SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Hoping for their second upset in as many days, the 5th-seeded Foresters of Huntington University came up short Friday afternoon in second round action of 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, losing to top-seeded Northwestern College (Iowa) 92-68.
With this win, the Red Raiders (29-4) improve to 10-2 all time in the second round and advance to their seventh straight quarterfinals. Northwestern entered the championship as the record holder in wins (44) and national titles (5).
Huntington held the lead for the opening two minutes before Northwestern rattled the rim for nine straight points to take what proved to be a permanent lead of 9-5 at the 15:58 mark.
The Red Raiders went on to stretch the lead to seven by the midway point of the half but a pair of Kelsey Hubble treys highlighted a 10-4 Forester spurt that dwindled the lead to a single point, 25-24, with just under eight remaining. Unfortunately, not much went right for HU after that as Northwestern finished out the half on a 13-4 tear to take a 38-28 lead into intermission.
Amelia Recker scored her team’s first eight points of the final period to play even with Northwestern through the first four minutes but eventually the Red Raiders’ defensive pressure and run and gun offense took its toll on the Foresters. Northwestern slowly began pulling away to enjoy a 20+ point advantage over the final four minutes of play.
Northwestern was dominant in the paint, outscoring HU 48-24 in the lane, while also outscoring the Foresters 16-4 on second-chance points. As a team, the Red Raiders shot 52.9 percent from the field, including a 21-for-33 effort in the second half while limiting Coach Culler’s squad to 41.9 percent (24-for-56).
Miranda Palmer led the Foresters with 17 points off the bench, while Amelia Recker and Pazia Speed added 15 and 11 points respectively. Hubble finished with three triples for nine points. Jaclene Bonnema topped HU with six rebounds.
Alli Engebretson amassed a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds to lead the Red Raiders. Other double digit scorers for Northwestern were Karen Hutson with 19, Samantha Kleinsasser with 16 and Whitney Vander Maten with 12.
Huntington wraps up its season with an overall record of 24-9.