SPRING ARBOR, Mich. -- Once again No. 1-ranked Indiana Wesleyan University women's basketball dominated play on the defensive end in a 70-39 rout of host Spring Arbor (Mich.) University on Saturday.
Indiana Wesleyan (24-2, 13-1 MCC) increased the pressure in the second half, turning a mild 31-23 halftime lead into the 31 point dismantling. IWU outscored SAU 39-16 over the final 20 minutes of play which included a 23-0 Indiana Wesleyan run. IWU's largest lead of the game was 35 points with a 68-33 lead with three minutes remaining.
Today was the fifth time this year Indiana Wesleyan limited an opponent to under 40 points. It is the second straight game as well as No. 21-ranked Huntington (Ind.) University scored just 30 points on Wednesday.
The second half Wildcat defense limited the Cougars (7-18, 3-11 MCC) to just 14.3-percent (3 of 21) shooting. Over the last two games, IWU opponents are a combined 4-of-36 from the field during the second half.
The Indiana Wesleyan offense also showcased its skills today as nine players scored and all five starters scored at least eight points. Overall, IWU shot 52.9-percent (27 of 51) from the floor and a scorching 61.5-percent (8 of 14) from beyond the arc.
Junior forward Paige Smith, making her first career start at Indiana Wesleyan, scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Smith also pulled down a game-best eight boards in 32 minutes of action.
Senior guard Stephanie Burtch and junior guard Claire Freeman each added 10 points. Burtch hit a pair of 3-pointers while Freeman added six rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Senior guard Ashley Brooks contributed nine points, five boards, and three assists while senior guard Rachel Steinbarger added eight points and three assists.
The win, coupled with a Bethel (Ind.) College loss at home versus University of Saint Francis (Ind.), gives Indiana Wesleyan a two-game cushion in the Mid-Central College Conference standings with just four games left to play.
Indiana Wesleyan remains on the road for their next game which is at Saint Francis at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 8 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.