UPLAND, Ind. – The #20 Forester women’s basketball team locked in as the No. 2 seed in the league tourney with a 59-50 win over the Trojans of Taylor University (12-18, 7-11) Saturday afternoon at Odle Arena.
With this victory, HU (22-7) wraps up the regular season having gone 8-1 in the second go-around of conference play, losing only to Saint Francis, to finish with an overall Crossroads record of 14-4. The Trojans finished No. 7 in the league standings setting up a rematch of today’s contest. The Foresters will host Taylor Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in the opening round of the Crossroads tourney.
Miranda Palmer came off the bench to score 14 points to lead a balanced Forester attack. Amelia Recker chipped in 13 points to go along with a game-high ten rebounds and four assists for her fifth double double of the year. Pazia Speed added 12 points and a pair of assists and steals while Courtney Baker and Amelia Echemann each finished with nine apiece. Baker also swiped a team-high three steals.
The Foresters spent the first 15 minutes building a comfortable 25-12 lead but things fell apart for Coach Culler and squad after that as they went stone cold the rest of the period to let the Trojans right back in it. Playing their final game at Odle Arena, seniors Kelsey Bryant and Shayna Wood weren’t about to go down without a fight as they scored five points each to pull their team within one at 25-24 by halftime.
Taylor picked up where they left off to start the second stanza by scoring their first five points to take a 28-25 lead by the 18:26 mark. HU finally reclaimed the lead at 36-31 with 14 minutes remaining when Pazia Speed knocked down the long ball to trigger a 9-1 run.
While Huntington never relinquished the lead, things remained close over the next five minutes. Hanging onto to a slight 40-39 advantage with 8:55 to go, Echemann’s traditional three-point play highlighted a 7-0 spurt that grew the lead to 47-39 by the 7:24 mark.
The next 2:23 minutes were rather uneventful as the only points came by way of a Taylor free throw but the Foresters were near flawless to close out the game. They scored on six of their final eight possessions to cruise to the win.
Kelsey Bryant scored a game-high 17 points to top all scorers while Monica Compton and Shayna Wood each tossed in nine in the losing effort.
HU shot 42.9 percent (21-for-49) from the field while holding their hosts to 31.6 percent (18-for-57). The Trojans dominated the boards, 41-29, and scored 18 points on 16 offensive boards. What the Foresters lacked in rebounding, they made up for in turnovers. HU scored 21 points off 17 Taylor miscues while only coughing up the ball 11 times.