CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. -- NAIA DI No. 12-ranked Campbellsville (Ky.) University seemed to have the game in hand with a 56-46 lead against NAIA DII No. 1-ranked Indiana Wesleyan University women's basketball with only seven minutes left to play.
But the Wildcats kept their record unblemished as they stormed back to finish the game on a 16-4 run to stun the host Tigers 62-60 on Friday night at the Powell Athletic Center in Campbellsville, Kentucky.
Campbellsville (9-4) gained their largest lead of the night when Katie Allen scored in the paint to increase the CU lead to 56-46 as 7:08 was left on the clock.
Indiana Wesleyan (12-0) was undeterred as senior guard Stephanie Burtch hit two free throws, senior guard Rachel Steinbarger drilled a 3-pointer, and senior center Krystal Stoneking hit a field goal in the next three IWU possessions. In less than two minutes time the Wildcats had cut the lead to three points at 56-53.
The next Tiger possession finished with a Megan Isaacs basket in the paint to extend the difference to five points. But again, the Wildcats quickly responded as Burtch drilled a 3-pointer and Stoneking scored down low on the next two IWU possessions to tie the score at 58-58.
Isaacs and Stoneking swapped buckets in the paint over the next possession for each team as the scored was knotted at 60-60 and less than two minutes remaining.
After failed attempts by both teams to take the lead, Indiana Wesleyan junior guard Claire Freeman scored with 31 seconds left for the eventual game-winning basket.
Campbellsville had two attempts to tie or win the game after the Freeman score. Isaacs missed a shot with 13 seconds left which was rebounded by Steinbarger. Following four straight fouls on purpose, IWU freshman guard Emma Stahl went to the line with nine seconds remaining. Stahl missed the front end of the bonus shot and Campbellsville grabbed the board. Courtney Clifton attempted a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer but was unsuccessful as Indiana Wesleyan earns the huge non-conference win.
"They (Indiana Wesleyan) drove five hours and had bus trouble," Campbellsville head coach Ginger Colvin told the Campbellsville website. "We preached about how good they are. We know now."
Stoneking and Burtch paced the Wildcat offensive attack with 41 of the team's 62 points. Stoneking led all scorers with 23 points on 11-of-13 shooting while Burtch added 18 points and was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Indiana Wesleyan shot 51.0-percent (26 of 51) as a team, including 61.9-percent (13 of 21) in the second half.
Indiana Wesleyan overcame a large disparity at the free throw line. IWU hit 3-of-4 (75.0-percent) from the line while Campbellsville enjoyed 18 attempts, hitting 14 of them (77.8-percent). After Freeman's go-ahead basket in the final seconds, Campbellsville needed four fouls to put Indiana Wesleyan on the line.
The Wildcats had their second highest output in assists tonight with 20. Freeman and Steinbarger led the way with six apiece and senior guard Ashley Brooks contributed three.
The victory was the second this season for Indiana Wesleyan over a top-20 ranked program in NAIA Division I. IWU previously defeated then No. 16-ranked Xavier (La.) University 59-45 on November 11.
Campbellsville was fresh off a pair of huge home victories last weekend. CU defeated then No. 3-ranked Azusa Pacific (Calif.) University 91-76 and then No. 12-ranked Bethel (Tenn.) University 76-57.
It does not get much easier tomorrow for the Wildcats. Indiana Wesleyan will play at NAIA DI No. 22-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) College in Columbia, Kentucky on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.