ASHLAND, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's women's basketball team scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter but could not complete the rally at third-ranked Ashland, falling 66-62 in GLIAC action on Thursday night.
The Panthers entered the period trailing 49-37 and closed within 49-48 at the 6:21 mark. Ashland regained a nine point cushion, 61-52, with 2:23 to play, but the Panthers fought back to within 62-60 with 18 seconds to play before the Eagles closed the game out at the free throw line.
Ashland remained unbeaten on the season at 19-0 (13-0 GLIAC), while the Panthers saw their six game win streak snapped as ODU fell to 14-5 (9-4 GLIAC). The Eagles have now won 21 straight home games.
Down 12 to start the fourth, junior Madi Rittinger (Dayton, Ohio) drained a three and senior Melissa Scherpenberg (Cincinnati, Ohio) made a pair of layups – the latter coming on a nice bounce pass from classmate Rachael Torey (Sterling Heights, Mich.) – to make it 49-44.
Sophomore Darian Rose (Fort Loramie, Ohio) knocked down a short jumper on an inbounds pass and Rittinger made a layup to bring ODU within 49-48 with 6:20 left.
Ashland responded with a 9-2 run and led 61-52 with 2:23 left before the Panthers' final push. Scherpenberg sank a jumper and Rittinger followed with a layup, and Bates' layup on an offensive rebound brought ODU within 61-58 with 35 seconds left.
Ashland split a pair of free throws, and Scherpenberg had another offensive rebound and putback to bring ODU back within a pair, 62-60, with 18 seconds to play.
The Eagles split a pair of free throws and the Panthers had the ball down three with 15.9 seconds left, but threw away the inbounds pass, and the Eagles made three of four free throws to seal the win.
Scherpenberg finished with game highs in points (18) and rebounds (17). The 17 boards were a season high as she grabbed nine offensive rebounds as well.
Rittinger tallied 15 points and eight rebounds and Rose recorded 10 points with five assists.
The Panthers shot 51.4 percent in the second half (18-of-35) and made 26-of-63 (41.3 percent) overall. ODU had a 40-32 edge in rebounding, but turned the ball over 26 times in the game, a season-high.
Ten of those miscues came in the opening quarter, but the Panthers played well defensively and trailed just 11-9 after the opening 10 minutes.
Rittinger buried a three from the right wing to give ODU a 21-20 lead with less than two minutes left in the half, but Ashland scored the final four points of the quarter to take a 24-21 lead into the locker room.
The 21 points matched a season low in a half for the Panthers as they turned the ball over 15 times and made just 28.6 percent of their shots (8-of-28).
Ohio Dominican remains on the road to take on Lake Erie at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Contact: Scott Miles