Fans who were at the MCC women's basketball
matchup between Huntington University (10-6, 2-2) and Indiana Wesleyan University (15-2, 4-0) on Thursday night got their money's worth as the game down to the wire with the Wildcats coming out on top 64-61.
The first ten minutes didn't look too promising for the home team as they managed only three points to the Wildcats' 17. A defensive adjustment seemed to give new life to Huntington as they slowly chipped away at the deficit. Behind Sarah Miller's nine points, the Foresters outscored Wesleyan 21-13 over the next nine minutes to pull within six at 30-24 with 20 seconds left in the half. Kayla Thompson spoiled HU's run as she hit her first of two big shots as the buzzer sounded to give the Wildcats a 33-24 halftime lead.
Kelsey Green and Brita Kuiper teamed up down low to score HU's first 11 points of the second stanza to trim the lead to 39-35 by the 16:13 mark. After a Miller lay-up three minutes later cut the lead to three, the Wildcats picked apart HU's defense to reel off nine consecutive points and push the lead back to double digits at 48-38. The Foresters weren't ready to call it quits as they responded with a 9-2 run that closed the gap back to three with just over eight minutes on the clock.
The Wildcats extended their lead back to nine at 56-47 with five minutes left in the contest but a resilient HU squad continued to battle. Green's layup just under the two minute mark pulled the Foresters within a point . Krystal Stoneking answered on the other end with an old-fashioned three point play to give Wesleyan some breathing room but a driving layup by Miller gave the Foresters hopefuls a reason to cheer. A costly Wildcat turnover with the shot clock winding down gave the ball back to HU with less than 30 ticks remaining. Miller drove baseline and came up with another big layup to knot the score at 61-61 with twelve seconds to go. After several passes around the perimeter, Thompson came up with her second buzzer-beater of the night by draining a three to give the Wildcats the hard-fought 64-61 victory.
Miller took top scoring honors with 28 points. Green finished with 20 points and grabbed a game-high 14 boards. Kuiper added eight points, five rebounds and four steals. Leading the way for the Wildcats was Elaine Hessel with 18 points. Stoneking added 15 points and Stephanie Burtch chipped in 14.
The Foresters next MCC matchup is Saturday when they host Bethel College at 1:00 p.m.