INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Whitley Emerson put back her own miss with less than 30 seconds remaining to give the Knights of Marian University their first lead of the half and it proved to be more than enough as they downed the #22 Foresters 66-63 Wednesday night in a critical MCC clash.
Despite shooting 55.6% for the game (26-for-45), Huntington couldn’t withstand a late-game rally by the Knights as second chance points proved to be the difference in the game. After collecting seven offensive rebounds through the first 35 minutes of play, Marian stepped up their intensity to rip down eight of their own misses in the final five minutes to will their way to a win. Two of the Knights’ last three field goals came by way of an offensive board.
Marian jumped out to a quick 11-6 lead but a determined HU squad responded with a 14-4 run that saw six different Foresters put points on the board to push Huntington in front 20-15 by the midway point. Sparked by Courtney Baker’s 11 first half points, the Foresters went on to build a 13-point lead before heading into intermission with a 38-27 advantage.
A fired up Marian team stormed out of the locker room to cut HU’s lead in half at 43-38 within the first four minutes of the period but Lauren Meese knocked down a pair of free tosses and drained a three in a 7-2 counterattack to build the lead back to 11 at 50-38 with 12 minutes to go.
HU remained in command over the next five minutes but the tides quickly turned when Nikki Schmidt scored two uncontested layups on back-to-back steals to shift the momentum to a keyed up home team.
It looked like the Foresters might ward off the Knights when Meese dropped in her second three from the corner to give HU a seven-point cushion at 62-55 with just under five minutes remaining, but it was all Marian after that. Known for their physical play, the Knights clamped down defensively to hold HU to a single point the rest of the way to claim the come-from-behind win.
Meese and Baker each tossed in 14 points, dished out three assists and snagged two steals to pace the Foresters. Kelsey Green added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Emerson led a balanced Knight attack with 11 points. She also grabbed a game-high ten boards for the double double. Natalie Robinson came off the bench to score ten points, which included two treys.
With this loss, HU (14-7) drops to 6-5 in conference and into a five-way battle for third place. The Foresters are back home on Saturday where they will take on the Lancers of Grace College who knocked off top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan Wednesday night 41-39.