MARION, Ind. - The HU women’s basketball team’s quest for its third conference tournament title was cut short Friday night at Luckey Arena when top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan University handed HU a 64-53 loss in the semifinals of the league tourney.
With this loss, the Foresters wrap up their season with an 18-13 record. For the Wildcats, they move to 30-2 and advance to the championship game of the Crossroads League tourney Monday night where they will host 2nd-seeded University of Saint Francis at 7:00 p.m.
Boasting the nation’s top defense, IWU made it extremely difficult for Huntington to do much of anything in the first half. They held their visitors to 14 first half points on 20.0 percent (4-for-20) shooting and forced HU to cough up the ball 13 times in the first frame.
On the other end of the court, the Wildcats connected on 46.4 percent (13-for-28) of their shots to nearly double up HU’s score for a 27-14 lead by intermission.
Despite outscoring IWU by two through the final twenty minutes, Huntington played catch up the rest of the way as they were able to trim it to seven points on several occasions but could get no closer. HU had a golden opportunity with just under 12 minutes remaining after Taylor Foley scored two of her eight points to pull her team within striking distance at 39-31.
While HU was able to hold the nation’s top team to a single point over the next three minutes, the Foresters let the opportunity slip through their fingers as they committed three turnovers and were called for two charges, negating any sort of heroic comeback.
Wesleyan went on to balloon their advantage to as many as 15 before cruising to the 11-point victory.
Sarah Miller-Jennings finished with 15 points to pace the Foresters. Allison Greene came off the bench to spark her team with 12 points which included two triples and Amelia Recker also posted 12 points, 11 of which came in the final stanza. Foley ripped down a game-high nine rebounds.
Paige Smith topped all scorers with 22 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Katrina Blackmon was IWU’s only other double digit scorer with 19.
The senior trio of Miller-Jennings, Greene and Lauren Meese wrapped up their impressive collegiate careers having combined for 3,580 career points. Miller-Jennings finished with 1,703 points to place her 4th on HU’s all-time scoring list while Meese and Greene tossed in 975 and 902 points respectively.