Sophomore guard Kelsey Burton scored a team-high 18 points and added five steals but the Foresters were defeated 57-53 by visiting Ripon College on Wednesday.
Burton was joined in double figures by senior forward Hannah Hiland, who finished with 13 points and led the home team with eight rebounds. Junior forward Molly Schoenlein chipped in with a game-high five assists, matching her career-high in that category.
The Foresters out-shot the Red Hawks from the field, connecting on 35.2 percent of their attempts while holding the visitors to 33.9 percent. Lake Forest also outscored Ripon 15-12 on three-pointers and forced 14 turnovers while committing just 11. The Red Hawks, however, made the most of a 46-33 edge in rebounds.
The opening period belonged the Foresters, who outscored their guests 9-1 in the final six minutes and led 17-8 at the buzzer. Ripon turned things around in the second, scoring the first eight points and eventually taking the lead. A free throw by Hiland just before halftime tied the game at 22 after 20 minutes of play.
The Red Hawks opened up a five-point lead in the middle of the third quarter but Lake Forest came back and tied the score at 35 on a three-pointer by senior forward Hannah O'Day with just over a minute to play. A 6-1 Ripon run to close out the period, however, restored the visitors' five-point advantage going into the fourth. The margin grew to seven points on three different occasions in the final period but an 8-2 run by the Foresters, capped off by a Burton three-pointer, made it a one-point game at 54-53 with 48.6 seconds on the clock. Lake Forest was unable to score again and, despite missing three of six foul shots down the stretch, Ripon held on for the victory.
Lake Forest is now 12-12 overall this season and 11-6 in Midwest Conference play. Ripon improved to 16-8 overall and clinched the league title with a conference mark of 15-2.
The Foresters will close out the regular season at Grinnell College at 1:00 Saturday afternoon. A victory would secure a spot for Lake Forest in the four-team MWC Tournament at Ripon next weekend. The Foresters would also qualify for the postseason with a loss by St. Norbert College at Monmouth College or Knox College loss to Ripon.