HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The No. 16 Forester women’s basketball team (9-2) was off to the races Saturday afternoon on their way to a 124-106 win over #RV Olivet Nazarene University (9-4) at Platt Arena. It was non-stop kamikaze play from start to finish as players, coaches and fans alike were exhausted by the final buzzer.
It was more like a track meet than basketball game as the Tigers play a Grinnell-based brand of basketball that incorporates a continual full-court press, a fast-paced offense, an emphasis on offensive rebounds, a barrage of three-point shots and substitutions of five players at a time every 45 to 60 seconds.
After giving up 71 points through the first half, the Foresters returned the favor in the final stanza by scoring 72 points while limiting ONU to just 35 points to make for one of the program’s most memorable comebacks.
Sixty seconds into the second half, Huntington faced the largest deficit of the game at 25 points, 80-55, but there was no panic in Coach Culler’s squad. Instead, they spent the next nine minutes outscoring their visitors 30-5 to take a one-point lead of 86-85.
The lopsided run was a highlight reel for Miranda Palmer and Kelsey Hubble as the guard duo teamed up to account for all but six of the 30 points. Hubble drained two threes and a pair of freebies while Palmer scored 16 points in just about every way imaginable to give their team the boost it needed.
It proved to be a lead that would hold as Amelia Recker scored 11 of HU’s next 14 points to stretch the lead to double digits at 100-89 with just over six minutes remaining. The Foresters would go on to stick 20 of their 24 free tosses to pull away for the 18-point spread.
The game featured 153 shots with HU getting the better end of the deal, connecting on 66.1 percent (37-for-56) to ONU’s 36.1 percent (35-for-97). The Foresters also owned the upper hand at the free throw line where they went 44-for-52 for 84.6 percent while the Tigers converted only 19 of their 25 freebies.
It was a career day for several Foresters and headlining the mix was Miranda Palmer who finished with a recording-breaking 48 points. She smashed the previous record of 40 points held by Becky Stump and Cindy Schweikhardt. The sophomore sensation was 15-for-21 from the field and 17-for 21 from the charity stripe.
Amelia Recker also had a career day by pouring in 35 points which included going a perfect 15-for-15 from the free throw line and missing only six of her 16 field goal attempts. She also ripped down 11 boards for her third double double of the year.
Jaclene Bonnema came up huge in the second half by pulling down ten of her career-best 12 rebounds and scoring seven of her career-high 11 points in addition to changing countless Tiger shots when they ventured into the lane. It marked her first career double double.
Kelsey Hubble dropped in 18 points and was deadly from 3-point land by going 4-for-5. Perhaps the unsung hero of the day was point guard Courtney Baker who maintained her composure despite having at least two defenders swarming her throughout the game. She rallied her team by directing HU’s defense while handing out 11 assists at the other end of the floor.
ONU landed three players in double digits. Jayne Stuart finished with 28 points while Abbey Hengesbach and Tori Lemke added 21 points 12 points respectively.
Not only will the win go down in history as one of the greatest comebacks, it was also go down in the record books for most points scored in a game (124).
Huntington is off now until January 30 when they play in the Arizona Christian University Classic.