Updated: Sunday, 20 Jan 2013, 12:01 AM EST
Published : Sunday, 20 Jan 2013, 12:01 AM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Lockdown, smothering University of Saint Francis defense constricted 24th-ranked Huntington University to 24 percent shooting to notch a 65-42 win over the Foresters on Saturday afternoon at Hutzell Athletic Center.
The Lady Cougars secured their 20th win in 22 outings and kept a share of first place in the Crossroads League improving to 9-1.
Kayla Drake led another balanced USF offensive with 18 points. Brooke Ridley added 10 points while Skylarr Shurn, Meghan Slusher and Kalah Baer finished with eight points apiece. Jessica Harrison also came off the bench to score seven points to help USF to the regular season sweep of the Foresters (13-8, 5-5 CL). Slusher snared 10 rebounds for USF, which took the lead on a Drake 3-pointer to open the game and never trailed.
"I'm proud of the way we started fast, aggressive and really kept the pressure on the whole game," USF Head Coach Gary Andrews observed. "Kayla set the tone from the start hitting that 3-pointer. Huntington is a good team, but everybody we put in the game played good defense today.
"I felt we used our quickness well today against a team that has good quickness."
USF's offense did take a little time to get in synch after Drake scored at 19:09. Ridley scored in the paint off a pass from Drake for a 5-0 lead at 16:44, but all HU managed was a pair of free throws that trimmed the deficit to 5-2 with 15:03 to play after Taylor Foley made both charity tosses.
Shurn made it 7-2 at 13:37, Ridley hit two free throws at 12:55, Baer scored at 12:30 and suddenly the Lady Cougars led 11-2. Lauren Meese halted the USF run momentarily with a basket at 12:11, but Jenelle Wilson scored back-to-back buckets increasing USF's lead to 15-4 with 10:35 to play. After a Jaciene Bonnema score for HU, USF put together another string of scores (8-0) to expand its lead to 23-6 after Harrison hooked in a bucket at 4:56.
The Foresters whittled the USF lead back to nine, 24-15 on an Amelia Echemann score at 1:28. USF answered with a 6-0 run to close the first half for a 30-15 lead. Harrison banked in a short one-handed shot just ahead of the buzzer after she rebounded a Drake 3-point miss.
The Lady Cougars limited the Foresters to a .185 shooting percentage on just 5-for-27 shooting. USF shot .393 on 11-for-28 shooting and added 7-for-10 shooting from the free-throw line in the first half.
USF started the second half the same way they did the first half starting with a 5-0 run to open up its first 20-point lead of the game, 35-15. Drake buried a 3-pointer and Slusher a two-pointer.
After HU drew within 18 three times, the Lady Cougars snatched away any hope for the Foresters with a 6-0 run that pushed the USF lead to 26, 54-28, the largest lead of the game.
USF shot .524 in the second half (11 for 21) and 10 for 12 at the free-throw line. HU shot .290 on 9-for-31 shooting and were 7-for-8 shooting from the free-throw line. USF also controlled a 45-28 advantage rebounding.
"We've got a bigger target on our back now," Shurn said after the win.
Was it tougher coming off the win over No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan?
"That's just part of the game," Shurn replied to Ryan Bolyn's question on the post-game webcast. "You can't take any team lightly on any given night."
Shurn led USF scoring at halftime, but Drake scored 13 in the second half to help USF improve to 7-0 at HAC. USF also improved to 21-7 at USF against the Foresters starting with the 1985-86 season. USF also improved to 5-2 against NAIA Top 25 opponents.
The Lady Cougars hit the road on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. tip at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Mich.
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