HUNTINGDON, Pa., The Juniata College women's basketball team found themselves back in the win column after defeating Gwynedd Mercy 73-68 in Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday. The Eagles have struggled as of late, but played well enough to earn the victory in their game before the holiday.
Olivia Halfpenny (McVeytown, PA / Mifflin County) had a tremendous game off of the bench for Juniata. The sophomore scored a team high 17 points, draining seven of nine buckets including two of three from beyond the arch. She added three rebounds and an assist. The Eagles reserves in all scored 36 points.
Senior Kelsey Livoti (Altoona, PA / Bishop Guilfoyle) had a double double, finishing the game with 14 points and 13 rebounds. The forward also had two steals. Fellow forward Natalie Hager (Franklin, PA / Franklin) just missed a double-double with 12 points and eight assists. The junior also had two steals and an assist. The team rebounded well today and scored 16 second chance points in the game.
Natasha Matthews (Norristown, PA / Norristown) entered the contest averaging a double double on the season for the visiting Griffins. The senior continued that trend scoring 16 points and bringing in 11 boards.
Down 16-15 11 minutes into the game, Juniata retook the lead on a Halfpenny layup. A minute later she drained a trey to put the Eagles up 20-18. Freshman Brianna Wasser (Ebensburg, PA / Central Cambria) added a three of her own to give the Eagles a five-point advantage. Juniata would take a 34-27 lead into the break.
The Eagles came out of the gates hot in the second half. Hager gave the team a 10-point lead with a three-pointer 11 seconds into the half. Later, a layup from the junior put Juniata on top 45-34. Six minutes later, a Halfpenny made a layup and subsequent free throw to complete the three-point play and give the Eagles a 12-point advantage. This would be their largest lead of the night. The Griffins clawed their way back in the final 11 minutes of play to no avail as Juniata held off their opponent to end their losing streak and earn the team's second win of the season.
The loss moves Gwynedd Mercy to 3-6 (2-1 CSAC) on the season. With the win the Eagles are now 2-7 (0-2 Landmark). Juniata will return to action on December 30th and 31st as they host The Apprentice School, Heidelberg University, and Widener University in their 9th annual Holiday Tournament sponsored by Comfort Inn. The tournament schedule and other information can be found at www.juniatasports.net.
Follow your Eagles! Stay up to date on all things Juniata Athletics by "following" us on Twitter and don't forget to "like" us on Facebook.