HUNTINGTON, Ind. - After a sluggish first half, the Forester women’s basketball team mounted a heroic second half comeback to claim a crucial 60-54 win over the Lancers of Grace College. With this win, the Foresters (15-7) improve to 7-5 in league play and into a three-way tie for third while the Lancers (14-10, 6-6) drop into fourth place.
After allowing the Lancers to dictate the first half, HU became the aggressors in the final twenty minutes by exploding for 38 points while limiting Grace to seven field goals for 19 points. HU shot 60.0% in the second period to finish 43.2% for the game (19-for-44) while holding their MCC foe to 33.3% (21-for-63). While neither team shot particularly well from the charity stripe, the Foresters claimed a 19-8 advantage at the line.
Leading the Forester attack was Pazia Speed with 14 points. Lauren Meese turned in a solid performance of 13 points, six rebounds and three assists while Kelsey Green chipped in 12 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. After seeing limited action in the first half due to foul trouble, Courtney Baker came off the bench to score eight points and rip down five boards in the final twenty minutes.
After playing to an 8-8 tie through the first six minutes, HU jumped on top 16-12 by the 11:33 mark but it was a short-lived as the Foresters seemed to hit a wall. Flustered by the Lancers’ defensive aggressiveness, HU struggled to get into any sort of offensive rhythm as their only points over the next 12 minutes came by way of the free throw line. Grace made the most of Huntington’s shooting woes by closing out the period on a 23-6 run. The inside out combo of Kiera Gray and Danielle Boykin accounted for 21 of the Lancers’ first half points to give the visitors a comfortable 35-22 lead at intermission.
After regrouping at halftime, Huntington came out of the locker room with renewed energy. Within the first three and a half minutes, HU had trimmed the lead to 37-33 to send the Lancers reeling. With the score tied at 41-41, Pazia Speed’s baseline jumper with just under 11 minutes remaining finally got HU over the hump as they surged ahead 43-41 and never looked back.
Speed’s hot hand continued as she scored in transition and knocked down the long bomb to fuel a 12-4 run that gave HU their largest lead of the day at 55-45 with five minutes remaining. Three minutes later Gray drilled a trey to pull the Lancers within six at 57-51 but they would get no closer as the Foresters made good on three freebies to hold on for the win.
Gray poured in 23 points to lead all scorers. Boykin was the only other Lancer to reach double digits with 14. Hayley Cashier finished with a game-high ten rebounds.
The Foresters are back in action on Wednesday when they travel to #1 Indiana Wesleyan for a 1:00 p.m. matchup.