In a game that came down to the wire, the Foresters (12-6, 3-3) came up short as the Saint Francis Cougars (11-9, 5-2) escaped the Merillat Complex with the 61-60 victory.
The first four minutes of play saw the Foresters jump to an early 11-4 lead sparked by back-to-back treys by Sarah Miller and Lauren Meese. Huntington kept things rolling over the next four minutes, pushing their lead to eight, 16-8 at the 12:14 mark. The Cougars reeled off the next eight points to record the first of ten ties. The first half closed with neither team gaining more than a four-point advantage but it was the Cougars who took the 34-32 lead into the locker room.
After sitting out most of the first half with foul trouble, Miller tied things up with a driving lay-up to knot the score 34-34. Saint Francis responded with a 7-2 run to push their lead back to five at the 16:21 mark. The Foresters then took their turn at scoring with a 6-0 run to give them a slim 42-41 lead with just under 15 minutes to go.
The Cougars re-established the lead on the next possession and held the advantage over the next 12 minutes. With just over two minutes to go, Courtney Beerbower calmly sank two free throws to trim the Cougar lead to 59-58. After holding Saint Francis scoreless on the next possession, Miller gave something for the Forester fans to cheer about when she took the ball hard to the basket drawing the foul and knocking down the lay-up. Her free throw fell short but the Foresters came up with the offensive board to give them the ball with a fresh 30 seconds. HU's shot fell short. The Cougars secured the rebound and immediately called a timeout.
The Cougars' set play found the ball in Julie Seiss' hands who penetrated the lane and layed the ball in with 31 ticks on the clock. The Foresters had two good looks at the basket that fell short as time expired.
Beerbower led all scorers with 17 points and eight rebounds. Also finishing in double digits for HU was Sarah Miller with 14 and Ryleigh Carr with 11. Kayla Mullins led four Cougars in double digits with 14.
HU, who entered the game shooting 80% from the free throw line in conference play, struggled in the second half going 6-for14 from the charity stripe for 43%. Another glaring statistic was rebounding. The Cougars dominated the boards, scoring 11 points on second chance points from 13 offensive boards.