MARION, Ind. -- Four Wildcats played their first home game in Luckey Arena tonight and contributed more than half the scoring as Indiana Wesleyan University women's basketball handled IU-South Bend 76-40.
The four players combined for 39 of the team's 76 points as No. 3-ranked Indiana Wesleyan moves to 2-0 on the season.
Leading the way Saturday was junior transfer Claire Freeman with a game-high 21 points. She was 8-of-13 from the floor and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Freeman came to Indiana Wesleyan from Butler University.
"Claire settled down tonight," said Indiana Wesleyan head coach Steve Brooks. "None of us will fully understand what it's like to transfer from a (NCAA) Division I school to a small school and have all the expectations that you're going to come in and dominate. Tonight she showed what's she's going to be capable of doing. She took what was there and did not force things. Through that a lot of good things happened for us as a team. Hopefully that will build her some confidence."
Joining Freeman in their Luckey debut were three freshmen: point guard Emma Stahl, center Val Sohasky and forward Teneil Krebs. Stahl played the most minutes of the trio and had two points and two assists. Krebs scored nine points and Sohasky contributed seven points.
"I'm really excited about the way our freshmen played in their first home game," added Brooks. "A lot of freshmen coming into their first home game are going to be really nervous. But Emma did a great job handling the ball, seeing the floor, and getting the ball to where it needed to go. Teneil caught it and shot it well. Val comes in and gets seven points. Our younger kids, if we can compete like that every time out, that's really going to give us a chance to be a good team down the road."
Another factor that makes Indiana Wesleyan such a dangerous team is their patent defensive pressure, which was on display tonight. IU-South Bend shot just 36.4-percent (16 of 44) from the field and turned the ball over 25 times.
"I'm really excited about (the defense) and hopefully we can build on it," continued Brooks. "I felt like last night we played one half with the kind of defense we want to play and the second half we didn't play with that same kind of intensity or urgency that we did tonight. Tonight we gave more of a 40 minute effort."
The strangulating defense was too much for the Titans to handle, especially in the opening 20 minutes of play. The Wildcats limited the visitors to just five field goals and 25.0-percent (5 of 20) shooting to build a 31-15 lead by halftime.
Indiana Wesleyan finished the night shooting 48.1-percent (26 of 54) from the floor with 18 assists. Senior guard Ashley Brooks scored 13 and senior center Krystal Stoneking chipped in with 11 points and six rebounds.
The Wildcats will take the week off before competing at the Elswick Tournament on November 11-12 in Georgetown, Kentucky.