In a game that resembled a track meet more than a basketball game, it was the run and gun style of NAIA Division I 24th-ranked Olivet Nazarene University (10-3) that gave the Tigers enough cushion to withstand a late Forester (7-4) surge and hang on for the 111-100 win.
Substituting five players at a time every minute, ONU tried to wear out the Foresters' thin roster with its full court, non-stop trapping and frenetic pace on offense. The Tigers scored the first 10 points of the game by capitalizing on five consecutive Forester turnovers. HU finally gained some composure and trimmed the deficit to five at 15-10, but ONU responded with an 11-0 run to take a 26-10 lead with 12:12 to play in the half.
As the Foresters' miscues continued to mount, the Tigers pushed the lead to 24 on a 3-pointer by Courtney Hehn with 5:50 left in the half. HU then put together a 16-5 run capped by a Lauren Davenport lay-up to get back within 13 at 49-36 at the three minute mark. Four more HU turnovers down the stretch allowed ONU to take a 61-41 lead to the locker room.
Through the first six minutes of the second half, the two teams traded baskets with HU down 79-57 with 14:02 to play. Then over the next three minutes, the Tigers knocked down four treys and added a traditional 3-point play to push their advantage to 95-61 midway through the half.
But HU wouldn't go away and began chipping into ONU's lead. At the 3:16 mark, two Jenna Donaldson free throws got the deficit below 20 at 111-93. The Foresters then held the Tigers scoreless over the final three minutes allowing them to get as close as 11 before time ran out on the comeback.
HU's Davenport topped all scorers in the game with a career-high 29 points and Donaldson added 27 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Erica Yost had 13 points off the bench and Courtney Beerbower finished with 12. Maggie Sillar paced ONU with 23 points and six boards. Hillary Disch and Hehn each nailed five threes and finished with 19 and 18 points respectively.
The Foresters out-scored ONU 18-8 from the free throw line, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Tigers' 17-55 performance from behind the arc. HU was 41-77 from the field for 53.2% while ONU went 43-96 for 44.8%.