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Foresters win own tourney with 61-41 decision over IUSE

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HUNTINGTON, Ind. - Junior Brooke Saylor had one of the best games of her career to lead the Forester women’s basketball team to a 61-41 victory over IU Southeast in the championship game of the HU Tournament on Saturday at Platt Arena.

The 5-10 forward did a little bit of everything for her team by posting 16 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks and three assists which made her the easy pick as the tournament MVP.

IU Southeast entered the afternoon averaging nearly 85 points but the Foresters weren’t having it as they held their visitors to half that by limiting the Grenadiers to just 13 field goals on 23.2 percent shooting and forcing 15 turnovers. 41 points is IUSE’s lowest output since November of 2008 when they lost to Lindsey Wilson 53-40.

Offense didn’t come particularly easy for Huntington either as they scored 15 points below their season average but Culler’s crew still managed to hold a lead for all but two ties throughout the 40-minute contest. The game’s only two deadlocks came within two minutes of each other - at the end of the first quarter and start of the second.

Baylee Kreuger’s quick score to open the second forced an 11-11 tie but back-to-back buckets by Cindy In’t Groen gave HU a permanent lead of 15-11 at the 8:04 mark. The Foresters would go on to manufacture an 8-0 run at the end of the quarter, four by Sam Hammel in the last minute of play, to take a 31-21 halftime lead.

The Grenadiers chopped the lead to six at 34-28 four minutes into the third quarter but would get no closer compliments of six straight points by Saylor to push the lead back to double digits where it would stay the rest of the way.

The lead stood at 12 points after three quarters and only swelled after that. It was déjà vu from the second quarter as IUSE scored on the opening possession of the fourth after which In’t Groen scored twice, this time on back-to-back dump downs from Casey Morton, for a 48-34 Huntington advantage. The Grenadiers managed just seven points after that while HU continued to roll to blow the game wide open by the final buzzer.

In addition to Saylor’s 16 points, Sarah Fryman added ten points to go along with three assists and two steals. Hailey Krewald also chipped in ten points while collecting five rebounds and two steals. Hammel rounded out HU’s double digit scoring with ten points as well.

As a team, Culler’s crew shot 46.6 percent from the field (27-for-58). They secured 44 rebounds, 12 offensive which led to 16 second chance points, to IUSE’s 34.

The Foresters have won five of the seven times they’ve done battle with the Grenadiers under Culler’s leadership.

HU (6-1) will take their six-game win streak into their conference opener on Tuesday at Goshen.

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.