Coach Lori Culler’s squad ran out of time to rally a complete comeback against Indiana Wesleyan University. The Wildcats pulled out a 55-49 victory over the Foresters Jan. 7.
Winning the tip off, the Wildcats (14-3, 5-0) would be the first to earn points in the paint. Jumping out to a 9-0 lead, it would be Forester Kelsey Hubble who would put HU on the board. With eager intensity and determination, Hubble inspired a 6-point scoring streak for the Foresters with Allyson Trout putting in a basket and Amelia Recker swishing back-to-back shots at the charity stripe.
Despite some traveling troubles, Indiana Wesleyan’s nationally-known defense allowed them to go into the locker room at half time with a 23-18 lead.
The Foresters began to heat up during the second half with Miranda Palmer scoring back-to-back baskets. Courtney Baker was able to get her team within four before IWU started pulling away. Even though IWU had 18 turnovers to HU’s 9, the Foresters’ field goal shooting percentage was only 36.4 percent. Palmer led the team with 13 points while Jaclene Bonnema boasted 13 rebounds and six points.
Erika Isham paced the Wildcats with 17 points.
HU head coach Lori Culler credited IWU’s shooting as a big part of its success.
“Second half, I don’t know if we got tired, or I think some of it too was that [IWU] was stretching us more by hitting some threes,” Culler said. “You basically have a guard that’s trying to help in the post but also defend the three-point shooter. If [IWU hadn’t hit] the three [the game] would’ve been a lot different.”
Culler believes that there are many positive takeaways from the loss.
“Obviously we know we didn’t have our best offensive performance tonight, and we only lost by six,” Culler said. “[IWU] is the number five team in the nation. We’re probably not going to face another defense as tough as theirs is. They’re nationally known for their defense and points allowed per game. We can take away a lot of positive things from [the game]. We took care of the ball, had nine turnovers to their 18, and kept them off the boards. We did a lot of things well, we just didn’t hit the shots that we needed to, and we got open looks.”
Hubble believes that the team will be able to move past its two conference losses to Taylor University and Indiana Wesleyan to focus on the rest of the remaining conference games.
“I think it’s important now for the rest of the games in the conference to come out hard and play the full forty minutes,” Hubble said. “I think we’ll definitely come back [from the loss]. This team is not one to dwell on games, so I think in the future we’ll come back harder.”
The Lady Foresters (2-3, 11-4) are now sixth in the Crossroads League and will look to take on Goshen College at home Jan. 10.