The NAIA 8th-ranked Cougars of St. Francis (9-1, 2-0) used a sticky defense for much of the game to defeat the Foresters 66-56.
The Foresters (5-2, 1-1) knocked down three treys early on their way to a 17-10 lead nine minutes into the contest, but then the well went dry. Huntington went almost five minutes without a basket while St. Francis scored 10 unanswered points to take a 20-17 lead with 6:33 left in the half. The Cougars out-scored Huntington 12-10 down the stretch to hold a 32-27 advantage at the break.
Another five-minute drought and a 16-3 St. Francis run to start the second half had the Foresters facing an 18-point deficit at 48-30 with 12:51 to play. Following a timeout, Huntington’s Jenna Donaldson knocked down her third long-ball of the night to finally ignite a Forester run. Huntington whittled it down to five twice with the last coming on an Erica Yost jumper in the paint with 1:29 to play, but it was as close as they would get. St. Francis knocked down five of six charity tosses in the final 47 seconds to seal the win.
Senior center, Chivonn Keppeler, of St. Francis topped all scorers in the game with 30 points on 11-12 shooting from the field and 8-9 from the line. Nikki Lewis and Jessica Hathaway both added 11 points. Amy Berry led Huntington with 18 points. Donaldson finished with 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Both teams hit 20 field goals in the game and Huntington hit nine 3-pointers to just three for the Cougars, but St. Francis got the job done at the line going 23-28 for 82% while the Foresters were 7 for 14 for 50%.