Marietta College women tackle tough Mount Union squad

Photo by Stacy Nichols Marietta College’s Amisha Herd prepares for a free-throw attempt, while teammate Brooke Borich looks to the bench Wednesday during the Pioneers’ 74-72 win over Mount Union.

MARIETTA — Marietta College probably wouldn’t mind playing all of its games at Ban Johnson Arena.

The Pioneers stayed undefeated on their home floor at 7-0 with a thrilling 74-72 triumph over the University of Mount Union in Ohio Athletic Conference women’s basketball action Wednesday night.

“We really like winning at home in front of a good crowd,” said MC senior Brooke “BB” Borich. “It’s definitely a good atmosphere with a lot of people coming out to watch us. That’s nice, because we feed off of that.”

Borich’s game-high 24 points led the Pioneers, who are ranked No. 22 in the D3hoops.com Top 25 with a 13-1 overall record (6-1 OAC).

“BB was unreal tonight, making shots,” said Marietta head coach Kole Vivian. “She made a step-back three, and all I could say was ‘Holy Cow!’ There aren’t a whole lot of players who could make that. So having her is nice. She works her tail off and I’m really happy in what she’s doing right now for us. She played a ton of minutes for us.”

Amisha Herd added 18 points for the winners, while Jenna Andersen and Alexis Enochs netted nine apiece. Jo Herd-Middlebrooks, Enochs, and Herd each hauled in seven caroms.

“Amisha was all over the place,” Vivian said. “In the first half, (Rachel) Tinkey was killing us. She made five threes. But in the second half, she didn’t score and Amisha was on her.”

Borich (8-8) and Herd (7-7) were a combined 15-of-15 from the foul line in the contest.

“Those two are unreal for us,” Vivian said.

Casey Morrissette and Tinkey led the Suzy Venet-coached Purple Raiders (6-8, 3-4) with 17 and 16 points, respectively. The MU bench added 27 points with Elena Rauhe scoring nine to lead the non-starters.

Tinkey also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds while Sarah Hessel collected eight.

“Mount’s a good team,” Vivian said. “They only lost to (third-ranked and undefeated) Hope by two points.

“To get a win when we don’t play our best…well, Mount had a lot to do with that.”

The contest featured 24 lead changes and 14 ties. MC’s largest advantage was seven points, while Mount’s was three.

The Pioneers led 21-20 at the end of one and 38-37 at the half. The Purple Raiders had a 57-54 advantage at the end of three but were outpointed 20-15 in the final stanza.

“It’s a little scary,” said Borich of the back-and-forth game. “In the beginning, we knew that they liked to shoot the three and they were effective at it.”

Tinkey, a 5-foot-6 junior guard, drained five triples in the opening half to keep the Raiders close. After the break, she was 0-for-4 from the field with two of the misses coming from behind the arc.

“That a big thing that we were trying to do,” said Borich of shutting down the MU sharpshooter.

Late in the fourth quarter, both Borich and Herd were deadeyes from the charity stripe, and helped the Pioneers take a 74-67 lead with 1:48 left in the game.

But Mount scored five straight points on two freebies by Morrissette and a Corie Inverso three to cut it to two with 1:10 remaining.

With under a minute to go, MC had an opportunity to ice the game but misfired on four straight foul shots, which gave the Raiders new life.

With about 10 seconds left, Mount Union had the ball, and got a good look on Morrissette’s drive to the basket. But her left-handed layup rolled off the rim as time expired.

“I think tonight that leaders had to be leaders, and the seniors had to step up — and a lot of people just stepped up,” Borich said.

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