By Caleb Scott
ADA — The No. 5-ranked Ohio Northern women's basketball team used a strong fourth quarter effort to propel them to the Sweet 16 round of the 2017 NCAA Div. III Women's Basketball Tournament on Saturday evening at the ONU Sports Center.
The Polar Bears move to 29-0 on the season, while the Thunder end there season at 25-3.
Northern will be making its first appearance in the Regional Semifinal round in school history.
Junior Amy Bullimore (Morrow/Little Miami) posted a game-high 20 points and added seven rebounds to lead the Polar Bears.
Sophomore Jenna Dirksen (Beavercreak/Carroll) chipped in 12 points for Northern and added five rebounds, while senior Britt Lauck (Lima/Shawnee) scored nine points and tallied six rebounds and three assists.
For the second consecutive night, the Polar Bears played in front of a record crowd as 907 spectators were on hand for the contest.
After Northern took a 36-34 lead into the fourth quarter, the Thunder hit a jumper just over 30 seconds into the fourth quarter to lock the game at 36-all.
After exchanging back-to-back buckets, ONU used a 7-0 run keyed by a five points from Dirksen and a layup from Bullimore to take a 47-40 lead with 4:21 in the contest.
Trine would battle back and cut the lead to 50-45 after Montana Martin hit a 3-pointer with 3:03 left in the contest.
Senior Amauria Campbell (Cincinnati/Summit Country Day) would waste no time as she answered back on the ensuing possession with a 3-pointer of her own to push the lead to 53-45 with 2:46 remaining.
The Thunder would score once more before Bullimore iced the game with a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left to seal the 55-48 ONU victory.
Northern was outscored 8-2 in the first quarter, before outscoring TU 18-10 in the second quarter to take a two point advantage into the intermission.
The Polar Bears shot 16-of-53 from the field for 30.2 percent and shot 5-of-19 for 26.3 percent from the 3-point line.
"We are just really, really happy right now," said head coach Michele Durand. "It hasn't really sunk in quite yet. We're obviously very very proud of our girls and the effort they gave. We didn't shoot the greatest tonight, but we made them when we had to and played great defense and held a great team in check."
Northern advances to the Regional Semifinal round of the NCAA III Tournament and will take on Geneseo St. (N.Y.) at a location to be determined.