No. 17 Ohio Northern got 20 points from Cenzie Yoder and 13 points from Joanna Snyder to hang on for a 66-62 victory over the Denison Big Red from Livingston Gymnasium in Granville, Ohio.
The Polar Bears led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but the feisty Big Red, who were facing its fourth nationally ranked opponent of the season, kept chipping away at the Ohio Northern lead.
Trailing by four with 2:49 to play after a pair of free throws by Nicole Coggins, ONU's Katie mengos missed a shot down low and the rebound was controlled by Denison's Kyli Parker. Senior point guard Serafina Nuzzo drove to the lane and kicked it to Kinsey Bryant-Lees who knocked down the baseline jumper, cutting the Polar Bear advantage to 62-60.
Another miss by Ohio Northern followed by another foul would put Nuzzo at the line with 1:15 to play. She buried both charity tosses, knotting the game at 62-62, marking first tie game situation since the opening tip-off.
On Ohio Northern's ensuing possession, DU would force a tie-up and the possession arrow was in Denison's favor but Denison would give the ball right back and with 29 seconds left, a foul by Coggins sent Brooke Espenschied to the line where she would hit the pair, putting her team back up 64-62.
With the shot clock off, Denison would run the clock down to the seven second mark. That's when Bryant-Lees saw an opening and drove to the hole where she was fouled by Espenschied. Bryant-Lees would come up dry at the line, forcing the Big Red to foul. With three seconds left, ONU's Morgan Dumbaugh put the finishing touches on the game with two free throws, setting the final at 66-62.
Yoder was 9-for-12 from the field for 20 points. She also finished with six rebounds, but just one board over the final 36 minutes of the game.
Denison was paced by Gretchen Staubach's 16 points in 25 minutes of action. She was 7-of-12 from the field and also added five rebounds. Bryant-Lees came off the bench for 11 points in 22 minutes while Coggins chipped in nine points.
DU shot 42 percent from the floor and was 73 percent from the free throw line. They also hit on 6-of-17 from beyond the arc. Ohio Northern connected on 48 percent of their shot attempts and were a sparkling 16-for-17 from the charity stripe.
The Big Red has suffered four losses on the season, all against teams ranked in the Top-25. Their record dips to 5-4 while ONU improves to 9-1. DU will return to action on Dec. 28 at the D3Hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas, where they will face St. Vincent.