By BRIAN LESTER
University of Findlay women’s basketball coach Jim Wiedie was hoping a change to the starting lineup would make a difference against Ohio Dominican.
It didn’t help.
The Oilers let another opportunity get away from them at home during a crucial homestand, falling 69-51 to the Panthers in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game Thursday night at Croy Gymnasium.
Nikki Gunning started in place of Karli Beasley and Kristin Klausing made her second straight start at point guard, but it mattered little as the Oilers (9-11, 6-10) lost their third consecutive game.
“That didn’t work too well either,” Wiedie said of the lineup change. “We just didn’t come out with a lot of energy. I’m running out of options.”
And the Oilers are running out of time to make the conference tournament after finishing as the runner-up a season ago. They were in 11th entering the night and need to be in the top eight to make the tourney.
Six games remain in the season, and only two will be played at home.
“We came out like a team that was 4-24 and playing in its last game of the season,” Wiedie said. “We didn’t have the energy we needed and didn’t play like we are playing for our tournament lives. It’s disappointing.”
Ciara Geiger gave the Oilers a 7-6 lead after hitting a 3-pointer but the Oilers played from behind the rest of the first half.
UF trailed by as many as 10 in the opening half, falling behind 23-13 after a jumper by Kacee Hockenberry, but managed to close the gap to one when Karli Bonar knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:02 to go.
The Oilers trailed 32-26 at the half but struggled out of the gate to start the second half, falling behind 48-33 after a layup by Melissa Scherpenberg.
UF battled back, though, putting together a string of defensive stops and getting a big lift from Margaret Wuebker, who cut the lead to 48-41 with 9:10 left. Two free throws by Lacey Kessler trimmed the ODU lead to 48-43 moments later.
But the Panthers responded one more time and put the game away, leading by as many as 19 en route to the win.
“We made a good run and got the stops we needed, but then we would allow them to hit shots again and lost the momentum again,” Wiedie said. “We didn’t play well enough to win this game.”
The Oilers shot only 36 percent (18-of-50) from the field and were 4-of-24 from beyond the arc. Wuebker played well again, scoring 19 points and grabbing seven rebounds, while Geiger hit three treys and finished with 17.
The Panthers shot 42.9 percent (24-of-56) from the floor and got 16 points from Hockenberry. Micaela Liddane added 15 points.
ODU forced 21 turnovers and scored 25 points off the miscues. It also held a 19-11 advantage in second-chance points.
UF will try to end its losing streak Saturday when it plays host to Tiffin in a 1 p.m. game.
“I just don’t know what else I can do,” Wiedie said. “I’m running out of options. If we win (Thursday) and win Saturday, we’re right back in it. It’s frustrating.”
OHIO DOMINICAN (9-11, 6-10 GLIAC)
Scherpenberg 4-8 1-2–9, Rittinger 2-4 0-0–4, Hockenberry 5-16 4-4–16, Liddane 5-8 3-4–15, Bates 3-8 2-2–8, Leader 3-7 6-6–12, Cook 2-5 1-1–5, Torey 0-0 0-0–0. TOTALS: 24-56 17-19–69.
findlay (9-11, 6-10 gliac)
Wuebker 8-12 3-8–19, Klausing 0-1 0-0–0, Gunning 0-6 0-0–0, Geiger 5-10 4-6–17, Bonar 1-6 0-0–3, Klein 1-2 0-0–2, Beasley 0-4 0-0–0, Kenny 1-3 2-2–4, Kessler 0-3 2-2–2, Lewis 2-3 0-0–4. TOTALS: 18-50 11-18–51.
3-Point GOALS: Ohio Dominican 4-13 (Kockenberry 2-6, Liddane 2-5, Leader 0-2); Findlay 4-24 (Gunning 0-4, Geiger 3-6, Bonar 1-6, Beasley 0-4, Keny 0-2, Kessler 0-2).
HALFTIME: Ohio Dominican, 32-26.
rebounds: Ohio Dominican 39 (Scherpenberg 14, Rittinger 9); Findlay 30 (Wuebker 7, Beasley 6).
ASSISTS: Ohio Dominican 15 (Bates 5); Findlay 11 (Klausing 3).
STEALS: Ohio Dominican 11 (Bates 3); Findlay 10 (Klausing 2, Kenny 2).
BLOCKS: Ohio Dominican 1; Findlay 7 (Wuebker 2, Geiger 2).
TURNOVERS: Ohio Dominican 19, Findlay 21.
TOTAL FOULS: Ohio Dominican 19, Findlay 18.
FOULED OUT: Findlay, Beasley.