HUNTINGDON, Pa.-The Juniata women's basketball team did their part, as they defeated Susquehanna, 69-54, on Senior Day, but they didn't get the help they needed from the Catholic vs. Drew game to make the postseason, Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium.
Kaitlyn Young (Mount Ephraim, N.J. / Audubon) opened things for the Eagles with a layup off a pass from fellow senior Kaeana Rebert (Hanover, Pa. / South Western) before the senior forward left the court to a standing ovation. A few possessions later Grace Long (Harrisburg, Pa. / Central Dauphin) found Gracie Stauffer (Loysville, Pa. / West Perry) down low for a layup to make it 4-2 Eagles early. Stauffer, standing on the left elbow, found Madison Colyer (Newville, Pa. / Big Spring) cutting to the hoop and she laid it in to make it 6-5 JC three minutes in. Neither team scored for the next three minutes until Cassie Mock (Martinsburg, Pa. / Central Martinsburg) drilled a deep three from the right wing to make it 9-5 with just under four minutes to go. Susquehanna tallied the final six points of the quarter as they led 11-9 after one.
Stauffer swung the ball to Mock on the left wing and she converted from deep to give the Eagles the lead back eight seconds in the second quarter. Two minutes later Larissa Leonard (Three Springs, Pa. / Southern Huntingdon) tossed it to Mock at the top of the key who nailed her third triple of the game to make it 18-13 three minutes in. Rebert got in on the three-point action, knocking one in from the left wing to make it 21-17 with just over five minutes to go. Stauffer grabbed an errant Eagle shot miss and laid it back in while being hacked across the wrist. Her free throw made it 24-18 Juniata. Colyer nailed a baseline jumper and after a Long steal, Colyer beat everyone down the floor for a left-hand layup to make it 28-21 with a minute and a half remaining in the half. The River Hawks closed the quarter strong again, with a 7-0 run including a layup in the final seconds tying things up, 28-28.
A pair of Rebert foul shots pulled the Eagles even again at 30-30 just thirty seconds into the third. Rebert and Stauffer ran pick and roll on the right wing that resulted in a Stauffer layup. Colyer knocked down a baseline jumper off a pass from Long to pushed the lead to four. Some nice high-low action resulted in Colyer finding Stauffer for a layup. On the next offensive possession, Stauffer nailed a baseline jumper from the right side to push the Eagles back ahead, 38-36. A few possessions later they switched roles as Stauffer hit a slashing Colyer under the hoop who hit a contested layup to make it 40-38. Megan Haines (Bloomsburg, Pa. / Bloomsburg) hit Stauffer for a layup plus the foul, with the free throw making it 43-38 with four minutes to go. A Haines triple from the right wing in front of the Eagle bench off a kick out by Averie Hess (Jersey Shore, Pa. / Jersey Shore) pushed the lead to seven. A late three in the final seconds from Susquehanna got them back within three, 46-43, heading into the final period.
Stauffer found Rebert streaking to the rim and her short jumper rolled over the rim and in to make it 48-43, 30 seconds in. Rebert turned provider as her post-entry pass led Stauffer for an easy layup while she was fouled. Her foul shot pushed the lead to eight. A Colyer left-wing jumper off a pass from Leonard pushed the lead 10, forcing a Susquehanna timeout. A minute later, Rebert grabbed another River Hawk miss and went racing up the floor. She drove inside to draw the defense before bouncing the ball to Mock in the corner who swished a three to push the lead to twelve. The River Hawks got within eight with three and half minutes to go when Stauffer passed out of a double team to a wide-open Leonard who sunk the three. On the ensuing defensive possession, Colyer stole the ball and laid it in with a defender all over her to essentially ice the game. The Eagles coasted the rest of the way to get the 69-54 result.
The Eagles finish the year 10-15, 8-6 in the Landmark Conference.