HUNTINGDON, PA – The Juniata women's basketball team opened the second half with energy and broke out to a four-point lead before the Susquehanna Crusaders responded and took the game 64-54 Wednesday night.
The first quarter was full of back and forth action that ended on a three-pointer from Kelly Leamer (Altoona, PA / Bellwood-Antis) that gave the Eagles a one-point lead. Leamer finished the game as the team's leading scorer at 10 points. She went 4-4 from the foul line and also picked up two steals for JC.
The Crusaders would take the edge in the start of the second period before a jumper from Dani Atkinson (Lancaster, PA / Lancaster Catholic) tied it up at 17. Atkinson finished with seven points and two assists.
With 5:30 remaining in the half, Susquehanna held a seven-point lead over Juniata. Back-to-back three pointers from Sarah Sherman (Lansdale, PA / Methacton) put the Eagles within three with 2:10 to play. Sherman put up eight points in her seven minutes off the bench.
Leamer would then go 2-2 from the foul line to make it 31-30 Susquehanna. SU's Danielle Palazzi hit the three at the 25-second mark but Leamer took a rebound to the outside and drilled the three to send the Eagles into the half down by one.
The Eagles got off to a strong start in the second half as they scored five points in the first 44 seconds.
A big three from Atkinson, followed by a layup from Bethany Spencer (York, PA / York Suburban) gave Juniata their largest lead of the game (four). Spencer recorded eight points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals against the Crusaders.
The offense seemed to fall flat after Spencer's layup. JC went without another bucket until Bri Wasser (Ebensburg, PA / Central Cambria) made the jumper near the two-minute mark.
A strong defensive effort in the third kept the Eagles in the game and down by just four heading into the final period. Susquehanna found a way to break out into a more comfortable lead in the final five minutes of the game to take the win 64-54.
Juniata finished with a slim advantage in rebounds (41-40) and second chance points (11-10). Both teams found themselves turning over the ball a lot during the game, but the Eagles were able to cash in on their opportunities and recorded 18 points off SU turnovers.
JC travels to Merchant Marine Jan. 16 to continue Landmark Conference play. Tip-off is schedule for 4pm following the men's game at 2pm.