Fort Wayne, Ind. – The Indiana Tech women’s basketball team put the pressure on unbeaten University of Saint Francis in Wednesday night’s crosstown battle in the Schaefer Center, but the 7th ranked Cougars pulled away over the final six and a half minutes to hand the Lady Warriors a 78-67 setback.
Reigning WHAC Player of the Week Rachael Kruse (Ft. Wayne, IN/Homestead) had another impressive performance, pouring in a game-high 23 points to lead Tech.
With Saint Francis (12-0) holding an early 12-10 edge, the Warriors scored six straight points to take what would be their largest lead of the game. However, a 13-0 run put the Cougars in front 25-16 with 6:09 left to play in the first half.
Tech continued to work at the deficit over the next four minutes and tied the game 31-31 at the 2:08 mark. USF regained the lead after back-to-back baskets, but a jumper by Kruse with less than a minute to go got the Warriors within two.
The Warriors got a big defensive stop on the Cougars’ next possession and had a chance to take the lead heading into halftime. Ulyssia Richmond’s (Temple Hills, MD/Riverdale Baptist) three-point shot rimmed out in the closing seconds though and Saint Francis took the ball the length of the court and got a layup at the buzzer for a 37-33 lead at the break.
Following a first 20 minutes that saw seven ties and four lead changes, the second half action started just as tight as the two squads exchanged the lead six times.
The Cougars were ahead 53-51 at the 13:21 mark before a 10-1 run stretched the lead to 11 midway through the period. Tech would keep the score within striking distance and were only down eight, 67-59, with 6:26 on the clock, but another quick scoring spurt by USF put the game out of reach.
The Warriors shot 42 percent (25-for-60) from the field while the Cougars hit 49 percent (34-for-70). USF also held a slight edge in rebounds with 40 compared to Tech’s 39.
Kruse had eight rebounds and three assists to go along with her 23 points. Richmond added 19 points and Chelsea Carradine (Redford, MI/Thurston) contributed 12 points and eight boards.
All five of the Saint Francis starters scored in double figures, led by Meghan Slusher with 21.
Up next, Indiana Tech (3-10) will host the 2012-13 SportONE Shootout on Dec. 28-29. The Warriors will face St. Mary-of-the-Woods College on Friday, the 28th at 8 p.m. followed by Spring Arbor University on Saturday, the 29th at 2 p.m.
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