MARION, Ind. -- A 19-1 run to close out the first half opened the game into a blowout as No. 1-ranked Indiana Wesleyan University women's basketball turned back Spring Arbor (Mich.) University 75-37 Thursday night in Luckey Arena.
Spring Arbor (5-11, 1-4 MCC) senior guard Angela Russel hit a field goal with 10:29 left in the opening half to tie the score at 16-16. That would be the last basket of the half for Spring Arbor as they could only muster one more point on a free throw with 2:16 left before halftime.
"One of the things we were hopeful we could do was pressure the ball," said Indiana Wesleyan head coach Steve Brooks. "I thought once we started doing that it caused them to play a little faster than they wanted to play."
"It created some turnovers for us and gave us an opportunity to pull away from them. We felt like that was something that we needed to try to assertive ourselves that way. The kids did a good job with it and it really did create opportunities for us."
In all, Indiana Wesleyan (16-1, 5-0 MCC) forced 31 Spring Arbor turnovers, including 17 during the first 20 minutes.
Following the final field goal in the first half for Spring Arbor, Indiana Wesleyan quickly put away the visitors with baskets on each of the next five possessions for a 26-16 lead. In the first four of those possessions, freshman point guard Emma Stahl passed out an assist.
"(Emma) created things for people tonight and made everyone around her better," said Brooks. "That's what you want your point guard to do."
Stahl finished with career-highs of 11 assists and eight points. She had zero turnovers and four steals.
"It was exciting how well she played today," continued Brooks. "We wanted to get her some extended minutes to let her play through some stuff. I think once she gets in the flow of the game, watch out. She is so explosive and so strong with the ball. I'm absolutely thrilled that she was able to have the kind of game that she had tonight."
Indiana Wesleyan would race into halftime with a 35-17 advantage.
The second half was just as dominating for the Wildcats, even with the starters able to sit and rest. IWU hit 17-of-28 (60.7-percent) in the half and outscored the Cougars 40-20.
"This is kind of a catch game in some ways coming out of Huntington and were not 100-percent healthy," Brooks added. "For the kids to come out and compete and battle the way they did makes me excited for them. It was a physical game. There were not a lot of calls and I'm happy that our kids hung in there and battled because that is one of the things we asked the posts to do today, to become finishers. And I thought they did a better job of finishing today inside."
Senior center Krystal Stoneking was the only starter in double figures tonight. She scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting in 24 minutes of action.
Joining Stahl off the bench with impressive games was junior forward Paige Smith with 17 points and freshman center Val Sohasky with eight points and six boards. The Indiana Wesleyan bench finished with 44 points in the win.
Indiana Wesleyan completes their busy three-game week on Saturday at Goshen (Ind.) College. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Goshen, Indiana.