KINGS POINT, NY – After shooting 43.8 percent and holding the lead at halftime, the Juniata women's basketball team was stunned by Merchant Marine and fell 62-54 Saturday evening.
The Landmark opponents were locked in a tight battle until midway through the period when the Eagles began to pull away. Bethany Spencer (York, PA / York Suburban) drilled a three-pointer to give them a four-point lead. The defense then forced a turnover and got the ball to Bailey Swogger (Tyrone, PA / Bellwood-Antis). Swogger's layup was good and the Mariners were forced to call a timeout.
Back-to-back jumpers from Dani Atkinson (Lancaster, PA / Lancaster Catholic) put Juniata up 17-9 with three minutes remaining. Atkinson finished the game with a team-leading 18 points and four assists.
At 1:13, a jumper from Katy Leamer (Altoona, PA / Bellwood-Antis) made it 19-12 JC. Kelly Leamer (Altoona, PA / Bellwood-Antis) followed with a layup, drew the foul and made the free throw to send the Eagles into the second quarter up by ten (22-12).
Bri Wasser (Ebensburg, PA / Central Cambria) had a strong second quarter performance, putting up an eight-point effort in less than two minutes. Wasser hit two three-pointers and went 2-2 at the line to keep Juniata up by 10 with 3:22 left in the half. She finished the game with 12 points and three steals.
The Mariners climbed their way back and recorded seven unanswered points to trim the Eagles' lead to four at the half.
USMMA pushed in the third quarter and held Juniata to just seven points. The Mariners would tie the game up in the final seconds on two free throws from Kelsey Hofmann.
They carried their momentum into the final period and immediately took the lead. The Eagles were within a point of USMMA with 5:22 to play but the Mariners would pull away again and take the victory 62-54.
Juniata finished the game shooting 31.7 percent and held advantages in rebounds (45-39), second chance points (13-11) and fast break points (6-0).
Next up for the Eagles are the Cardinals from Catholic. Tip off is set for Wed. Jan. 20 at 7pm in the DuFour Center.