JOLIET, Ill. - The Forester women’s basketball team wrapped up 2013 with a 65-48 win over the University of St. Francis (Ill.) Saturday afternoon at the Sullivan Center. It marked HU’s second win in as many days and bumped their win total to 11 against just three losses.
It wasn’t the prettiest of performances by Coach Culler’s squad but a win, their seventh consecutive nonetheless as Huntington’s free throw shooting and defense proved to be their saving grace. HU connected on 23 of their 28 attempts for 82.1 percent which made up for their 16 turnovers and lackluster shooting percentage from the field of 39.2 percent (20-for-51).
Defensively, the Foresters limited the Fighting Saints to just 18 field goals on 32.1 percent shooting while forcing 21 turnovers to hold their hosts to under 50 points, only the third time this season Huntington has accomplished such a feat.
Neither team was able to generate much offense through the first 14 minutes as evidenced by the 17-14 score that favored HU at the 6:01 mark. Miranda Palmer finally perked up her team with a driving layup and triple within a two-minute span to spark a 12-5 run to cap off the half and give her team a 29-19 lead heading into break.
After regrouping at halftime, USF came out with new life to quickly whittle the lead to four at 31-27 within the first two and a half minutes of play. But a timeout by Culler to settle down her team seemed to be just what the Foresters needed as they responded with a 14-4 spurt to grow the lead to 14, 45-31, with just over 11 minutes remaining.
It was all HU after that as the march to the free throw line began. Nine of their final 20 points came by way of the charity stripe as they padded the lead to as many as 23 before settling for the 17-point victory.
Just like the day before, it was a contest where Huntington never trailed.
Pazia Speed topped all scorers with 15 points. Amelia Recker tossed in 14 and Palmer came off the bench to add ten. Jaclene Bonnema corralled a team-best ten rebounds and rejected four shots while Courtney Baker handed out a team-high three assists.
Caleigh Hill finished with 12 points to pace the Fighting Saints (3-12). Joining her in double digits was Leah Avery with 11 and Paige Stankus with ten.
The Foresters are off until January 4 when they resume league play by hosting Taylor University at 1:00 p.m.