LATROBE, Pa.- The Juniata College women's basketball team narrowly edged Saint Vincent, 79-76, Saturday afternoon at the Carey Center.
Morgan Instone (Johnstown, Pa./Bishop McCort) had a career-high 20 points and added six rebounds, Dani Atkinson (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) had 17 points and five assists while Rachael Anstine (York, Pa./Dallastown) had 14 points and eight boards. Lexey Shick (Rimersburg, Pa./Union) chipped in with nine points and five rebounds off the bench. Gracie Stauffer (Loysville, Pa./West Perry) and Madison Colyer (Newville, Pa./Big Spring) each added six points, also off the bench.
The first quarter opened with the Bearcats offense clicking in the opening five and half minutes of the game, as the Eagles trailed 16-11. A layup and a made jumper from Anstine made 16-15. The Eagle defense tightned up as well, as Juniata didn't allowed Saint Vincent to score over the final four minutes of the quarter. JC trailed 16-15 after the first.
Anstine scored the opening buckets for JC in the second off a putback, and she then drilled a jumper off a pass from Veronica Cosmopolis (Lima, Peru/Colegio Carmelitas) following a Saint Vincent layup to make it 19-18 JC. Juniata held their narrow lead over the Bearcats, and with 4:08 to go in the half, led 29-26. The Eagles closed the half on a 12-4 run. Atksinson scored off a pass from Spencer, and on the following possession, made a three after an offensive rebound by Shick. Colyer made a jumper off a pass from Shick and then Colyer found Stauffer in the post to make it 38-30 with 2:05 to go. Atkinson made another three, and Instone split two pairs of free throws as JC went into the half up 43-30. Anstine and Atkinson tallied 20 of the 28 points the Eagles scored in the second period.
The Bearcats opened the third on a 22-10 run, with a layup in transition pulling them within one at 53-52. On the next posession, Stauffer missed a jumper, ripped the rebound down in traffic and laid it back in. After forcing a Saint Vincent miss, Bethany Spencer (York, Pa./York Suburban) grabbed the ball and raced up floor. She stopped at the right elbow, which drew two defenders. Shick cut back door from the right wing, took the pass from Spencer and finished while back hacked. She swished the foul shot to make it 60-54 JC. The Bearcats drained a three to get back within three. Cosmopolis drove towards the hoop and kicked it out to Shick on the right wing who swished a three of her own as JC went into the fourth ahead, 63-57.
The fourth quarter was a tense affair throughout in which the Eagles could never pullaway by more than seven as the Bearcats stayed within shouting distance.
Instone banked in a runner from the right side that pushed the lead to five with 1:32 left in the game at 77-72. The Bearcats quickly responded, scoring inside to get back within three, 77-74. Atkinson split a pair of foulshots, and Saint Vincent scored on a layup from the leftside of the hoop before Instone split a pair of free throws which made it 79-76. Coming out of a timeout, the Bearcats got a look at a deep three from the right wing that hit the front of the rim. JC got the rebound and was fouled, but missed both foul shots. Saint Vincent got the rebound, and had one last chance to tie. Coming out of their final timeout, Saint Vincent got a look at three from the right corner, but it was off the mark as JC held on to win.
Juniata outrebounded Saint Vincent, 47-34. The teams shot very similar percantages from the floor as JC shot 32-72 (44.4%) while the SVC shot 29-65 (44.6%).
The Eagles return to action in their home-opener, Monday against Frostburg.