In a game that came down to the final buzzer, the Foresters (21-8) brought an end to Bethel's season with a 77-74 win over the Pilots (19-12).
Both teams came ready to do battle as the first ten minutes was a seesaw affair with neither team gaining more than a four-point advantage. Lindsay Rich sparked the Pilots as she came off the bench to score four consecutive points to give Bethel the 21-16 lead at the 8:38 mark. The Foresters kept within striking distance and Lauren Meese's long bomb four minutes later knotted the score at 26-26. It looked like HU would head into intermission with the advantage as Jenna Donaldson's jumper gave the Foresters the 33-30 lead with just over a minute to play but the Pilots had a different idea in mind as they nailed back-to-back threes to take the 36-33 lead into the locker room.
The Pilots held onto the lead through the first eight minutes of play but then Lauren Meese and Sarah Miller went to work as they combined to score ten points to turn a four-point deficit into a four-point lead at 53-49 midway through the half. The Foresters used this momentum to build an 11-point lead with just under six minutes to go but the Pilots weren't ready to call it quits. They chipped away at the lead using a full court trapping defense that forced several HU turnovers and missed shots while on the other end they found their way to the free throw line to score nine of their next 12 points to close within three, 73-70, with 39 seconds to go.
Miller then made it a two-possession game by knocking down one of two freebies but Bethel's Mandy Yoder marched down the court to score an easy lay-up to pull back within two, 74-72, with 24 ticks remaining. Beerbower pushed the lead back to three when she went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe and again Yoder answered with a lay-up to trim HU's lead to 75-74. With seven seconds remaining, Beerbower marched back to the free line where she drilled both shots to give the Foresters the three-point advantage. Heather Seyfred's three was off the mark as Bethel would come up with the rebound but couldn't get another shot off before time expired giving HU the hard-fought victory.
Beerbower turned in a career best 29 points to lead all scorers. She also grabbed a game-high ten rebounds to notch the double-double. Miller finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Meese and Donaldson chipped in 12 and 10 points respectively. Leading the way for Bethel was Yoder with 24 and Bekah Basinger with 20.
With this win, the Foresters advance to the semifinals on Friday night where they will travel to #2-seeded Saint Francis for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off.