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Weekly Sports Digest: February 13-19

The Northern men's swimming team had their 12-year OAC title streak broken this weekend in Akron, when they placed second behind John Carroll. (photo/ ONU Sports Information)

At the conclusion of every week, the Northern Review will recap what happened that week in the world of Ohio Northern athletics, and will also preview the week ahead. Here are this week’s headlines:

#5 Women’s basketball finishes regular season undefeated

The Polar Bears defeated Otterbein by four and Marietta by 39 last week to become the first team in program history to finish the regular season undefeated, at 25-0. The 2012-13 team went 24-1 in the regular season before going on to win the OAC Tournament and lose in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This year’s team scored an average of 74 points per game during the regular season, while giving up just 55. They won by 10 points or less in just six of their 25 games.

On Wednesday, Northern led by just one point at halftime at Otterbein. Junior center Amy Bullimore tallied 17 points and 12 rebounds to propel ONU to a 63-59 win, keeping the streak alive.

On Saturday, the Bears were led by 18 points from Bullimore and 17 points from senior Britt Lauck in Northern’s Senior Day win over Marietta. Lauck, along with fellow seniors Angela Tesny and Amauria Campbell, are now just three wins away from becoming the winningest class in program history.

 

Men’s swimming has 12-year OAC title streak snapped

The men’s swimming team placed second at the OAC Championship meet last weekend, held at Akron University, snapping their 12-year streak of winning the meet. John Carroll took first place with 806 points, while Northern recorded 704 points on the weekend.

Swim coach Peggy Ewald, who took over the year before the 12-year streak began, attributed this year’s second-place finish to the fact that the team had no divers, which put Northern at a disadvantage when trying to collect points, according to an ONU Athletic Department press release. Ewald said it was the first time in the past 13 years that the team had no divers.

 

Men’s basketball loses at #8 Marietta, finishes third in OAC

The men’s basketball team fell 100-85 at Marietta on Saturday in a game that determined the OAC regular season champion. Had Northern won, they would have won the conference; however, because they lost and they also did not hold the tiebreaker with John Carroll, the Bears fell to a third-place finish in the OAC, with JCU at second and Marietta at first. Saturday marked Marietta’s third consecutive OAC regular season title.

Northern finished the regular season 16-9, 14-4 in the OAC. They won all nine home conference games during the regular season, and improved off of last year’s fifth-place finish in the conference, when the team went 9-9.

 

What to watch for this week:

#5 Women’s basketball tries to win first OAC Tournament in five years

Despite the unparalleled success of the ONU women’s basketball program over the past five years -- they have lost just 19 total games, claimed four OAC regular season titles, and have received three NCAA Tournament bids -- the Polar Bears have won the OAC Tournament just once, back in 2013. This week, Northern will try to change that as they have earned a double-bye and will host a tournament semifinal game on Thursday night.

ONU is the one-seed in this year’s tournament, after winning their third consecutive regular season conference title. Eighth-seeded Capital beat fifth-seeded Otterbein on Monday night, so the Crusaders will face fourth-seeded Marietta on Tuesday. Whoever wins Tuesday night’s game will come to Ada to play top-seeded ONU on Thursday.

 

#24 Men’s and #5 Women’s indoor track & field compete in OAC Championships

The men’s and women’s indoor track & field teams will travel to Baldwin Wallace this weekend to compete in the OAC Championship meet. The 24th-ranked men’s team has not won the meet since 2012, despite two second-place finishes. In this year’s OAC Split Meet, held at King Horn on Jan. 21, Northern finished second behind Mount Union.

Meanwhile, the fifth-ranked women’s indoor team has not won since 2010. They too placed second in the OAC Split Meet this season, with Mount Union taking first. This weekend’s meet will begin on Friday and end on Saturday.

 

Spring sports begin competition

The men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and women’s tennis teams will all play in season openers this week. Men’s lacrosse will travel to Kenyon on Tuesday afternoon, women’s lacrosse will host Franciscan on Saturday afternoon and women’s tennis will face Miami (OH) on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, the men’s tennis team began their season last Sunday with an 8-1 win at Olivet (Mich.) in coach Mike Bonnell’s first match for Northern. ONU won all three doubles matches and dropped just one singles match in Sunday’s season debut. They will travel to Kalamazoo, Mich. this weekend to compete in the ITA Regional Championships.