HOLLAND, Mich. – Junior Taylor Hermiller scored a career-high 13 points to lead Ohio Northern to an 86-68 victory against Hanover in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday at DeVor Fieldhouse.
The Polar Bears improved to 27-1 on the season, while the Panthers concluded their season at 21-8. ONU advanced to play either Hope or Wheaton (Ill.) on Saturday.
Four Northern players finished in double figures, led by senior Morgan Dumbaugh who had a game-high 22 points. Hermiller finished with 13, senior Joanna Snyder added 12 and junior Cenzie Yoder finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
After Hanover scored the first basket of the game, Northern ran off eight consecutive points to open up an early 8-2 lead. The Panthers used a 7-2 run to cut the Polar Bears lead to 18-15 with 8:38 left in the first half.
Two 3-pointers on consecutive possessions from Dumbaugh and sophomore Jordan Kimes expanded ONU’s lead to 24-17 with 7:27 remaining in the first period.
Layups by Kimes and freshman Brooke Espenschied in the final minute of the first half allowed the Polar Bears to take a 38-32 lead into the break.
The Panthers came out of the half and used a 6-2 spurt to cut the ONU lead to 40-38. Northern countered with a 14-3 run, with six points from Hermiller, to open up a 52-39 lead with 15:34 left to play.
A 3-pointer from Espenschied at the 11:24 mark of the second half gave the Polar Bears a 63-47 advantage. The Panthers battled back and cut the Polar Bear lead to 69-59 with 6:34 left in the game. However, 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions from senior Katie Mengos and Hermiller pushed the Northern lead back to 75-59.
Northern shot 30 of 60 (50.0 percent) from the field, while Hanover was 24 of 57 (42.1 percent). The Polar Bears held a 43-25 advantage in rebounding, including a 14-6 advantage on offense.