HUNTINGDON, PA – The Juniata women's basketball team entered halftime with a 24-20 lead over Scranton but a dominating second half performance gave the Royals a 53-41 victory Saturday evening.
The Royals, who average 67.6 points per game this season, were held well below that average by Juniata. Missed shots impacted the Eagles late in the game as they pushed to even the score.
"They were going to score their points but I think the rebounds, especially the second and third opportunities we gave them, really hurt us," head coach Danny Young-Uhrich said. "Overall I think we could've cleaned it up a bit but I think we played pretty solid defense. We held them to 53 points and they average close to 70."
Both teams started the game slow but a three-pointer from Natalie Hager (Franklin, PA / Franklin) gave the Eagles the spark they needed. Juniata finished the quarter with seven unanswered points and an 11-7 lead.
Four quick layups from the Royals tied the game up at 15 with 6:14 in the third. Katy Leamer (Altoona, PA / Bellwood-Antis) sank a jump shot to give the Eagles a 17-15 edge but a missed layup and turnover gave Scranton the chance to bank a three to take the lead.
Juniata stayed with the Royals and wound up on top 24-20 at halftime.
Scranton came out firing in the second half of the game and quickly found their way to a 30-27 lead with 5:40 in the third. The Royals held off the Eagles attempts to take the game and finished with a 53-41 victory.
Hager led the effort from Juniata with five rebounds and 12 points. Rachael Anstine (York, PA / Dallastown) followed with seven points and seven rebounds. Kelly Leamer (Altoona, PA / Bellwood-Antis) had seven points off the bench.
"We need to figure some things out offensively," Young-Uhrich said. "Some people that are usually on the board more for us struggled today. Nat stepped up a little bit and I'm glad she could be an offensive presence for us."
The Eagles head to Gwynedd Mercy Wed. Dec. 9 before returning home for four straight. Tip-off set for 7pm.