HUNTINGDON, PA- The Juniata women's basketball team hosted Heidelberg University in the second game of the 9th annual Holiday Tournament on Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium. The Eagles led at halftime and the game was still within reach in the second half, but the visiting Student Princes used a 15-5 run late in the second frame to come away with an 82-66 victory.
Juniata shot just over 48% in the first half and had a strong defensive presence as the Eagles blocked three Berg shots and also had eight steals. Kelsey Livoti (Altoona/Bishop Guilfoyle) had four steals and 13 points to lead JC.
Heidelberg led 11-4 at the 15:13 mark of the opening stanza but a 13-4 run by the Eagles, capped off by a three-point basket from Maria Photiades (Abottstown/Delone Catholic) at 10:56, put Juniata up 17-15.
In the final five minutes of the half, the Student Princes twice had leads of six points with the second time coming with just under three minutes showing on the clock. The Eagles would end the half on a 9-2 run with Natalie Hager's (Franklin/Franklin) layup with 30 ticks left giving Juniata a one-point lead. Following a steal by Livoti, the Eagles had a chance to increase their lead but Danielle Atkinson's (Lancaster/Lancaster Catholic) jumper was off the mark and Juniata settled for a 37-36 advantage.
Heidelberg committed 15 turnovers to just seven for Juniata in the first half. JC took advantage of the Berg miscues as they outscored the Student Princes 17-8.
In the second half, the Student Princes tied the game at 37-all with the second of two free throws by Paige Ricketts. Hager responded for Juniata with a layup to restore the JC advantage. Shelby Dearth's layup again tied the game up at 18:16 and Ricketts' bucket gave 'Berg a two-point lead with 17:16 showing on the clock.
The Heidelberg lead grew to five points with 13:18 left to play. Olivia Halfpenny (McVeytown/Mifflin County) drained a three-pointer and Atkinson added a jumper to tie it 48-48 at 12:16.
'Berg pushed its lead to 55-48 with 9:17 to play. Back-to-back treys from Katy Leamer (Bellwood/Bellwood-Antis) and Liz Wortman (Bellefonte/Bellefonte) knocked the Juniata deficit to one point, 55-54, at 8:44.
JC trailed 57-56 with 7:29 left to play in the game. With just under seven minutes remaining, a traditional three-point play from the Student Princes' Allie Hawkins gave the visitors a 56-60 lead and started the game-changing run as Heidelberg went up 71-59 at 4:02. The Eagles were able to get within eight points, 72-64, after Halfpenny hit a three-point shot but the Student Princes converted eight out of 10 free throws down the stretch to take the victory.
Livoti finished with 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Halfpenny added 15 points and shot 6-of-9 from the floor while going 3-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc. Hager scored 13 points and had two rebounds and two steals. Photiades ended with six points, five assists, four steals, and three rebounds.
The Eagles finished with a 43.5% shooting percentage, which was their second-best performance of the season. The team shot 35% in three-point shots and is their best so far this year. Heidelberg shot 28-of-52 from the floor (53.8%) and was 8-of-16 (50%) in three-point field goals.
Juniata moves on to play The Apprentice School in tomorrow afternoon's consolation game at 12 p.m. The Builders fell to Widener 71-61 earlier in the day. The Student Princes and Pride will battle in the championship at 2 p.m.