HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The No.1-ranked Indiana Wesleyan University women's basketball team turned a close game into a double digit victory Tuesday night in a 67-54 victory at Huntington (Ind.) University in Mid-Central College Conference action.
With Indiana Wesleyan (15-1, 4-0 MCC) leading by just one possession and less than eight minutes to play, IWU exploded for a 19-9 run to close out the game and escape Huntington with a 13 point victory.
The Wildcats led by as many as seven points in the first half, the last coming at 15-8. The Foresters scored six straight to force a back a back and forth finish to the opening stanza. There would be one tie and six lead changes in the final six and a half minutes as IWU led 29-27 at the break.
IWU junior guard Claire Freeman stroked a 3-pointer at the midway point of the second half to give the Wildcats a nine point cushion (46-37) and control of the contest. But the next three minutes witnessed an 8-2 Forester run that closed the gap to 48-45 with 7:30 on the clock.
That is when Indiana Wesleyan went back to work. The next three possessions resulted in 3-pointers by senior guard Rachel Steinbarger, Freeman, and senior guard Ashley Brooks. After the final 3 by Brooks, IWU had opened up a 57-47 advantage with 5:41 remaining.
Despite not hitting anymore 3-pointers the rest of the way, Indiana Wesleyan scored at least one point in 10 of their final 12 possessions and five different players scored during the 19-9 run.
Four Wildcats finished in double figures, led by Freeman's 16. She also collected eight assists and two steals. Steinbarger and senior center Krystal Stoneking each added 14 points and Brooks finished with 10 points and eight assists.
Indiana Wesleyan hit 52.0-percent (26 of 50) of its shots, including a sizzling 63.6-percnet (14 of 22) during the second half in which IWU outscored HU 38-27.
Huntington (9-5, 1-3 MCC) was led by Pazia Speed with 13 points and Liesl Davenport with 11. HU shot 40.4-percent (21 of 52) on the evening.
Indiana Wesleyan still has two more games during this busy MCC week. IWU will host Spring Arbor (Mich.) University at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 5 before traveling to Goshen (Ind.) College for a 1 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, January 7.