-12.
A three by Tori Rappach (Warren/Howland) to start the second quarter cut Otterbein's lead to 17-15 at the nine-minute mark. Otterbein responded with a 9-2 run to put them back on top 26-17 with 5:32 to play. Sanborn and Tinkey would continue to chip away at Otterbein's advantage by combining for eight of Mount Union's next 12 points as they would only trail 33-29 at halftime.
Quick layups by Sarah Hessel (Avon Lake/Avon Lake) and Anna Alkire (Massillon/Jackson) gave Mount Union a running start to the third quarter, making it 36-33 just a minute and a half in. However, Otterbein was able to fight off the Raiders and keep from from getting any going on to lead by as much as 10 at 52-42 with 2:33 to play, ultimately closing out the quarter ahead 52-44.
Mount Union struck first once again with a 5-0 run before turning it into a 13-5 run, tying the game 57-57 with 5:43 remaining; the last five of those 13 points scored by Alkire. Another three by Rappach gave Mount Union their first lead since the opening quarter at 60-58 with 4:33 to play. Otterbein struggled to get back ahead of Mount Union as they missed four straight three-pointers, but a layup at 1:44 would put Mount Union's scoring on pause at 64-61. Trips to the free throw line for Morrissette, Sanborn and Tinkey in the final minute would cushion Mount Union's lead, ultimately securing the win 73-67.
Mount Union, as the 3-seed, will next host 6-seed Capital for the first round of the OAC Tournament on Tuesday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the McPhearson Academic and Athletic Complex.