HUNTINGDON, Pa., The Juniata College women's basketball team hosted the Gophers of Goucher College in their second Landmark Conference game of the New Year. The Eagles entered the game looking to get back to make it back-to-back victories against conference rivals, while the Gophers were seeking their first Landmark win. Goucher made it close late, but the Eagles were able to pull out a 64-52 win.
Coming off of a victory over the Rangers at Drew on Saturday, a Juniata win would put them back at .500 in conference play. The Eagles pulled out to an early 12-4 lead thanks to strong play from captains Kelsey Livoti (Altoona, PA / Bishop Guilfoyle) and Maria Photiades (Abottstown, PA / Delone Catholic HS).
Livoti scored a season-high 21 points and just missed a double-double with eight rebounds. Natalie Hager (Franklin, PA / Franklin) continued to be a defensive force for the Eagles, coming away with five steals and 15 rebounds. With nine points she just missed out a double-double of her own. Photiades also had two steals, while adding 10 points and four rebounds.
A Livoti layup scored the first points of the game. Hager drained a three and Livoti followed that with a layup and two free throws for an early 9-0 advantage.
The Gophers came back to make it a six-point game. Photiades followed a Hager layup with a trey and moments later added a layup for a 23-8 Juniata lead. The Blue and Gold continued to pull away to a 35-18 lead at the half.
Goucher cut into the lead significantly in the second half and found themselves trailing by only three with just under six minutes to play in regulation. However, the Eagles were able to hold them off and cruise to a 12-point victory.
The Eagles are now 4-9 on the season and with a 2-2 record in conference play are tied for fourth place in the Landmark standings. Juniata returns to action on Thursday as they travel to conference rival Elizabethtown. The Blue and Gold will be looking to avenge an 80-61 loss at the hands of the Blue Jays earlier in the season. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
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