COLUMBUS, Ohio – With just eight healthy players in uniform and facing the conference's top defensive team, the Ohio Dominican women's basketball team led virtually wire-to-wire in taking down Walsh 77-65 on Tuesday night in Alumni Hall.
The two teams entered the contest tied for fourth in the league with identical 9-4 G-MAC marks, but the Panthers shot 63.3 percent in the first half and racked up 20 total assists in improving to 14-6 overall on the season.
Senior forward Sarah Futscher (Wilder, Ky.), who entered the game having made 17-of-19 shots from the field in the last two contests, finished with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting while also pulling down 11 boards for her third double-double of the season.
Classmate Darian Rose (Fort Loramie, Ohio) handed out 11 assists, the first time a Panther has cracked double figures in assists since Melissa Hersey had 12 on Nov. 14, 2009.
Sophomore guard Alexa Fisher (Powell, Ohio) finished with 15 points and five rebounds and sophomore forward Brittleigh Macaulay (Big Prairie, Ohio) made 6-of-7 shots from the field for 13 points while also grabbing seven boards.
The Panthers took control early, going on a 15-3 run in the first quarter to seize a double-figure lead. A three-point play from Futscher put ODU in front 17-10, and she followed with two more layups on assists from junior Emily Thomas (Pickerington, Ohio) to give the Panthers a 23-10 lead with 3:11 left.
Walsh cut it to seven on a pair of occasions in the first half, including 27-20 with 7:55 to play, but another Panther burst stretched the lead back to double digits. Thomas assisted on another layup, this one by Macaulay, and a transition layup by Fisher and a triple by freshman Angela Troyer (Sugarcreek, Ohio) gave the Panthers a 38-22 lead with 4:40 left in the half.
The Cavaliers drew within 43-34 late in the half, but Macaulay answered with a triple – just her third of the season – and Thomas went coast-to-coast with a layup to beat the buzzer after a Futscher steal to give the Panthers a 48-34 cushion at the break.
The Panthers extended the lead out to as much as 20 on a pair of occasions in the third, but the Cavaliers made one last push, closing the gap to 64-57 with 8:27 left. Fisher took over from there, though, sinking a pair of free throws, assisting on a layup to freshman Olivia Fox (Newark, Ohio), then scoring in transition on her own to make it 70-57 with 6:10 left. The lead never dipped below 10 the remainder of the game.
Walsh had been limiting opponents to just 63.3 points per game, tops in the league, coming into tonight. The Panthers, though, finished 30-of-56 from the field (53.6 percent), their fourth straight game making 30 or more field goals and their third straight game shooting better than 53 percent from the field.
Thomas scored eight points with six assists and Fox tallied eight points off the bench as well for ODU.
ODU hits the road for a 6 p.m. (CT) contest at Trevecca Nazarene on Thursday.
Contact: Scott Miles