Up just four seven minutes into the second half, Huntington University (2-0) turned up the heat defensively and ran away with the 75-52 win over the University of Northwestern Ohio (0-1) in the first round of the Huntington University Vista Inn Tournament.
The Foresters opened the game with a 19-3 run and looked to have the Racers on the ropes early. But HU gave up the momentum by committing turnovers on four of their next 10 possessions allowing UNOH to cut the deficit to single digits at 25-16 with 6:40 to play in the half. The Foresters then went cold from the field down the stretch and saw their 16-point advantage dwindle down to four with 41 seconds to go. An traditional 3-point play by Jenna Donaldson pushed HU’s cushion back to seven at the break.
The Racers kept pace with the Foresters early in the second half and were still within four at the 12:38 mark. Following an HU timeout, the Foresters picked up the defensive intensity and put together a 5-0 run. After two Racers free throws, HU then held UNOH scoreless for the next five minutes to take a commanding 60-39 lead with 5:27 left in the game. A lay-up by Courtney Beerbower gave the Foresters their largest lead of the game at 70-43 with just under three minutes remaining.
Huntington’s Jenna Donaldson took game-high honors with 24 points and seven rebounds. Beerbower added 23 points and Lauren Davenport finished with 10. Krissy Koester was the lone Racer to reach double figures with 11.
After shooting 39.4% in the first half, Huntington hit for 53.8% in the second to finish the game at 45.8% (27-59). The Racers were 19-52 from the field for 36.5%. The Foresters forced UNOH into 27 turnovers in the game while committing just 13 themselves.
Huntington will face Wilberforce University in the championship game of the tournament tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. In the other first round game, Wilberforce came back from a 14-point half-time deficit to knock off Trinity Christian College 59-51.