Bowles gave Woodward its first lead on a three-point play with 3:53 left in the first half and Mackenzie Moring upped it to 25-22 by immediately scoring off a steal. Forest Park was never able to even the game again and Woodward had a 34-28 lead at the half.
Forest Park tenaciously plugged away and got to within a point when Nicora Patrick scored to make it 40-39. But Woodward went on a 9-0 run and upped the lead to 10.
Forest Park made another charge late in the fourth quarter and Yasmine Allen’s 3-pointer made it a four-point game. The Panthers were unable to get closer and a pair of free throws from Woodward’s Kennedie Mosley with 16.2 seconds put the game away.
Forest Park got 32 points from Allen and 17 points from Jayda Brown.
Woodward was led by Bowles with 27 and 10 points each from Moring and Sara Lewis.
“We still have some things we need to fine tune, make sure we’re staying sharp and staying hungry,” Lawrence said. “You can’t take anything for granted, just because we won last year. You keep trying to get better.”