Senior forward Hannah Hiland's free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining were the difference as Lake Forest hosted and defeated Illinois College 76-74 on Saturday.
Hiland finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. She also matched her career-high with five assists.
Sophomore guard Kelsey Burton shot 8-for-15 from the field, connected on three of six attempts from three-point range, and led the home team with 19 points. Fellow sophomore guard Jaianna Brooks also finished in double figures with 16 points. Senior forward Hannah O'Day led the Foresters with a dozen rebounds and junior guard Zaria Sydnor tied Hiland for game-high honors in assists.
Nearly every statistical category was close, including field goal percentage with the visitors shooting 43.5 percent and Lake Forest 40.3. The Foresters outscored their guests 27-24 on three-pointers and 9-6 from the foul line but were out-rebounded 41-40. The Lady Blues committed 15 turnovers in the contest while forcing just 12.
The home team closed out the opening period with an 11-2 run and led 17-8 after 10 minutes of play. The margin reached 11 on a pair of free throws by Hiland early in the second quarter but shrunk to two just a few minutes later. a 14-5 Forester run restored their 11-point advantage and they led 35-25 at halftime.
The third quarter included three runs of at least 10 points. After falling behind by 15 points early in the period, Illinois College scored 12 in a row to make it a three-point game with five minutes to play. Ten straight points by the home team quickly gave the Foresters some breathing room and the lead reached 14 with two minutes on the clock. The Lady Blues, however, rattled off 10 points in a row and trailed by just four at 55-51 with a quarter remaining. A three-pointer by Brooks and layup by Burton made it a nine-point game early in the fourth and the difference was nine again with three minutes left. After a pair of three pointers and a jumper by Illinois College quickly cut the lead to one, Hiland converted on a traditional three-point play to put the home team on top 72-68 with 1:20 to play. Illinois College eventually tied the score at 74 with 22 seconds left but fouled Hiland while she attempted a long jumper with 2.9 seconds on the clock. She knocked down both free throws and the ensuing long in-bounds pass was intercepted by Burton to seal the victory.
Hiland and O'Day were joined by guard Tiffany Stiewe in a Senior Day recognition ceremony before the game.
Lake Forest is now 12-11 overall this season and 11-5 in Midwest Conference play while Illinois College fell to 9-14 overall and 5-11 in the league.
The Foresters will host Ripon College Wednesday evening at 5:30.