The Foresters faced Bethel College twice during the regular season, winning both times by an average of 36 points. The trend continued Feb. 25 as the women’s basketball team trounced the Pilots 78-41 and advanced to the semifinal round of the Crossroads League Tournament. Junior guard Courtney Baker lead all scorers with 18 points, and sophomore forward Amelia Recker had 16 points. Freshman guard Miranda Palmer chipped in 17 points off the bench.
“I was very pleased with our performance against Bethel,” head coach Lori Culler said. “After having beat them so handily during the regular season both times, I was concerned that we might have a letdown. The team executed well at both ends of the floor and did a great job of taking care of business.”
The Foresters got to the free throw line 24 times against the Pilots and failed to convert only once, shooting nearly 96 percent. They are ranked second in the nation in free throw percentage at nearly 79 percent.
The defense made its presence felt as well. The Foresters held the Pilots to a mere 12 points in the first half. The Pilots shot 32 three-pointers in the game, and only converted on six of them. The Foresters are fourth in the nation in three-point field goal defense, with their opponents converting on only 26 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
The win advanced the Foresters into the conference semifinals where they will face the third seed Indiana Wesleyan at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in Platt Arena.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to host IWU on Friday,” Culler said. “They are a very athletic and strong team and are very well coached. We put together a great defensive game when we met earlier this month and we’ll need the same kind of effort again Friday to give ourselves a chance to win.”
The Foresters split the season series with the Wildcats, losing 66-50 on the road Jan. 8 and winning at home 51-49 Feb. 5. The win was Culler’s 500th career coaching win and was also the lowest point output by the Wildcats all season.
The other conference semifinal matchup will feature the top-seeded Saint Francis Cougars against the fifth-seeded Marian Knights. The Cougars beat eighth-seeded Spring Arbor to advance to the conference semis, and the Knights defeated fourth-seeded Grace College.