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Foresters open up season with 107-92 loss to #23 Olivet Nazarene

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HUNTINGTON, Ind. - It was off to the races Wednesday night for the HU women’s basketball team as they opened up their season against #23 Olivet Nazarene University in a 107-92 ball game that favored the visiting Tigers.

It was more like a track meet than basketball game as ONU plays a Grinnell-based brand of basketball that incorporates a continual full-court press, a fast-paced offense, an emphasis on offensive rebounds, a barrage of three-point shots and substitutions of five players at a time every 45 to 60 seconds. 

Their style of play was effective through the opening 20 minutes as the Tigers knocked down nine threes, forced 23 turnovers and scored 26 points in the paint to take a 62-40 lead into intermission.

A chance to regroup and catch their breath was just what the Foresters needed as they spent the third quarter cutting the leading in half. Junior point guard Maddie Richer, despite having at least two defenders swarming her throughout the game, spearheaded the HU comeback by knocking down a triple to start the second half.

Richer would go on to drain two more long balls and a pair of free throws in the quarter that saw the hosts whittle the lead to single digits at 75-66 with just over a minute remaining before settling for a 77-66  deficit by the quarter break.

Cindy In’t Groen scored down low for two of her six points to open the fourth to trim the lead back to single digits but it would be as close as things would get as the Tigers pieced together a 10-4 run to build the lead back to 15 which proved to be the difference by game’s end.

When all was said and done, Huntington outscored ONU 52-45 in the second half by going 19-for-33 from the field and 11-for-14 from the line in the final twenty minutes. For the game, the Foresters shot 53.8 percent (35-for-65) from the floor and 75.0 percent (18-for-24) from the charity stripe.

Sarah Fryman was a rebound short of a double double as the sophomore forward dropped in a career-and game-high 22 points and collected a game-best nine rebounds, six of which were offensive, to go along with five assists.

Richer also established a new career-high with 17 points, 12 of which came from behind the arc, and dished out four assists. Hailey Krewald posted some big numbers by scoring 15 points, corralling seven rebounds and swiping a game-best five steals. Brooke Saylor finished with eight points, eight rebounds and five assists.  

Jess Learned topped Olivet Nazarene with 18 points as one of five Tigers in double digits. Maggie Schmidt added 15, Capriana Christian poured in 13 while Trinity Davis and Stef Bazigos registered 12 and ten points respectively.

HU won the battle of the boards 39-34 and while the Tigers collected 16 offensive rebounds to Huntington’s 14, Culler’s crew still managed to outscore their visitors 16-11 on second chance points.

The Foresters (0-1) are back in action on Friday when they host Cornerstone at 7:00 p.m. as part of the Crossroads League/WHAC Classic.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 274 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.