The NAIA 24th-ranked Huntington University Foresters (18-10) overcame a sluggish start and some foul trouble to knock off Spring Arbor University (7-24) 68-55 in first round action of the Mid-Central Conference Tournament. Despite shooting just 28% in the first half to 47% for Spring Arbor, the Foresters were still able to take a 24-23 lead to the locker room at the break. HU made up for the poor shooting by working the glass and came up an 8-1 advantage on the offensive boards. The Foresters also took better care of the ball with just six turnovers in the half to 12 for the Cougars.
After getting over their first half jitters, HU exploded from the locker room and immediately took command of the game with a 16-3 run over the first four and a half minutes of play. The Cougars answered back with a 10-2 spurt to pull within six at 42-36 with 13:39 to go. The two teams traded baskets over the next few minutes until a jumper by Kendra Stahl gave the Foresters a double digit lead for good at 55-44 with 7:51 on the clock. Two free throws by Amy Berry at the 1:46 mark gave HU its largest lead at 66-51 and Janna Knisely closed out the scoring with a baseline jumper with under a minute left.
Although Knisely picked up her fourth foul three minutes into the second half, she made the most of her minutes leading the Foresters with a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds. Ramey also turned in her own version of the double-double with 14 points and 11 assists for HU. Amy Berry needed just six points on the night to record the 1000th point of her career and she came up with 11. The Cougars were lead by Shanna Grubaugh’s 13 points and four assists. The Foresters finished the game shooting 44% from the field after a 60% performance in the second half. HU also out-rebounded Spring Arbor 42-32. With the win, the Foresters advance to the semifinal round of the MCC Tournament where they will host the NAIA 10th-ranked Wildcats of Indiana Wesleyan University on Friday, February 24th at 7:00 p.m. Indiana Wesleyan defeated Marian College 79-50 in its first round game.