It was one of those games no one deserved to lose.
The Hillsdale College women's basketball team was coming off its most decisive win of the season, and was looking to snap a four-game losing streak to a talented and well-coached rival.
Ohio Dominican went into the game with just seven healthy players, but shot the lights out in the first quarter, opening up a big lead.
In the end, the Chargers' positive mindset, will to win, and Allie Dittmer ended up being the difference in an 80-76 win over the Panthers at Alumni Hall on the campus of Ohio Dominican University. The Chargers are now 15-9 overall and 13-7 in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference with this victory, their third in four games.
Hillsdale has been one of the feel-good stories in the G-MAC, under first-year head coach Matt Fritsche, the team has wins over two of the top three teams in the conference and has been playing its best basketball of the season lately. In its last game, the team set a season-high in points, a school record for 3-pointers and saw Dittmer score her 1,000th career point. Contrast that with Ohio Dominican, a top contender in the conference all season long, but came into the game absolutely decimated by injuries.
Yet, it was Ohio Dominican shooting the lights out to open the game, making six of its first seven 3-point attempts and jumping out to a 30-22 lead after one quarter. That lead would double to as many as 16 points early in the second quarter when the Panthers went on an 8-0 run.
The first half ended with ODU holding a 50-38 lead. But the Chargers played much better defensively in the second half, allowing the Panthers to score just 29 points while mounting its comeback. Hillsdale had a 42-26 scoring edge in the second half and outrebounded the Panthers 44-37 in the game.
Hillsdale didn't take the lead until a Dittmer layup made it 74-72 with 4:46 to go in the fourth quarter. The Chargers hung on from there, allowing the Panthers to score just four points over the game's final 8:04. ODU shot just 4-for-20 from the field in the fourth quarter and missed all seven of its 3-point attempts. The Chargers outscored the Panthers 19-8 in the fourth quarter, making this their biggest win of the season in terms of coming back from a fourth quarter deficit.
Dittmer was huge throughout the game, finishing with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists, shooting 12-for-17 from the field and snagging six offensive rebounds. Over her last three games, Dittmer has scored 66 points as she heads down the home stretch of what has been a fabulous career.
Junior Brittany Gray had a fine game, with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. She made two 3-point baskets and blocked a shot in an efficient game on the court. Junior Makenna Ott was her usual steady self with 14 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists and she went 7-for-12 from the field.