UPLAND, Ind. -- Senior center Krystal Stoneking scored 20 points in the second half to guide No. 1-ranked Indiana Wesleyan University to a 62-60 victory over Grant County rival Taylor (Ind.) University on Wednesday night in Odle Arena.
The game featured 11 ties and 15 lead changes. The final lead change came on a Stephanie Burtch 3-pointer with 1:08 remaining. The deep shot gave Indiana Wesleyan a 57-54 lead that IWU did not surrender.
Indiana Wesleyan (27-2, 16-1 MCC) closed out Taylor by hitting 7-of-8 free throws in the final 30 seconds. In the final 20 seconds junior guard Claire Freeman hit both free throw attempts on two different occasions to push a slim two point lead to four points. The second pair of free throws gave Indiana Wesleyan a 62-58 lead with 12 seconds remaining. Taylor hit a basket with one second left to complete the scoring.
Stoneking was the story of the night with a game-high 25 points. Following a five point first half, Stoneking exploded for 20 second half points. She was 7-of-8 from the field and 6-of-8 from the line in the half.
Taylor (17-12, 7-10 MCC) opened the game with the first six points. The 6-0 advantage was their largest lead of the evening. Indiana Wesleyan responded with a 19-6 run to claim a 19-12 lead with 8:42 remaining before halftime. The seven point lead was the largest for Indiana Wesleyan.
The Trojans scored baskets on their next two possessions to trail 19-16 with 7:53 on the clock. Neither team would lead by more than four points the rest of the evening. Indiana Wesleyan led 28-26 at the half.
The second half featured eight ties and eight lead changes.
Indiana Wesleyan had the best stretch in the half with less than nine minutes remaining. Trailing 46-43, IWU raced to a 9-2 run for a 52-48 advantage. Indiana Wesleyan held a 54-50 lead with 3:53 to play. Taylor responded with the next four points to tie the score at 54-54 and 2:19 left which led to the go ahead 3-pointer by Burtch.
Freeman was the only Wildcat besides Stoneking to score in double figures. She finished with 14 points and three assists in 36 minutes. Junior forward Paige Smith added six points and 10 rebounds while senior guard Ashley Brooks contributed eight points and five assists.
Taylor did shoot 48.1-percent (26 of 54) from the field but were 0-for-6 from behind the arc. While Indiana Wesleyan drilled 19-of-26 (73.1-percent) from the free throw line, Taylor hit just 8-of-8 (1.000-percent).
Indiana Wesleyan returns home at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 18 versus Goshen (Ind.) College. It will be Senior Day in Luckey Arena as it is the final regular season game of the season. Indiana Wesleyan and Taylor could meet up again real soon as IWU will host a Mid-Central College Conference First Round game on Tuesday, 21 against Taylor or Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) University.