Late Shot Downs No. 21 Eagles in 95-93 Overtime Thriller

Late Shot Downs No. 21 Eagles in 95-93 Overtime Thriller


By: Jennifer Jones
Director of Sports Information •
Photo: Jennifer Jones

LATROBE, Pa. – No. 21/23 Juniata College women's basketball dropped a heartbreaker to St. Vincent College, 95-93, in overtime on the road Monday night.  The score was tied 17 times with 24 lead changes in the close battle.  It was the Eagles first loss of the season. Juniata moved to 5-1 on the year while the Bearcats improve to 2-2.


"I think we needed to get pushed around a little bit," said head coach Danny Young-Uhrich.  "St. Vincent just played so well.  And I'm not saying we didn't fight, we just started out slow. Hopefully this is a learning experience for the girls. We saw a lot of positives.  We just needed this check a little bit to hopefully propel us forward."


Freshman Olivia Halfpenny (McVeytown, Pa./Mifflin County) came off the bench strong for the Eagles.  She only missed one shot all night and finished with a team and career-high 21 points, going 6-for-7 from the floor, 3-for-3 from three-point range and 6-for-6 at the charity stripe.


Four other Eagles picked up double-figure points.  Senior Kate McDonald (Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa./State College Area) earned her fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds.  Fellow senior Jordan Hileman (Williamsburg, Pa./Williamsburg) nearly earned a double-double of her own, putting up 15 points with a game and career-high nine assists.


Junior Kelsey Livoti (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) and sophomore Paige Dennison (East Berlin, Pa./Bermudian Springs) finished with 19 and 11 points, respectively.


The game turned into a footrace as both teams worked to be the first up the court in transition.  St. Vincent took the lead early and went up by as much as seven just 3:31 into the contest.  Freshman Katy Leamer (Altoona, Pa./Bellwood-Antis) broke the Bearcats run with a three from the corner.


Juniata then went on a 7-0 run to tie the game up for a second time. The game would go back and forth with four more ties before Dennison put the Eagles back up with 2:30 to go in the half.


The Bearcats regained the lead 38-37 with 33 seconds left in the first half off a layup.  Dennison then responded with a three to give Juniata the lead heading into the break.


Both teams came out ready to battle in the second half.  Juniata held onto a lead until the Bearcats tied it up at 60 with 11 minutes remaining and took the lead.


Juniata hung in and regained the lead off a pair of free throws by Halfpenny with 6:19 to play.  The lead would change eight more times with four ties down into the final minute of regulation.


With 24 seconds left, Ally Schmidt picked up a basket and a foul, giving St. Vincent the 82-80 lead. She missed the free throw and Juniata grabbed the rebound. But Schmidt stole the ball just past half court and was fouled with 17 seconds remaining.  She missed the shot and the Eagles grabbed the rebound again.


Hileman took the ball the distance after the missed free throw and drove to the hoop.  She was fouled going up for the bucket and headed to the charity stripe with an opportunity to tie the game up with 10.1 seconds remaining.


The senior hit them both and tied it up at 82-all to send the game into overtime.


With Juniata down 89-87 with 2:30 left in the game, Halfpenny hit back-to-back trey's to put the Eagles on top by four 93-89.


The Bearcats responded with a deep three from the top of the arch that pulled them within one, 93-92, with 54 seconds remaining.  Juniata brought the ball up and ran through its offense, taking serious time off the clock.  After getting the rebound off a miss, McDonald was fouled on the put back.  But both free throws hit the rim and came out, leaving the door open for the Bearcats.


St. Vincent brought the ball over half court and called timeout with 21.4 seconds on the clock.  Ashlee Darby drove to the basket and was fouled making the layup. She hit the and-1 to give St. Vincent the 95-93 lead with nine seconds left.  A last second shot by Juniata from the baseline hit both sides of the rim before coming out and the Eagles were unable to wrangle the rebound as time expired.


Juniata returns home on Saturday, Dec. 7 in its Landmark Conference home opener against Moravian College.  It is a doubleheader with the men tipping off at 2 p.m. and the women following at 4 p.m.  The Eagles are 16-28 all-time against Moravian.  Juniata came away with the 73-63 win the last time the Greyhounds came to Huntingdon.


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