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Hermann Heartbreak: Last second basket sinks WC

Brittaney Jefferson scores two of her team-high 19 points as Wilmington fell to unbeaten Ohio Northern Wednesday. (Wilmington photo/John Swartzel)
Brittaney Jefferson scores two of her team-high 19 points as Wilmington fell to unbeaten Ohio Northern Wednesday. (Wilmington photo/John Swartzel)

Britt Lauck hit the game-winning shot with 3.2 seconds remaining, and the Wilmington College women's basketball team lost a heartbreaker to unbeaten and nationally ranked Ohio Northern, 62-61, Wednesday in front of a raucous Fred Raizk Arena crowd in Ohio Athletic Conference action.

"(Lauck) is the best player in the league, and Mackenzie Campbell shut her down the entire game," said head coach Jerry Scheve. "But she is a winner, and she made the shot that won the game. Mackenzie Campbell play, when you consider we asked her to chase around the best player in the league all game long, and still do what she did offensively, was a credit to her will to win. Until the very last play, we answered everything they did."

The loss drops Wilmington to three-game behind the Polar Bears in the OAC standings, and a second-place tie with Baldwin Wallace.

"I am proud of how we played, but I am sick of saying that against really good teams," said Scheve. "We know we can play with teams like this, but we have to get over the top, and hopefully we have another chance."

Senior Brittaney Jefferson (Dayton, OH/Chaminade Julienne) had the crowd in a frenzy with a three-point play with 16 seconds remaining to give Wilmington the one-point lead. It was the culmination of a solid second half for Jefferson.

She scored 13 second-half points, and gave the Fightin' Quakers the lead four separate times over the final six minutes of the game.

Jefferson's steal and layup with 90 seconds remaining gave WC its second lead of the game, and then her jumper with 43 seconds enabled Wilmington to regain its lead in regulation.

"Brittaney Jefferson played very well defensively, and stepped up offensively with a great game," said Scheve. "She made some big shots down the stretch."

Wilmington extended the lead when senior Ashley Andracki (Columbus, OH/Bishop Hartley) split a pair of free throws, and Ohio Northern sent the game in overtime with a layup with four seconds remaining.

Overtime featured three ties and two lead chances, and Lauck's elbow jumper allowed the Polar Bears to escape unbeaten.

Ohio Northern scored 10 of the game's first 12 points, and Wilmington was struggling against the ONU defense. Junior Savannah Hooper (Leesburg, OH/Wilmington) hit a three-pointer late in the first quarter pullomg WC to within six and injected some energy into the crowd. It was a crowd that invigorated the Fightin' Quakers all game long.

"This was one of the few chances this year to play in front of our students, and they were unbelievable," said Scheve. "It was a great atmosphere and that certainly helped us. Hopefully, we will be playing some big games in the future and we can count on them again."

Wilmington opened the second period with a 10-2 spurt, and a three by Jefferson have WC its first lead of the contest. The teams traded the lead late, and Andracki enabled the Fightin' Quakers go into the locker room tied.

The Polar Bears led for the entirety of the third quarter, and had a seven-point lead going into the final period.

Jefferson finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, four steals and one assist, while Campbell added 19 points, eight rebounds and two steals.  Hooper added 10 points and two boards.

Wilmington (12-6 overall, 8-3 OAC) travels to Mount Union (9-9 overall, 4-7 OAC) 3 p.m. Saturday in OAC action. The Fightin' Quakers were 76-56 home winners on December 3. 

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