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Grace’s defense overwhelms Foresters

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WINONA LAKE, Ind. - The HU women’s basketball team started off with a bang Wednesday night by scoring on their first four possessions to jet out to a 9-2 advantage over Grace College (5-7, 2-2) less than two minutes in. No one would have suspected that it would serve as the Foresters’ high point offensively as they would go on to suffer a 67-61 loss to the Lancers on the road.

Huntington managed just six points the rest of the quarter but their saving grace was that their hosts continued to struggle too before Micaela Box scored four points in the final minute of the quarter for a 15-6 difference.

It was the beginning of the end for the Foresters after that as the Lancers upped their intensity at the defensive end to throw their visitors for a loop. Culler’s crew coughed up the ball four times in first three minutes of the second quarter to start the unraveling.

While HU clung to a three-point lead at halftime, 33-30, the momentum had clearly shifted as the Lancers exploded for 24 points in the quarter and showed no signs of letting up.

Grace’s pressure continued to stymie the Foresters with the third stanza doing them in. Huntington committed seven more miscues in the quarter which translated into instant offense for the Lancers as they scored eight points in the first three minutes off HU turnovers.

When all was said and done, the ten-minute segment saw GC outscore HU 21-10 for a 51-43 Grace advantage heading into the fourth. Kelsie Peterson and Brooke Sugg were to blame for Huntington’s demise as the duo combined for 18 of their team’s 21 points.

Huntington would trim the lead to six on three different occasions after that with the last coming seconds before the final buzzer but they would get no closer as the Lancers hit key free throws in the later part of the quarter to keep HU at a distance.

Grace finished the game 26-for-31 from the charity stripe for 83.9 percent. They shot 36.7 percent from the field (18-for-49) and committed 13 turnovers.

Culler’s crew finished 23-for-52 for 44.2 percent from the floor and coughed up the ball 18 times, 13 of which were steals by the Lancers. HU won the battle of the boards 34-30 behind Brooke Saylor’s game-high ten rebounds.

Fryman finished with a game-best 20 points. Casey Morton came off the bench to add 11 points while Saylor tallied ten. Maddie Richie took top honors in assists with six to go along with six points and two steals.

Sugg scored all but two of her team-best 18 points in the final twenty minutes. She also swiped four steals and dished out a pair of assists. Peterson tossed in all 13 of her points in the middle two quarters while Vironnica Drake finished with 11 points to round out the Lancers’ double digit scoring.

The loss is HU’s fourth consecutive to the Lancers as they drop to 8-3 on the year, 2-2 in league play. Huntington takes a break from Crossroads League action until January with their next outing a road trip to IU Northwest on Saturday.

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.