HUTNINGDON, Pa.-The Juniata women's basketball team claimed sole possession of second place with their 70-63 win over Elizabethtown, Wednesday evening in Memorial Gymnasium.
Madison Colyer (Newville, Pa. / Big Spring) cleaned up a miss and laid it back in off the glass to tie the game at 2-2 a minute into the contest. Gracie Stauffer (Loysville, Pa. / West Perry) handed the ball off to Kaeana Rebert (Hanover, Pa. / South Western) who swished the three to give the Eagles the lead. Another Rebert triple followed an Etown jumper to make it 12-6 with five and half minutes to go. Larissa Leonard (Three Springs, Pa. / Southern Huntingdon) converted two foul shots and on the next possession drove inside before scoring off glass to make it 16-9. The Blue Jays got within three with two minutes to go before a Cassie Mock (Martinsburg, Pa. / Central Martinsburg) deep ball and a Rebert layup in traffic inside the final minute pushed the lead back to eight. Elizabethtown closed the quarter with a three as Juniata led 23-18 after one.
While it was icy outside, the Eagles started out hot on offense. Their 23 points were the most points the Eagles have scored in the opening quarter of a conference contest so far this season.
Back to back layups by Leonard and Stauffer pushed the Eagle lead to nine in the first minute of the second quarter. Juniata didn't score over the next four minutes as Elizabethtown closed the gap to one, 27-26, before Rebert rattled home another elbow jump shot to break the cold spell. Mock split a pair of free throws, but the ball went off a Blue Jay so Juniata got to keep the ball. Rebert found Leonard for another three to push the lead to five. After Juniata got another stop, Rebert made another midrange j. Leonard drew another foul and converted both foul shots to push the Eagle lead to 11 with two minutes remaining in the half. The teams traded jumpers in the final minute as the Eagles led by nine, 39-30, at the half.
Leonard and Rebert had 25 of the teams 39 points while shooting 9-14 combined.
The Blue Jays scored the first five points in the opening three minutes of the third quarter to get within four before Grace Long (Harrisburg, Pa. / Central Dauphin) lobbed it over the defense to Stauffer inside. Elizabethtown continued to chip away at the lead, a put back cut the Eagle lead to one at 43-42. Mock dribbled into a long two to push the lead back to five. Etown split a pair of foul shots before Stauffer scored in traffic on another pass by Long. Stauffer scored again, this time off a feed from Rebert. In the final seconds of the quarter, Rebert set up Mock for a layup to make it 51-43 heading into the final period.
Teams traded buckets throughout the fourth as Juniata kept the Blue Jays at bay, with a Mock triple pushed the lead to 12 with two minutes to go. Elizabethtown nailed a jumper with a little under two minutes to go. Neither team scored until two foul shots from the Blue Jays made it 67-59 with 45 seconds remaining. The visitors forced a turnover and scored again to get within six. The Blue Jays turned the Eagles over again, and drew a foul before sinking both shots. JC got the ball in and Elizabethtown fouled with 18 seconds left. Rebert knocked down both and that essentially ended as Juniata walked off with a 70-63 win.
Juniata held the Blue Jays to 39.0% shooting from the floor and 8.3% shooting from three. The Eagles shot 48.2% from the floor, their best shooting percentage of the season.
At the halfway mark of conference play having played everyone once, Juniata sits at 5-2, the second-best mark in the conference.
They will travel to play at Drew, Saturday at 2:00.