THE HEADLINE: With a 79-54 loss to Catholic University, Juniata falls to 0-2 in conference play on Saturday, Jan. 7.
5 Bethany Spencer (York, Pa./York Suburban)
21 Katy Leamer (Altoona, Pa./Bellwood-Antis)
22 Bailey Swogger (Tyrone, Pa./Bellwood-Antis)
30 Dani Atkinson (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic)
42 Kelly Leamer (Altoona, Pa./Bellwood)
FIRST HALF: Juniata started off slow with three missed shots, all rebounded by Catholic, allowing the Cardinals to take a 4-0 lead in the first four minutes of the contest. Then with 5:43 left in the first quarter, Katy Leamer put the Eagles on the board and Atkinson followed up with a three to put the Eagles ahead 5-4.
A Cardinal layup put Catholic back ahead by one but Atkinson retaliated with a three. With four more from Catholic and Kelly Leamer's layup, the game was knotted at 10. However, the Cardinals began an 11-3 run to pull ahead and finish the first quarter with an eight-point lead over the Eagles.
With Catholic ahead 37-25 at the start of the second quarter, the Cardinals came out of the gate outshooting the Eagles 16-5, taking a 37-18 lead over Juniata with 4:27 left in the quarter. Their 16 points came with three three-pointers, three layups, and a free throw, while Bri Wasser (Ebensburg, Pa./Central Cambria), Katy Leamer and Kelly Leamer combined for Juniata's five points.
However, that's all the Cardinals got in the second quarter. Starting after Atkinson's impressive offensive rebound, leading to a foul on Kelly Leamer, Juniata began an undisputed run until the end of the quarter. Kelly Leamer made her pair of free throws. Spencer took charge, sparking the team after a steal and drawing a foul. Spencer made both free throws, cutting the Cardinal lead to 37-22. Atkinson pulled down a rebound on the other end after a missed jumper and Spencer capitalized on the possession with a three-pointer.
After some back-and-forth and before either team was able to score again, the halftime buzzer sounded, keeping the score at 37-25.
SECOND HALF: The Cardinals tacked on four points with two layups at the beginning of the third quarter. After their second layup, Katy Leamer put up a layup of her own.
The Cardinals fought back for four points until Atkinson quieted them with another three. On the next Juniata possession, Rachel Anstine (York, Pa./Dallastown) completed a putback to put the Eagles within ten.
A foul was called on Veronica Cosmopolis (Lima, Peru/Colegio Carmelitas) and the Cardinals made both free throws; Atkinson retaliated with a layup, putting the Eagles back within ten.
Catholic then tacked on four more with a long jumper and a layup, ending the third quarter ahead by 14.
The score was 54-40 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Cardinals pulled ahead 63-40 two minutes in in part to a JC turnover and three defensive rebounds under the Eagles' basket.
Three minutes in, Swogger made a layup after a steal by Spencer. Then, Kelly Leamer capitalized on Atkinson's defensive rebound with a three, making the score 63-45.
Catholic went on a 16-9 run to secure their victory in Memorial Gym.
TOP PERFORMANCES: Atkinson tallied 18 points, as she shot 6-19 from the field, 5-11 behind the three-point line and made a free throw. She also dished out a team-high six assists and tallied three steals.
Katy and Kelly Leamer followed her with nine points each.
WHAT'S NEXT?: The Juniata women is scheduled to face Goucher at home on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. They will be home on Saturday, Jan. 14 for a doubleheader with the men against Drew, starting at 2 p.m.