Huntington, Ind. - Postponed a day because of a power outage from the season’s first snow, the 10th-ranked HU women’s basketball team fell to a scrappy Marian University squad 64-57 Thursday night at the Merillat Complex. With this loss, the Foresters drop to 4-3, 1-1 in league play.
The Knights’ aggressive and physical style of play seemed to wear down the Foresters and nowhere was it more obvious than the charity stripe. The Foresters who entered tonight’s contest leading the NAIA Division II in free throw shooting at 85.1 percent, shot a dismal 13-for-28 from the line for 46.4 percent.
After playing to a 7-7 tie at the 12:48 mark of the first half, Lauren Meese spurred a 16-6 run to give HU the largest lead of the night at 23-13 with just over five minute remaining. The Knights then took their turn by scoring the next ten points to erase the deficit and while HU took a 24-23 lead into the locker room, the momentum had clearly started to shift.
Early in the second stanza, Liesl Davenport scored nine consecutive Forester points to give the home team a slim 38-37 lead with 13 minutes to go but it proved to be their last lead of the night as Marian’s smothering defense got the best of HU.
In the final 13 minutes, the Foresters managed only seven field goals on 24 attempts but even more disheartening was their performance at the line where they went 4-for-13 to let the game slip away. The Knights, on the other hand, had one of their most productive halves by knocking down 15 of their 19 shots for 78.9 percent. They finished the game shooting 59.1 percent (26-for-44) compared to the Foresters’ 31.7 percent (20-for-63).
Meese finished with a team-high 19 points and six of the Foresters’ 22 offensive rebounds. She also dished out three assists and snagged two steals. Davenport tossed in 16 points and Pazia Speed added another ten. Kelsey Green grabbed a game-high 12 boards. Whitley Emerson topped all scorers with 23 points while Rachel Turk and Adrienne Sahm netted 11 points apiece.
HU hits the road on Saturday when they travel to Winona Lake to take on No. 20 Grace College at 2:00 p.m.