Ind. – Huntington University head coach Lori Culler picked up her 500th
win tonight and it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for her and her No.
The win, a 51-49 decision over the No. 7 Wildcats of Indiana Wesleyan
University (19-6, 9-4), not only broke a ten-game win streak IWU had over HU
but more importantly catapulted Huntington into sole possession of second place
in the conference standings. With five regular season games remaining,
Huntington improves to 18-6 overall, 10-3 in league play.
Coach Culler is currently No. 3 on the career win list among active women’s
basketball coaches in NAIA Division II. Over the course of her 28 years at
Huntington, she has accumulated 500 wins against 320 losses for a winning
percentage of 61.0 percent.
Points were at a premium Wednesday night as both teams pride themselves on
defense and the battle did not disappoint. The Wildcats currently lead the
nation in points allowed (53.0) but on this given night, the Foresters gave IWU
a little taste of their own medicine.
“Tonight this team put together a defensive gem,” said Coach Culler. “Their
preparation the past two days was so focused and their execution throughout the
game was nearly flawless.
“Anytime you hold a team under 50 points in a game, you give yourself a chance
to win and it’s even more special when you’re able to stymie a team that is so
well coached and has had so much success of their own. I couldn’t be more
proud of our effort tonight.”
held Indiana Wesleyan to their lowest output of the season, 49 points, on 46.5
percent shooting (20-for-43) while giving up only six offensive boards and forcing
On the other end of the court, freshman Miranda Palmer played anything like a
rookie to bolster HU’s offense. She poured in a game-high 22 points which
included three triples and a perfect night at the line (5-for-5). The Findlay
native has come into her own as of late, averaging just under 16 points per
outing over the last seven games.
Kelsey Hubble tossed in ten points as Huntington’s only other double digit
scorer. Amelia Recker topped all rebounders with nine, which included corralling
two her team’s nine offensive boards.
Both teams struggled through a low-scoring first half that featured only 18
combined field goals to make for a halftime deadlock of 21-21. The night didn’t
start off as such for the hosts as a long two and 3-pointer by Hubble within
the opening minutes of play got her team off to a fast start of 9-2 by the
The defensive battle ensued as a disciplined Wildcat squad methodically went to
work to eventually take the stanza’s largest lead of 17-13 by the 5:51 mark before
HU closed out the period on a 9-4 run to knot things up at 21s by the halftime
IWU scored the first six points of the final period to enjoy a 27-21 lead by
the 15:19 mark but the Foresters didn’t panic. Courtney Baker finally broke the
ice for HU with a jumper in the lane 30 seconds later to pull Coach Culler’s
crew within four.
Still trailing by two, 34-32, by the midway point of the period, Palmer and
Hubble teamed up spearhead an 11-2 run to turn their team’s two-point deficit
into a seven-point advantage of 43-36.
After Palmer sparked the run with a pair of free throws and Baker scored in the
paint, two Palmer buckets, both of which Hubble assisted, sandwiched Hubble’s
15-footer to give Huntington a lead that would stick.
The Wildcats closed within two on several occasions in the final 90 seconds but
each time the upset-minded Foresters answered by way of a Pazia Speed jumper
and Palmer reverse layup to stave off IWU for the win.
“This win is a great representation of what this team has been about all year,
everyone performing their roles to the best of their abilities, sticking
together through some adversity when we weren’t shooting well and being
relentless until the final buzzer,” said Culler.
Val Sohasky and Taylor Goshert paced Wesleyan with 12 and ten points respectively.
The Foresters turn their attention to Goshen for
Saturday’s matchup as they look to avenge a loss to the Maple Leafs earlier