Huntington, Ind. - The Forester women’s basketball overcame a sluggish first half to snag a come-from-behind 60-59 win over the Cougars of Mount Vernon Nazarene University Thursday at the Merillat Complex.
It was a critical game for both teams as they entered the contest with identical MCC records of 1-3 and were desperate to jump back into the top half of conference play with a win.
The Cougars left no doubt they came ready to battle as they quickly jumped out to a 5-0 lead. They used this early momentum to take control of the half by sizzling the nets for 57.7% (15-for-26) and forcing 10 HU turnovers to extend their lead to 31-15 with 2:35 remaining. A long bomb by Allison Greene and an old-fashioned three point play by Pazia Speed sparked a 10-4 Forester run to close out the half and trim the lead to 35-25.
HU came out of the locker room with new life and wasted little time erasing their double digit deficit behind the play of Kelsey Green who scored twice in the paint to cut the lead to 37-33 by the 16:37 mark. With the score favoring MVNU 45-41 and just over nine minutes remaining, freshman Courtney Baker was the subtle game-changer as she scored six of HU’s next ten points to give the Foresters their first lead of the game at 51-50 with 5:48 left on the clock.
The next three and a half minutes was an all-out war as evidenced by six lead changes and three ties. Down 57-56 with just over two minutes remaining, Lauren Meese calmly sank two free tosses to give the resilient Foresters a one-point lead that wouldn’t be relinquished. HU took advantage of back-to-back Cougar turnovers to grow the lead to three with :49 ticks remaining and despite a Cougar lay-up that closed the gap to one, the Foresters were able to run out the clock for the win.
Team defense was the key to HU’s second half comeback as they limited the Cougars to nine field goals on 39.1% shooting and forced 11 turnovers.
It was a team effort offensively too as the Foresters were paced by Green’s 15 points while five other players scored at least seven points. Green also ripped down a game-high 10 rebounds for the double double. Amy Daniels led all scorers with 19 points. Sierra Fletcher was the only other Cougar in double digits with 12 points, all of which came from behind the arc.
The Foresters (10-5, 2-3) finish out their three-game week on Saturday when they travel to Spring Arbor for a 1:00 p.m. tip-off.