MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - The Mount Vernon Nazarene University women's basketball team saw an 10-point lead disappear over the final five minutes only to get a running jumper by senior wing Camaranne Myles with 1.7 seconds left to knock off NAIA Division II No. 23 Huntington (Ind.) University 63-61 on Saturday afternoon in Crossroads League action in the Physical Education Center.
The visiting Lady Foresters (9-6, 2-3 Crossroads League) jumped out to an early 15-7 lead over the first nine minutes as Pazia Speed hit a pair of 3-pointers and a jumper for eight points, while Amelia Recker added four points.
MVNU (5-11, 2-3 Crossroads League) responded by rattling off 16 straight points to take a 23-15 lead with 5:25 left before the break. Myles tossed in five points, while sophomore forward Ainsleigh Krause added four points as all but four points off the run came from players off the bench for the Lady Cougars.
The game of spurts continued with Huntington using a 13-4 run to take a 28-27 advantage with 48 seconds remaining. Amelia Recker scored six points and Sarah Miller-Jennings added five points to fuel the comeback.
Junior post Amy Daniels nailed a pair of free throws with 28.8 seconds left in the half to give MVNU a 29-28 lead going to the locker room at the half.
Daniels tossed in 11 points in the first half, while senior guard Melissa Eickholt added six points. Senior wing Rachel Peelman also grabbed five rebounds off the bench. The Lady Cougars shot 37.5 percent from the field (9-for-24), 42.9 percent from 3-point range (3-for-7), and 66.7 percent from the free throw line (8-for-12).
Recker paced the Lady Foresters with 10 points in the first half, while Speed added eight points as the duo went a combined 6-for-6 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Huntington shot 40 percent from the field (10-for-25), 37.5 percent from 3-point range (3-for-8), and 71.4 percent from the free throw line (5-for-7).
After the Lady Foresters regained the lead 32-31 two and a half minutes into the second half, MVNU used a 24-12 run to take a 55-44 lead with 9:19 left in the game. Myles led the surge with eight points including a pair of treys, while Eickholt, Daniels, and senior guard Ashley Jessie also added a 3-pointer each.
The Lady Cougars still led 59-49 with 4:39 left when Huntington rattled off 10 straight points to knot the score at 59-59 on a pair of free throws by Taylor Foley with 1:23 to go.
Eickholt finally ended the drought for MVNU as she hit a jumper with 55.2 seconds remaining to put the Lady Cougars back on top 61-59 and her steal with 44.9 seconds left gave MVNU the chance to add to the lead. However, Jessie's 3-pointer with 23.1 seconds to go gave the Foresters the opportunity to tie the score again on Speed's jumper with 14.3 seconds left.
The Lady Cougars brought the ball downcourt and called a timeout with 7.2 seconds remaining. Then with 1.7 seconds left, Myles tossed in a running one-hander from the left side of the lane to put MVNU on top 63-61. Miller-Jennings' three-quarters court heave at the buzzer was well short as MVNU notched its second win over a nationally-ranked team on the season.
"This was a great team win," said MVNU coach Jason Foster. "I am so happy and proud off the way the girls hung in there and kept fighting. This helps going into this next week of three games."
"We got good minutes from a lot of kids, and Cam's game-winner was great," Foster added. "We still have things to work on and improve on, but winning a close one against a quality team will help move us in the right direction."
Myles finished with a team-high 17 points off the bench as she went 6-for-8 from the field including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. Daniels added 16 points and five rebounds, while Eickholt tossed in 12 points to go with four steals. Peelman also grabbed a team-best seven rebounds, and the Lady Cougars posted a 26-7 advantage in bench scoring. MVNU shot 43.1 percent from the field (22-for-51), 50 percent from 3-point range (8-for-16), and 55 percent from the free throw line (11-for-20).
Recker finished with 19 points to lead all scorers, while Speed finished with 14 points. Miller-Jennings also contributed nine points and nine rebounds. Huntington shot 38.5 percent from the field (20-for-52), 23.1 percent from 3-point range (3-for-13) including going 0-for-5 in the second half, and 75 percent from the free throw line (18-for-24).
The Lady Cougars will be right back in action on Tuesday night at 5 p.m. with another Crossroads League contest against the University of Saint Francis (Ind.). Saint Francis is currently 15-2 overall and ranked No. 7 in the latest NAIA Division II poll. They suffered their first loss in league play on Saturday with an 80-71 overtime loss to No. 16 Bethel (Ind.) College.