MARION, Ind. - The No. 5 Wildcats of Indiana Wesleyan University (14-3, 4-1) lived up to their reputation as the nation’s top defenders by limiting the No. 22 Forester women’s basketball team to 50 points, their second lowest output of the season, on the way to a 66-50 victory Wednesday night at Luckey Arena.
The loss snaps HU’s eight-game win streak as they drop to 12-4 overall, 4-1 in league play.
IWU is leading the NAIA Division II in scoring defense per game by holding opponents to just over 51 points per outing and unfortunately HU learned firsthand that points don’t come easy against them, especially when playing on the Wildcats’ home turf. Coach Culler’s squad, shooting 44.7 percent on the year, was limited to 37.0 percent (17-for-60) on the night.
Pazia Speed was the Foresters only double digit scorer. She finished with 15 points, seven of which came from the charity stripe, and dished out two assists. Amelia Echemann pulled down a team-high six boards.
Sixteen points separated these two teams by the final buzzer but the point spread wasn’t indicative of how the game actually played out. While HU never enjoyed a lead, they also never trailed by more than ten points until the final 3:36 when the Wildcats widened the gap to 58-46 on their way to cushioning the advantage by four more by game’s end.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 15-6 lead but Huntington responded with an 8-2 run as four different Foresters put points on the board to trim the lead to three at 17-14. IWU was quick to respond by rattling off nine of the game’s next ten points to take their first double digit lead of the contest, 26-16, with just over three minutes to go in the frame on the way to enjoying a 29-20 lead by halftime.
The Wildcats scored the first point of the final stanza to bump the lead back to ten but the Foresters, behind five points from Speed, spent the next three minutes charging back to cut the deficit to two at 32-30 with 16:06 remaining.
It was as close as the visitors would get the rest of the night as they stayed within striking distance the next 13 minutes, hovering within 6 to 10 points, before IWU’s defense seemed to get the best of them.
Huntington committed 15 turnovers while forcing the Wildcats to cough up the ball 19 times but IWU owned the glass. They ripped down 12 offensive rebounds, just as many defensive boards as the Foresters came up with en route to doubling up HU in total rebounds, 36-18.
Katrina Blackmon topped Wesleyan with 15 points and eight rebounds. Emma Stahl rounded out IWU’s double digit scoring with ten.
The Foresters hit the road again on Saturday to take on Goshen at 1:00 p.m.