WEST LIBERTY, W. Va. – A 21-2 first quarter run carried Ohio Dominican's women's basketball team to an 84-67 road win at West Liberty in non-conference play.
The Panthers improved to 3-0 on the season in defeating the Hilltoppers for the second straight year. Last year, ODU earned a 73-69 home win over the No. 21 ranked Hilltoppers, and West Liberty was receiving votes in the WBCA preseason poll entering this season.
For a third straight game, ODU's defense shined, holding the hosts to 30.0 percent shooting (18-of-60). West Liberty (0-3) made just 4-of-23 (17.4 percent) of its two-point attempts, and the Panthers had a commanding 59-31 cushion on the glass.
Senior Madi Rittinger (Dayton, Ohio) finished with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting and also grabbed seven rebounds in just 18 minutes. Senior Lauren Bates (Hilliard, Ohio) had 14 points and five rebounds, and junior Sarah Futscher (Wilder, Ky.) came off the bench to chip in 10 points with six rebounds.
After falling behind 5-0 in the first 30 seconds, ODU responded. The Panthers scored 10 straight points, and after a West Liberty bucket, ripped off 11 more consecutive points to go in front 21-7 at the 4:33 mark of the opening quarter. The Hilltoppers closed the quarter on a 14-4 run themselves, though, to cut the score to 25-21 after 10 minutes.
Still nursing a four point lead two minutes into the second quarter, ODU closed the half on an 18-2 burst. Bates scored eight points during that run, including four free throws, and a triple by freshman Jessica Boerger (Fort Loramie, Ohio) put ODU in front 48-28 before the break.
The Panthers shot 44.1 percent from the field in the first half and hit 17-of-18 free throws as well (94.4 percent).
West Liberty drew within 52-39 early in the third quarter, but the Panthers extended the lead back to 21 (60-39) after a pair of free throws by Futscher, and ODU led by as much as 31 (76-45) late in the period after a Boerger jumper.
Junior Darian Rose (Fort Loramie, Ohio) pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds, senior Kayla Cook (Westerville, Ohio) finished with nine points and a personal-best eight rebounds off the bench, while Boerger added nine points and five rebounds off the bench as well.
Junior Megan Eyre (Fayetteville, Ohio) came up with five steals to go along with six points and four rebounds, and sophomore Alexis Overly (Chillicothe, Ohio) finished with six points and five rebounds, matching career highs in both categories.
Every Panther who played 10 or more minutes grabbed at least four rebounds.
Ohio Dominican remains on the road for a matchup at 7 p.m. Saturday against No. 8 Bellarmine in Louisville.
Contact: Scott Miles