Marietta continues hot start vs. Cardinals

Marietta College’s Amisha Herd drives with the ball during a college women’s basketball game against Otterbein Wednesday at Ban Johnson Arena.

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times

Marietta College’s Amisha Herd drives with the ball during a college women’s basketball game against Otterbein Wednesday at Ban Johnson Arena. RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times

Marietta College had an offensive surge to start the second half.

After scoring 13 unanswered points, the NCAA Division III, 25th-ranked Pioneers went on to defeat Otterbein University, 97-74, Wednesday night in an Ohio Athletic Conference women’s basketball opener at Ban Johnson Arena.

“When you go on a run, it’s fun,” said MC senior point Amisha Herd , who finished with 16 points, and game-highs in assists (7) and steals (5). “I just like to keep things moving, and push the ball.”

Herd was one of five Pioneers to score in double figures. Brooke Borich led the way with 18 markers; Shay Lett also had 16, while Jenna Andersen and Laura Pullins netted 11 and 10, respectively. Alexis Enochs and Maddy Worden each chipped in with eight, and Corrie Burkhardt tallied six and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

“We did a good job scoring,” said second-year MC head coach Kole Vivian, whose undefeated Pioneers improved to 5-0 and 1-0 in the OAC. “We’ve got so many people who can score. So, it’s tough to stop us. We’ve got a lot of options out there.”

Otterbein fell to 3-3 and 0-1. The Connie Richardson-coached Cardinals were paced by Kiersten Taylor, who scored a game-high 20 points, Dani Kissel added 15, while Ali Carnal had 10. Jacy Jones chipped in with eight markers.

“In the OAC, every game’s kind of tough,” Herd said. “We can’t take any team lightly when you come out here on any given day. We were just mentally ready and focused as a team, because we know we have a target on our back, now.”

Especially now since they’re nationally ranked.

“We’re obviously honored,” Herd said. “It’s never happened ever, so we’re all really excited about it, but we’ve still got to stay level-headed.”

Sparked by Herd’s six points, MC staked itself to a 17-14 first-quarter advantage. In the second quarter, Lett had the hot hand with eight points (11 in the first half), and the Pioneers led 42-31 at halftime.

At the start of the third, Marietta went on a tear, scoring 13 unanswered points, which stretched its lead to 55-31. During that run, Borich drained two consective triple, and Lett had one.

“I thought we had great effort from everybody,” Herd said. “We’ve got at least 12 people who can score in the rotation, and that’s always nice.”

After Taylor stopped the Cardinal bleeding with a bucket, the Pioneers went on another run of seven straight points to make it 62-33 at the 4:36 mark.

“We got that big run,” Vivian said. “If you take away that run, everything’s probably a lot more even. We just kind of got rolling there.”

Going into the fourth quarter, MC had a 21-point advantage.

After being down 29 in the third, Otterbein was able to reduce the deficit to 13 at one point in the final stanza, but that’s as close it would get to the Pioneers.

“They came back a little bit,” Herd said. “We knew they were going to get hot. We just didn’t know when.”

Marietta is scheduled to play at Baldwin Wallace at 3 p.m. Saturday.

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