Juniata Pulls out 68-64 Win in Overtime at Goucher

Juniata Pulls out 68-64 Win in Overtime at Goucher

By: Jennifer Jones
Director of Sports Information
jonesj@juniata.edu • juniatasports.net
Photo: Jennifer Jones

TOWSON, Md. – Trailing by nine with under 3:30 minutes in regulation, Juniata College women's basketball mounted a comeback and forced overtime before pulling out the 68-64 win at Goucher College Wednesday night.  With the win, Juniata improved to 11-11 overall and 4-7 in Landmark Conference play, keeping its playoff hopes alive.


The Gophers shot over 53 percent from the floor as team, but when they did miss, Juniata held them to just five offensive rebounds and took advantage of Goucher's 26 turnovers, scoring 15 points.  The Eagles were led by junior Kelsey Livoti (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) who finished with a game-high 16 points.  Three others finished in double-figures.


Freshman Olivia Halfpenny (McVeytown, Pa./Mifflin County) dropped 13 points and senior Jordan Hileman (Williamsburg, Pa./Williamsburg) earned 11, respectively.  Senior Kate McDonald (Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa./State College Area) picked up her 15th double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.


Juniata got off to a slow start in the first half.  Down 17-10 with 10:14 on the clock, Livoti hit a three to spark an Eagle run. The defense forced a turnover and Halfpenny found freshman Katy Leamer (Altoona, Pa./Bellwood-Antis) for the layup.  Halfpenny then hit two free throws to tie the game up for only the second time at 17-all with 8:22 remaining in the half.


The teams then traded baskets and Halfpenny hit a three with 53 seconds on the clock to tie the game up for a sixth time.  A missed Gopher three with one second left sent the teams into the break tied at 30.  The Eagles bench came up big in the first half, posting 19 points and grabbing a quarter of the teams rebounds.


Goucher came out of the break fired up and began to pull away from Juniata.  The Gophers went up by nine (57-48) with 3:22 remaining on a layup from Amaka Ezeani and immediately called timeout.  But the pause backfired.  Juniata regrouped and went on an 8-1 run to pull within two on a trey by Halfpenny with 1:14 left in regulation.


When Ezeani picked up her fourth foul with 39 seconds remaining, she also earned a technical and fouled out of the game.  That sent Hileman to the line to shoot two and she drained them both to tie the game up at 58-58.  Juniata regained possession after the technical foul and took 20 seconds off the clock before going up for a layup that rimmed out.  Goucher grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 17 seconds left to set up its last play.  When they passed around the outside, McDonald intercepted the ball and took it up the court in the opposite direction.  She was able to get a three off, but it didn't fall, sending the game into overtime.


Juniata shot 60 percent from the floor and allowed the Gophers just one rebound in the five minute overtime. The Eagles took the lead (62-60) on a jumper by Halfpenny 1:30 into the extra period and never looked back.  They went on an 8-2 run to secure the win.  Goucher was led by Sharnell Huff who finished with 15 points and spent over 40 minutes on the court.


Juniata returns home this coming Saturday, Feb. 15 in a doubleheader with the men.  It's senior day as both teams take on Merchant Marine Academy and say thank you and goodbye to the class of 2014.  The women tipoff at 4 p.m. and have already defeated the Mariners this season.  Juniata came away with the 88-35 win on the road when the teams met back on January 25.


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