ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Behind Pazia Speed’s 22 points, the Forester women’s basketball team (2-0) upset 7th-ranked Concordia University (2-1) 76-66 Tuesday night on the Cardinals’ home court.
It was sweet revenge for the visitors as Concordia beat HU twice last year with the final meeting a 69-60 decision in first round action of the 2012 NAIA National Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.
A solid team effort on both ends of the court proved to be Huntington’s winning combination as they held the Cardinals’ high octane offense to 66 points, over 16 points less than their average through two games, and forced 19 turnovers.
On the other end of the floor, the Foresters shot 47.5 percent for the game and recorded 14 assists on 29 field goals while committing only 16 turnovers.
The first six and a half minutes was a flurry of activity that featured five lead changes as both teams combined to go 16-for-24 to play to their fifth tie of the night at 17-17.But it proved to be all HU after that as Allison Greene knocked down a short jumper to give Huntington a permanent lead.
Up 31-25 with just under five minutes remaining in the period, five different Foresters put points on the board to give HU their largest lead of the half at 44-31 heading into break.
The Cardinals came out of the locker room with renewed energy and stretched their pressure to full court but the Foresters weathered the storm. Speed and Greene accounted for eight of HU’s first 14 points of the half to extend the lead to twenty at 58-38 with 13 minutes to go.
Down 65-49 with just over five minutes remaining, Concordia mounted a final comeback behind the play of Maya Mulroy. Mulroy scored on three consecutive possessions to spur a 12-4 run that trimmed the lead to six at 69-63 with 1:02 on the clock.
But once again, Culler’s poised squad had an answer; this time by way of the charity stripe. Four different Foresters stepped up to the line and converted seven of eight free throws to seal the win.
Speed topped all scorers with 22 points, ripped down five boards and dished out three assists. Greene finished with 15 points to go along with four steals while Taylor Foley added 12 points, ten of which came in the first 20 minutes, and three assists.
Lauren Meese had a masterful performance directing HU’s offense. Plagued by pressure all night, the senior point guard played all by six minutes and finished with ten points, five boards and a game-high five steals. She also limited Concordia’s leading scorer, Abbey Hengesbach, to four points.
Hannah Sabol paced the Cardinals with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Marion Rodriguez added 14 points while Mulroy and Colleen Szakacaz finished with 12 and ten points respectively.
The Foresters are back in action on Saturday for their home opener where they will square off with NAIA Division I 13th-ranked Campbellsville University (Ky.) at 7:00 p.m.