SCRANTON, Pa. – The Juniata women's basketball team fell 71-55 to the undefeated No. 5 Scranton Royals Saturday afternoon.
The Royals closed out the first quarter of play with an 11-0 run to take a strong 22-9 stand against the Eagles. Dani Atkinson (Lancaster, PA / Lancaster Catholic), Bethany Spencer (York, PA / York Suburban) and Natalie Hager (Franklin, PA / Franklin) each picked up a three to keep the game close before Scranton exploded in the second half of the quarter.
Juniata pushed to close the gap in the second period but the Royals countered their efforts and went into the half with a 16-point lead at 38-22.
In the third quarter, the Eagles just outscored the Royals 18-17. JC opened up the scoring in the fourth with a jumper from Ariana Caiati (Hellertown, PA / Wilson Area) but Scranton provided a response to every bucket the Eagles made to secure the win 71-55.
Atkinson led Juniata with 15 points and six rebounds. Katy Leamer ( Altoona, PA / Bellwood-Antis) followed with eight points. Hager and Bri Wasser (Ebensburg, PA / Central Cambria) added seven points each.
Spencer recorded a team-high three steals, followed by Bailey Swogger (Tyrone, PA / Bellwood-Antis) with two. Spencer and Swogger each recorded four assists to contribute to the offensive effort.
Juniata continued to have strong play come off the bench. They led the Royals in points off the bench 22-16.
The conference opponents recorded 37 rebounds apiece. Juniata capitalized on their 19 offensive rebounds and finished with a 12-9 advantage in second chance points.
The Eagles return to action next Sat. Feb. 13 when they face Merchant Marine at 4pm on Senior Day.