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HU upsets IWU for a second time to advance to the championship game of the CL tourney

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MARION, Ind. - It was an unbelievable night for the 4th-seeded HU women’s basketball team as they not only upset top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan University for the second time this season on their floor, but did so convincingly this time around by a margin of 21 points. The 77-56 loss is the largest margin of defeat the Wildcats have suffered since March 12, 2011, when they lost to Northwestern, 79-58, in the Elite Eight of the NAIA National Tournament.

The win sends the Foresters to the championship game of the Crossroads League tournament on Monday night where they will face 2nd-seeded Marian University at 7 p.m. in Indianapolis. The winner of Monday’s contest will be crowned the Crossroads League tournament champions and receive the league’s second automatic bid to the big dance.

Less than 30 seconds into the game, Amelia Recker slid up and under her defender to kiss a shot off the glass to give her team what proved to be a permanent lead. Little did anyone suspect that that two-point advantage would do nothing but grow over the next 39 minutes as the Foresters never trailed to the fifth-ranked team in the nation.

Fueled by a field goal percentage of 50.0 percent (27-for-54), Huntington built its first double digit lead of 24-14 by the 7:18 mark of the first half and never looked back. Recker scored 11 of her game-high 24 points in the first twenty minutes to send the Foresters into break with a 37-26 advantage.

The Wildcats would erase the lead to seven, 37-30, within the first 60 seconds of the final period but Recker and Kelsey Hubble weren’t about to let their team’s lead dip any lower. After Recker's jumper and two freebies, Hubble drained back-to-back triples to quickly pad the lead to 17 at 47-30.

It was the beginning of the end for IWU as Huntington had their way with the Wildcats after that. Two possessions later, Miranda Palmer spearheaded the next HU spurt when she sandwiched two Recker free throws with HU’s third long ball of the stanza and an acrobatic layup to extend the lead to 22 with just over 14 minutes remaining.

Thirteen points would be as close as the Wildcats would get the rest of the way as the Foresters never let IWU string together more than an 8-0 run.

In addition to Recker’s 24 points, Palmer and Hubble chipped in 20 and 17 points respectively. The tandem accounted for eight of their team’s nine triples as Palmer dropped in three and Hubble drained five.  

Courtney Baker logged a unique double double of 14 rebounds and ten assists to go along with three steals.

Most telling of HU’s impressive win was how well they worked to find an open teammate as 23 of their 27 field goals were assisted. The Foresters also dominated the boards 44-23 and got to the line 16 times where they converted 14 of their attempts for 87.5 percent.

Erika Isham came off the bench to pace IWU with 15 points while Emma Stahl pitched in 12. Huntington limited the league’s player of the year in Katrina Blackmon to just four points. They also held Carlee Cottrell to three points after the sharp shooter punished HU for 24 points last time these two teams met.

The Foresters improve to 22-8 while the Wildcats drop to 27-5.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 16 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 222 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.