Hat Tip HU Website
In true Forester form, Culler's crew didn't go down without a fight. Down by eight at 60-52 with just over two minutes remaining, Brooke Saylor took matters into her own hands. After an old fashioned three-point play, the 5-10 forward collected a USF miss and then muscled her way down low for another two points on the ensuing possession to close the gap to a single possession, 60-57, with 57 ticks to go.
Momentum on their side, things seemed to be falling in place for the hosts as they forced USF into their 13th turnover of the evening to get the ball back with a chance to knot things up. Sarah Fryman got a good look at a long ball but couldn't get it to drop and so began the march to the free throw line. The Cougars went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the final :26 seconds to seal the deal as Saylor was the only one to score for HU after that.
Huntington got off to a great start by jumping in front 21-12 after the first ten minutes. They finished the quarter 7-for-12 from field which included draining all four of their attempts from downtown. Casey Morton's second trifecta of the night along with a kiss off the backboard by Erin Mohr extended the lead to 12, 26-14, midway through the second quarter for what proved the Foresters' largest lead of the contest.
Unfortunately, scoring was at a premium after that as HU managed just two points the rest of the half. They still clung to a one-point advantage of 28-27 heading into intermission but the ball wasn't too kind in the third either as Culler's crew dropped in just 12 points to USF's 19. The Cougars took a 46-40 lead into the fourth and proceeded to bump up their advantage to double figures on several occasions before Huntington mustered one final push that dried up too soon.
While it wasn't the outcome the Foresters had hoped for, there were several positives to be had. HU committed just ten miscues to USF's 13. They also collected 14 offensive rebounds to the tune of 12 second chance points on the way to out rebounding their visitors 37-34.
The key to the Cougars' success in the second half came by way of the arc. After going 0-for-8 from long range in the opening 20 minutes, USF knocked down six treys in the second half. Not only was it the boost they were looking for, it also forced the Foresters to spread out defensively which allowed Kara Gerka, their leading scorer, to unleash for 16 of her game-high 23 points.
Lauren McBryar was the only other Cougar to land in double digits with 14 points.
Fryman topped Huntington with 15 points. Maddie Richer buried four from deep on her way to scoring 14 points in addition to swiping a game-best three steals. Saylor finished with her sixth double double of the season by logging 12 points and 12 boards. She also handed out six dimes and swatted two shots.
It's the Foresters' second loss to Saint Francis this season as they drop to 13-9 overall, 6-5 in league play. HU will look to rebound Saturday at Spring Arbor. Tip-off is slated for 1:00 p.m.
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 296 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.
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