The game was everything you’d expect between two NAIA Top 25 teams. After 13 ties and six lead changes, it was the 12th-ranked Huntington University Foresters who prevailed in the barnburner 84-79 over the 18th-ranked Trojans of Taylor University.
The game had an identical start to the first meeting between the two teams back on December 12 when Taylor routed the Foresters 61-45. Huntington jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead only to have the Trojans battle back to go up 11-9. But that is where the similarities ended. In their first matchup, the Foresters managed just 16 points in the first half and were never really in the contest, but this time around they stayed aggressive. Huntington reclaimed the lead at 15-13 on a layup at the 12:41 mark and they stayed in front for most of the half. The Foresters mounted their largest lead of the game at 34-25 with just under a minute left in the period and took a 34-28 advantage to the break.
The Trojans got the momentum as the second half began and used a 14-4 run to climb back in front at 42-38. Following a Huntington timeout, the Foresters got back-to-back layups from Sarah Miller and Lauren Davenport to even things up for the sixth time in the contest with 14:37 to play. For the next 10 minutes, both teams matched the other blow for blow and ended with the score knotted for the 13th time at 66-66 with 4:48 remaining.
Huntington finally got some breathing room with a 9-0 run over a two minute span, but the Trojans weren’t about to go away. Taylor fought back within two at 78-76 with 1:18 on the clock, but a Davenport jumper squelched the rally attempt and Huntington sealed the win at the line.
The Foresters put four in double figures in the winning effort with Davenport and Miller leading the way with 19 points apiece. Jenna Donaldson finished with 17 points and Courtney Beerbower added 12. Ryleigh Carr took game-high honors with seven rebounds off the bench for Huntington. Taylor’s Paige Rudolph topped all scorers in the game with 20 points. Bethany Ballard chipped in 18 and Allison Reece had 11.