Panthers Hit Road For Trek To Upper Peninsula

Photo by Stephanie Pakes
Photo by Stephanie Pakes

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio Dominican's women's basketball team returns from its holiday break with its longest road trip of the season as the Panthers travel to the Upper Peninsula to tangle with Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan.

ODU squares off against Michigan Tech at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by a 3 p.m. Sunday contest with Northern Michigan.

The Panthers have won two straight and five of their last six games after defeating Indianapolis 77-72 on Dec. 19. Madi Rittinger had 18 points and Melissa Scherpenberg, Lauren Bates and Tori Beth Leader each scored 13 points as ODU held off a Greyhound rally in the second half.

Scherpenberg grabbed 13 rebounds and Rittinger also had 10 boards. It's the second time this season the duo has notched a double-double in the same game, with the other coming against Cedarville.

ODU, which has an 11-2 record in its last 13 games dating to the end of last season, had never won more than two games in a season against North Division competition. But the Panthers have started this season with a 3-1 mark against foes from the North, part of its 8-2 overall record this year.

Through 10 games, ODU is averaging 74.7 points per game, the fourth-best mark in the GLIAC, and ODU's 43.6 percent shooting is sixth-best in the GLIAC. The Panthers are in the top-50 nationally in both categories and are 19th in the country with 17.0 assists per game.

Despite allowing 67.9 points per game, ODU's defense is forcing 20 turnovers per game, which rates fourth in the GLIAC and 48th in the country. The Panthers are cashing in on those turnovers, averaging 18.8 points off of opponent's miscues, and ODU ranks fourth in the GLIAC and 32nd in the country with 10.8 steals per contest.

Rittinger is playing some of the best basketball of her career lately, averaging 19.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.0 blocks over the last three games. In just two-plus seasons, she already ranks fourth on ODU's career blocked shot list with 131.

Scherpenberg has registered a double-double in nine games, tied for the most in the country, and leads the GLIAC with 11.8 boards per game (11th nationally). She's also fourth in scoring with 15.8 points per game.

Rachael Torey has protected the basketball for the Panthers, as ODU's point guard has committed just two turnovers in 73 minutes over the last three games.

Contact: Scott Miles
miless@ohiodominican.edu