MADISON, NJ – A 10-2 run in the final three minutes of the game gave the Juniata women's basketball team the edge they needed to defeat the Drew Rangers 67-59 Saturday evening.
The Eagles and Rangers battled their way into nine ties and 10 lead changes.
Juniata's defense showed their strength from the start of the game and held Drew to four points in the final 5:23 of the first quarter. The Rangers held a 10-6 lead before two free throws from Katy Leamer (Altoona, PA / Bellwood-Antis) sparked a 10-0 run to give Juniata a 17-10 lead with 49 seconds remaining in the quarter. Drew would pick up two layups before the period ended to trim the Eagles' lead to four.
Just over two minutes into the second quarter, a three-pointer from Drew's Sam Lane would tie the game up at 22. A jumper from Leamer gave Juniata the lead again but the Rangers would immediately respond and go on to take the lead 26-24 with 4:59 remaining in the half. Kelly Leamer (Altoona, PA / Bellwood-Antis) drilled a three-pointer to put the lead back in the hands of the Eagles.
Drew would be sent to the line on a foul and tie the game up at 27 before going on to take a 34-29 lead into the half.
The Eagles would push their way back into the game and eventually tied it up at 40 with 4:44 remaining. They would take the lead just over a minute later when Dani Atkinson (Lancaster, PA / Lancaster Catholic) hit a jumper, followed by a three pointer to make it 45-42. As the third quarter came to a close, Juniata held the lead 49-44.
The Rangers stuck first in the fourth quarter and would briefly hold the lead 52-49 with 6:29 left in the game. A timeout from JC stopped Drew's momentum as they tied the game at 6:22 on a three from Bethany Spencer (York, PA / York Suburban). The conference opponents would reach one more tie at 57 before the Eagles would take the lead on a free throw from Atkinson and never look back. A 67-59 final gave the Eagles their second conference win of the season.
Katy and Kelly Leamer each picked up 18 points off the bench, with Katy adding 10 rebounds to earn her second double-double of the season. The Eagles totaled a 38-15 advantage in bench points.
Atkinson rounded out the double-digit point scorers for Juniata with 13 points.
Natalie Hager (Franklin, PA / Franklin) finished the game with a team-leading 11 rebounds and four assists.
As a team, Juniata held a 46-34 advantage in rebounds and a 15-2 advantage in second chance points. They finished with a 35.4 shooting percentage and went 15-22 from the foul line.
The Eagles look to carry their momentum to Selinsgrove, Pa. Wed. Feb. 3 when they face the Susquehanna Crusaders at 7pm.