Game Foresters go cold late in loss to No. 1 USF

Huntington University guard Pazia Speed looks for an opening against a pair of Saint Francis defenders on Wednesday night, Feb. 19, at Platt Arena. The Foresters fell, 62-53. Photo by Scott Trauner.

The Huntington University women's basketball team gave unbeaten No. 1 Saint Francis all it could handle before going cold late to lose 62-53 on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Platt Arena.

The loss snaps a seven-game winning streak for the Foresters, 21-7, 13-4 in the Crossroads League, who came into the game ranked 20th in NAIA Division II.

The Cougars, 29-0 overall and 17-0 in conference, seized the lead three minutes into the game and looked like they were going to run away things when they expanded their advantage to 31-20 with 3:25 remaining in the first half.

Huntington, however, wasn't going to go down quietly. Freshman Allyson Trout, a former Huntington North standout, helped the Foresters start to turn the tide, getting a bucket at 3:11 before assisting on a trey by fellow frosh Miranda Palmer. Sophomores Kelsey Hubble and Amelia Recker got involved with a basket and an assist, respectively, before a second triple by Palmer brought Huntington to within one point by intermission, 31-30.

Another scoring spree by Coach Lori Culler's squad nearly two minutes into the second stanza turned a four-point deficit into a five-point advantage as Hubble tossed in five points and senior Pazia Speed added four to give the Foresters their biggest lead of the night, 39-34, with 14:26 to go.

Saint Francis, though, methodically worked its way back in front, eventually building a five-point lead of its own, 54-49, at the 3:54 mark.

Speed, Huntington's lone honoree on senior night, hit a basket and netted a pair of freebies to shrink the gap to one, 54-53, with 2:51 remaining, but that proved to be all the offense the Foresters had left, as the hosts went 0 for 7 to end the game.

Speed paced Huntington with 16 points and Recker added 14 as the only other Forester to crack double figures.

Huntington shot 13 of 24 in the first half for 54.2 percent, but was limited to just 27.3 percent shooting in the second on a 9 of 33 showing, giving it a shooting percentage of 38.6 for the contest.

The Foresters struggled to a 3 of 11 mark for 27.3 percent from beyond the arc, but made the most of their limited free throw opportunities, knocking down 6 of 8 for 75 percent.

Skylarr Shurn starred for Saint Francis, pouring in 25 points on 9 of 13 shooting. Brooke Ridley supplied 11 points while Kalah Baer and Jenelle Wilson each netted 10 to help the Cougars shoot 22 of 43 for 51.2 percent, including a 9 of 14 effort in the second half for 64.3 percent.

Saint Francis supplemented its showing from the field by going 16 of 23 at the stripe for 69.6 percent.

Recker pulled down eight rebounds, which tied for the game-high and gave Huntington a 34-31 edge on the glass. Junior Courtney Baker was the contest's assists leader, with five.