College women hoops: MC women fall to Otterbein Cardinals

The Marietta College Lady Pioneers dropped their sixth consecutive game Wednesday evening as the visiting Otterbein Cardinals broke open a close game with a big second half en route to a 78-57 Ohio Athletic Conference victory.

The game took on an all too familiar storyline for Marietta College head coach Stacia Shrider and her Pioneers as they struggled once again to play as strong in the second half as they did in the first.

“That’s been the story of our whole season,” said Shrider, in her first year as head coach. “We are always able to compete for one half, but the second half is always difficult for us.”

The Lady Pios were very competitive in the opening half and actually held a 32-30 lead with less than four minutes to play.

Junior guard Tori Dixon scored 17 first-half points, including five from behind the arc to spark the Pioneers.

The Otterbein bench outscored MC 23-8 in the game and non-starter Madi Miller provided a huge spark for the Cards’ late in the first half.

Miller scored seven consecutive points in the final two minutes of the half to lead a 9-0 Otterbein run and send the Lady Cards to the intermission with a 39-32 lead.

Dixon picked up right where she left off with a long three to open the second half for MC and after Chelsea Cannon scored an inside bucket for the Cardinals, Marietta High School graduate Paige Lamb drilled a trey of her own to cut the lead to 41-38.

The next eight minutes of the game would prove detrimental to the Lady Pios as Otterbein rallied to go on a 20-1 run and turn a mere three-point lead into a comfortable 61-39 lead with 12:54 to play.

The Cardinals scored 22 points off of turnovers and 16 more points off of offensive rebounds in the game, two statistics that Shrider felt led to the Marietta College demise.

“It just seemed like they got the offensive boards at the right time and were able to convert on them,” said Shrider, whose Pioneer ladies scored just six points off of turnovers and eight more off of offensive rebounds. “That’s really where I think we let the game get away from us in the second half.”

Marietta would not be able to get any closer than 16 points the rest of the way as it dropped their ninth conference game in 10 decisions.

Otterbein, now 15-3 overall and 9-2 in conference play, was led in scoring by Chillicothe native Hannah Day who tossed in 20 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Chelsea Reed finished with 14 points and Allie Leopard added 10 points to go along with seven assists and six steals for the Lady Cards.

Dixon finished with 20 points to lead the Pioneers.

“Tori is a great shooter, she is solid for us day in and day out,” said Shrider of the Vinton County graduate. “She did a very nice job for us against their zone defense.”

Lamb added a career-best 15 points for Marietta, while also yanking down a team high seven boards.

The Pioneers, now 6-12 on the season, will remain home to host Ohio Northern Saturday afternoon in another OAC contest.