HU women win on the road

The Huntington University women’s basketball team kicked off the new year with an impressive 73-67 road win over Mount Vernon Jan. 4 at Ariel Arena. With this win, HU improves to 5-2 overall, 2-1 in CL action.

Monday’s victory marks the fifth straight over the Cougars (4-7, 1-3).

Contributions were widespread for Coach Lori Culler’s crew with Sam Vaughn headlining the pack. In addition to topping all scorers with 19 points, the senior point guard also enjoyed game-high honors in rebounding (10), assists (6) and steals (3).  

Junior Erica Zook carried the Foresters in the first half by accounting for nearly half of her team’s point production. The Fairfield High School product scored 14 of HU’s 30 points in the opening 20 minutes. She finished with a career-best 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

Sophomore Dazia Drake had the best game of her young career. While she poured in a career-best 15 points which included several key buckets in the fourth quarter, it was her defensive effort against the league’s leading scorer in Rylee Pireu that really stood out. She held the guard to 10 points, half her average, and forced her into four turnovers.

After a quiet first half, Alaina Rongos bounced back to finish with nine second half points.

MVNU closed out the first quarter with a 10-2 run to build a 16-9 lead by the first break. HU countered with the first six points of the second stanza thanks to a transition layup by Logan Rowles and back-to-back field goals by Zook. A battle ensued with the half ending in a 30-30 deadlock.

While the first half of the contest featured six ties and three lead changes, the final 20 minutes seemed much less dramatic as a freebie by Vaughn to start the third quarter gave Huntington an unassuming lead of 31-30 that proved permanent. MVNU stayed within striking distance but a put back at the buzzer by Rongos sent the visitors into the final quarter on a high note and up 54-48.

Despite the lead never swelling to double digits, HU managed to extend the game to three possessions midway through the fourth on two straight Emily Seboe jumpers at the top of the key after which Drake cashed in on an old-fashioned three-point play at the 2:19 mark to give the visitors their largest lead of the night at 70-61.  

Taylor Gregory and Maggie Coblentz paced Mount Vernon with 15 points apiece.

Pireu added 10 while Rachel Perry chipped in nine.