HUNTINGTON, Ind. - A five-minute scoreless span in the first half proved to be the difference in the game as the #RV Forester women’s basketball team (5-2, 0-1) dug themselves in a 13-point hole they never recovered from as the 25th-ranked University of Saint Francis (6-0, 1-0) topped HU 64-56 on opening night of league play at Platt Arena.
The first ten minutes was the type of battle to be expected between two teams vying for a top spot in the always competitive Crossroads League. But all that changed on a dime. Trailing 12-11 at the midway point of the first period, Huntington hit a brick wall. The Cougars’ stifling defense forced four consecutive Forester turnovers to spur a 12-0 run and give the visitors a 24-11 lead.
Halftime came and went without HU able to turn things around. Saint Francis grew the lead to 15 at 32-17 just over two minutes gone in the second half but the never-say-die Foresters didn’t go down without a fight. After slowly chipping away at the lead, two freebies by Lauren Meese at the 8:41 mark whittled the lead to six at 46-40.
But it was as close as they would get as the Cougars spent the next six minutes ballooning their lead back to double digits at 61-45, the largest lead of the night. HU outscored USF by eight in the waning minutes but it was too little too late as the Cougars cruised to the eight-point win.
The Cougars shot 45.5 percent (25-for-55) from the field while holding Huntington to 32.1 percent (18-for-56). HU held a 41-34 rebounding advantage. Both teams went to the charity stripe 20 times with the Foresters knocking down 18 (90.0 percent) to the Cougars’ ten (50.0 percent).
Sarah Miller-Jennings finished with 17 points followed by Allison Greene with 11 and Lauren Meese with 10. Taylor Foley grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Skylarr Shurn topped all scorers with 19 points. Kayla Drake added 17 points and Brooke Ridley tossed in eight points and ripped down a team-high nine boards.
The Foresters have the weekend off before traveling to Marian University on Tuesday for a 7:00 p.m. matchup with the Knights.