Up against the #5 team in the nation, the Forester women's basketball
team (12-8, 4-4) gave the University of Saint Francis (18-4, 7-1) all they could handle as the Cougars escaped with a 65-63 win at the Hutzell Athletic Center on Wednesday evening.
Huntington left no doubt they came ready to play as they sprinted out of the gates by scoring the first seven points of the game. A rattled Cougar squad then had to deal with Allison Greene as she provided HU with instant offense by scoring a quick seven points to keep the Cougars scrambling. Up by nine midway through the half, the Foresters went on a three-minute scoring drought allowing Saint Francis to reel off seven consecutive points and pull within one at 24-23. But Greene and Sarah Miller each scored five points to fuel a 12-4 run that pushed the lead back to nine with just over two minutes left in the half. The half closed with the Cougars cashing in on two free throws and two buckets down low to close within three at 36-33.
While the Foresters weren't quite as polished in the second half, they still held onto a the lead through the first ten minutes of play. Vini Dawson's trey at the 9:04 mark gave the Cougars their first lead of the contest at 53-52. In the midst of four lead changes and two ties, the Foresters took two big hits when Lauren Meese and Miller made early exits as they were each whistled for their fifth foul at the eight and five minute marks respectively but a determined Huntington squad remained poised and stayed within striking distance of the veteran Cougars.
Down 63-61 with just over a minute remaining, Pazia Speed stole a Cougar inbounds pass that resulted in Greene being sent to the charity stripe where she calmly sank both attempts to knot the score at 63-63. After exchanging missed shots, the Cougars secured a defensive rebound with 19 ticks remaining and marched down the court where Dawson drained a ten foot jumper with four seconds remaining to give Saint Francis the hard fought two-point victory.
Greene came off the bench to lead HU with 18 points. Kelsey Green recorded her tenth double double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Miller was the only other Forester in double digits with 11. Julie Seiss poured in a game-high 27 points for the Cougars. Kayla Mullins finished with 12 points.