Good beginning: Ohio Christian routs Hillsdale, 81-52

CIRCLEVILLE - For nearly the first 10 minutes of the first half on Thursday, seventh-seeded Hillsdale College stayed within striking distance of second-seed and host Ohio Christian.

But OCU coach Mandy Wray had a card up her sleeve.

"We didn't want to go to our pressure from the beginning," Wray said. "We knew (Hillsdale) prepared for it, so we came out in man."We held it in reserve until a time when they wouldn't be as ready for it or started to get tired."

The Trailblazers used their full-court pressure defense to roll to a 23-point halftime lead on their way to a 81-52 win in a National Christian College Athletic Association Division II national quarterfinal game.

OCU improved to 30-6 on the season, and advances to a semifinal game today at 6 p.m. against third-seeded Maranatha Baptist Bible College, which defeated sixth-seeded Grace University 87-67 in a game earlier in the day.

"Maranatha is a very disciplined team that is going to show us some things we haven't seen as much," Wray said. "They're going to use a different type of pressure and use a lot of zones.

"On offense, they're disciplined and execute very well."

Ohio Christian used starters Kaity Wyeth and Courtney Schilling for only a handful of minutes and didn't dress leading rebounder Angela Thorne. All three are suffering from injuries.

"I was pleased with how our kids played after the practices we had this week," Wray said. "Our intensity was good and our intensity on defense and our pressure was good.

"I thought we played pretty focused, boxed out and rebounded well and executed on offense better. One thing we've been working on has been moving the ball around better, and I think we did a good job there."

The Trailblazers used their pressure to help fuel a 7-0 run to start to open the game up. Schilling ended the run with a jumper to put OCU ahead 21-11.

OCU eventually went ahead 30-16 on a layup from Shelby Roe and led 47-24 at the break.

National player of the year Danielle Fleming led the Trailblazers with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Sharonda Jones tallied 14 points and Roe and Gretchen Meyer added 11 each.

Hillsdale (9-14), which had 23 turnovers, was led by Monica Paris with 11 points and nine rebounds. Kiersten Hansmeyer added 10 points.

ARTICLE FROM CIRCLEVILLE HERALD BY BRAD MORRIS