College basketball: Pioneer women get a win

Tori Dixon celebrated her 21st birthday Saturday in grand fashion on Winter Weekend.

The 5-foot-5 junior sharpshooter from Vinton County fittingly scored 21 points as Marietta College downed Heidelberg University, 69-64, in Ohio Athletic Conference women’s basketball action at Ban Johnson Arena.

“I was feeling it a little,” said Dixon, who was seven of 14 from the floor, which included five 3-balls. “It’s nice to finally shoot good, because I haven’t been really shooting well this year.”

After Saturday’s contest, Dixon is now averaging a team-best 10.3 points per game.

“Tori was hot,” said first-year MC head women’s basketball coach Stacia Shrider, whose Lady Pioneers (7-14 overall and 2-12 in the OAC) snapped an eight-game losing streak.

“She’s such a good three-point shooter that when people lose her, she’s deadly. She had a great performance.”

Candice Alexander added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds; Krissy Rowe netted 10 points, including six of six from the foul down the stretch; Heather Booth had eight markers, all in the first half, and 10 caroms; and Lindsay Deemer, seven points and a game-high 13 boards.

“We had a lot of people step up,” Shriver said. “We were hungry for a win.”

Heidelberg (5-16, 1-13) was paced by Kathleen Phillips’ 21 points. Megan Miller chipped in with 16, and Paige Richetts had 13 and eight rebounds. The Berg missed 12 freebies in the contest.

Sparked by Dixon’s 15 first-half points, 35-24. Early on, the Lady Pioneers trailed 11-9, but but responded with an 11-0 run on points by Alexander (2), Dixon (3), Sierra Sigman (2), and Booth (4) to make it 20-11.

Thanks to a couple of Dixon threes and a Booth putback at the 5:14 mark, MC stretched its advantage to 15 points, 32-17.

After the break, Heidelberg battled back, and was able to reduce the deficit to four points (44-40) on Richetts’ trey at the 13:33 mark. Then, in the final seconds of the game, the visitors from Tiffin got as close as three points (67-64).

But with Paige Lamb and Rowe each a deadeye from the charity stripe at crunchtime, Marietta was able to keep Heidelberg at bay.

“We finished well, which we hadn’t been doing in other games,” Dixon said. “That helped a lot.

“Everybody stayed composed, and we finished with a win.”

Added Shriver, “We put the pieces together, and we made the plays when we needed to. We shot a little bit better from the free-throw line (21-29). I’m just very pleased with our effort.”

Marietta is scheduled to play at Capital University at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Lady Pioneers suffered a 67-56 setback to the Lady Crusaders at Ban Johnson Arena on Jan. 16.