HUNTINGTON, Ind. - In a battle to the bitter end that featured 12 ties and eight lead changes, the Forester women’s basketball game topped the 25th-ranked Cougars of Saint Francis 70-65 Saturday afternoon at the Merillat Complex. With this win, HU sweeps the regular season series against the Cougars (13-9, 5-5) and improves to 14-6, 6-4 in conference play.
Kelsey Green turned in a game-high performance of 17 points and 16 rebounds to pace the Foresters. Pazia Speed added 16 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals while Liesl Davenport chipped in 12 points. Lauren Meese finished with nine points, eight rebounds and six assists to round out HU’s balanced attack.
The Foresters set the tone early with a full court press to jump ahead 10-6 at the 17 minute mark and then used this momentum to maintain a lead through most of the first half. With the score knotted 20-20 at the midway point, four different Foresters put points on the board to give HU their largest lead of the game at 30-23 with seven minutes remaining in the half. Huntington shot 48.6% (17-for-35) through the first twenty minutes to head into break with a five-point lead at 39-34.
The Cougars made good on their first two possessions of the second half to quickly erase their five-point deficit and went on to take their first lead in nearly 18 minutes at 49-47 with just over 13 minutes remaining in the contest. A Meghan Prible trey and jumper gave the Cougars their largest lead of the day at 54-49 but HU pounded the ball inside to score eight of their next ten points in the paint to push back on top 57-56 by the 6:24 mark.
Saint Francis regained the lead on the ensuing possession but Green made sure it didn’t stick by completing an old fashioned three-point play to put HU back on top 60-58. Two ties later, Davenport gave the home team the permanent lead at 64-62 with 2:09 on the clock and then she and Speed teamed up to go 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the final 30 seconds to seal the win.
After committing ten first half miscues, the Foresters took much better care of the ball in the final period to finish with 15 turnovers to the Cougars’ 17. HU dominated on the boards 40-31 and got the job done from the line by going 18-for-19 for 94.7%.
USF placed four Cougars in double digits with Prible leading the pack with 15 points. Myqueisha Bratton finished with 14 points while Amanda Pedro and Jenelle Wilson added 13 and 11 points respectively.
With this win, the Foresters move into sole possession of third place in league play and will look to defend their spot when they head down to Indianapolis on Wednesday to take on the Knights of Marian University.