FORT WAYNE, Ind. – It had been 367 days since the Indiana Tech women's basketball team last suffered a loss, a 61-60 setback to the University of Saint Francis on December 31, 2019. Since then, the Warriors rattled off 30 straight wins over two seasons, with the streak, then at 19 games, paused in mid-March at the NAIA Division II National Championship when the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic put the whole world on a timeout, but was picked back up on October 27 with a 77-50 win over Huntington University. The Warriors historic win streak, the longest in program history, came to an end Saturday afternoon inside the Schaefer Center with a 61-59 win by regional rival Indiana Wesleyan University, who coincidentally owns the longest winning streak, 56 games, from Oct. 31, 2006 to January 12, 2008, in the history of the NAIA.
Erika Foy led the Warriors with 15 points, nine rebounds and two assists in 37 minutes of action. Emma Tuominen had 12 points, six rebounds and two assists off the bench while Eileen Salisbury had 10 points (3-5 from three-point range), two rebounds and two assists. Alexis Hill contributed seven points and seven rebounds.
It was a less than stellar start offensively for both teams, with the Warriors making their return to the court for the first time since Dec. 19, while the Wildcats had not played since Dec. 18. Tech went 3-15 from the field in the opening 10 minutes of the game while IWU was just 7-21 from the floor. The visitors took the first lead of the game at the 8:12 mark and led until 1:55 mark of the quarter when Kyra Whitaker knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Orange and Black up 13-12. IWU ended the period on a 5-0 spurt to end the period though, taking a 17-13 lead at the break.
The Wildcats began to find some rhythm on the offensive end in the second as they went 6-12 from the floor and held Tech to just 4-12, including just 1-6 from behind the arc. Indiana Wesleyan opened the quarter on a 6-0 run to make it a 23-13 lead at the 8:30 mark, but Tech responded with a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to three with 6:54 to play in the half. That would be as close as the Warriors would get though as the visitors entered the locker room leading 35-22 thanks to a 12-2 run over the finals 6:28 of the half.
The Warriors had a fire lit under them in the third quarter as they outscored the Wildcats 21-14, scoring 12 of their points in the paint and Foy contributing eight of those. Foy started off the half with a jumper in the paint, but the Wildcats held onto a double digit lead for the next five minutes, growing it to as many as 14 points. A triple from Taya Andrews cut the deficit to nine points with 4:42 to go in the period and started an 11-5 run for the Warriors as they trailed just 49-43 at the quarter horn.
IWU continued to give Tech fits though to start the fourth, extending their lead back up to 10 with 8:31 to play and again with 5:27 on the clock. Another three-pointer from Salisbury got the Warriors in gear with a 7-2 run to make it a 57-52 game with 2:45 to go. The Warriors got some big momentum with 1:07 to go as Tuominen converted a fast break layup while Hill forced a steal on the inbound and converted an old-fashioned three-point play and brought the sparse Schaefer Center crowd, made up of players parents and family members mostly, to its feet as they attempted to keep the win streak intact. Following a basket from IWU on their next possession Tech got back within two with another basket from Hill and then forced an over-and-back call on the visitors with 17.9 on the clock. A jumper in the paint by Tuominen was missed but the Warriors came up with an offensive rebound and head coach Jessie Biggs used her final timeout with 2.9 seconds left to draw up the play. The ball went to Whitaker and the junior let it fly from the right in front of the Warriors bench as the horn sounded, but the ball bounced off the win and the Wildcats had completed the upset and snapped the streak.
Tech (11-1) returns to action on Wednesday, Jan. 6 as they host Grace Christian University. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. from the Schaefer Center.