HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata women's basketball team used a big 47-22 second half surge to soar past Elizabethtown, 78-55, in the Landmark Conference semifinal in a noisy Memorial Gymnasium Wednesday evening.
Dani Atkinson (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) tallied 16 points, four assists and two steals. Rachael Anstine (York, Pa./Dallastown) amassed 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists and blocks. Bethany Spencer (York, Pa./York Suburban) accumulated 12 points, five rebounds and two steals while Kaeana Rebert (Hanover, Pa./South Western) totaled nine points and two steals. Gracie Stauffer (Loysville, Pa./West Perry) added eight points, five rebounds and four assists.
Anstine grabbed an offensive rebound in a crowd inside the paint and laid it back in off the glass to put the Eagles up 2-0. She swished a three off a pass from Atkinson to make it 5-2 Eagles. The Atkinson to Anstine connection continued as Atkinson grabbed a rebound, fired a pass over everyone to a sprinting Anstine who grabbed the ball out the air and laid it in. A few minutes later, Anstine obliterated a layup attempt with a ferocious block, grabbed the rebound and pushed it ahead to Atkinson. She found Haley Myers (Huntingdon, Pa./Juniata Valley) in the left corner and she drilled the three to tie the score at 10-10. Cosmopolis drove to the hoop, spun around her defender and banked in a layup to knot the score at 12-12. The Blue Jays drilled a three in the final seconds of the quarter but JC led, 17-15, after one.
Early in the second quarter, Stauffer caught the ball on the right block, the defense collapsed on her and she kicked it back out to Rebert who swished a three from the right wing to make it 21-20. Following two Blue Jay foul shots, Rebert drilled another three, this one from the right corner. The teams passed the lead back and forth over the next few minutes, with Elizabethtown going up 30-28 with a little under a minute left. Myers drilled a deep three from the left wing, but the Blue Jays swished another three right before the buzzer as JC trailed 33-31 at halftime.
The Blue Jays tallied the first five points of the half, before Spencer threw a pass over the defense to a hustling Anstine who again beat everyone down the floor and laid the ball in. Spencer drilled a three from the right wing to pull the Eagles within three and Cosmopolis drilled a three from the left corner off a pass from Stauffer to knot the score at 40. Atkinson sunk a jumper from the foul line followed by Suzy Badorf-England (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg High School) jumper off a pass from Stauffer. Spencer came off a screen, rose and drilled a three to make it 47-41 with 3:14 to go. The Eagles continued to push their lead, with an Instone free throw pushing the lead to nine at 52-43.
The Eagles continued to blitz the Blue Jays with 26-12 final quarter, highlighted by two Dani Atkinson and-ones.
The win sends the Eagles to #11 Scranton with the Landmark Conference Championship on the line. Tipoff is at 3:00.