The Husson University women’s basketball team rang in the new year in style, albeit a little early, on Sunday afternoon.
Logan Huckins scored seven of her 19 points during a decisive third quarter and the Eagles made 20 of their 24 free throws in the contest to knock off the eighth-ranked University of Chicago 64-59 at the Music City Classic in Nashville.
It was the first win over a nationally-ranked opponent for coach Kissy Walker’s program since Husson joined the NCAA Division III ranks in the 2003-04 season.
The Eagles (5-5) bounced back for the statement victory after dropping a 60-42 decision to Saint Benedict on Saturday.
Husson forged Sunday’s win on the strength of its free-throw shooting and its ability to capitalize on Chicago mistakes. The Eagles outscored the Maroon (8-3) 20-3 from the foul line and scored 26 points as the direct result of 18 Chicago turnovers.
The Maroon (8-3) managed only six points off 16 Husson turnovers.
Kenzie Worcester of Washburn sparked Husson with a game-high 23 points while moving into second place on the program’s career scoring list with 1,541. The senior guard, who went 6-for-6 from the foul line, also contributed seven rebounds, and three steals.
Huckins, a junior transfer guard from Calais via the University of New England, provided a spark off the bench for the Eagles. She went 6-for-9 from the field and converted seven of nine foul shots en route to the 19 points.
Sami Ireland provided nine points and six rebounds, Megan Peach pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds and blocked six shots and Emma Alley added eight points and four rebounds for the Eagles, who shot 38 percent overall (21-for-55) despite going 2-for-13 (15 percent) from the 3-point arc.
Mia Farrell led Chicago with 18 points, including five 3-pointers, and Jamie Kockenmeister tallied 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Olariche Obi grabbed 11 rebounds, netted eight points and chipped in four steals, three assists and two blocked shots.
The Maroon went 22-for-63 from the floor (35 percent) and made a dozen 3-pointers, but missed eight of their 11 free throws.
Husson led 29-26 at halftime and built its lead behind defense during the third quarter. The Eagles held the Maroon scoreless for the first 4:42 of the period and scored 10 unanswered points during the same span.
Ireland’s layup, a 3-pointer by Emma Alley and Huckins’ conventional three-point play over the course of 1:13 staked Husson to a 39-26 lead with 5:33 left in the period.
Chicago eventually clawed its way back within three points (59-56) on a Farrell foul shot with with 1:01 to play. However, Peach came up with two blocks on a subsequent Maroon possession.
Worcester converted four late free throws and Huckins added two, all in the final 27 seconds, to keep Husson on top.