Women's Basketball Upends #8 Scranton

Atkinson drives to the basket.
Atkinson drives to the basket.

Huntingdon, Pa.- The Juniata women's basketball team took down #8 University of Scranton, 62-54, Saturday afternoon in Memorial Gymnasium in their Landmark Conference opener. 

Dani Atkinson (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) tallied 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists and four steals. Morgan Instone (Johnstown, Pa./Bishop McCort) amassed 14 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Veronica Cosmopolis (Lima, Peru/Colegio Carmelitas) totaled 12 points and four assists. 

The Royals found an early rhythm and led 10-5 midway through the first quarter. Carmella Bickel (Elysburg, Pa./Lourdes Regional) split a pair of free throws to make 12-8 as Juniata trailed by four at the end of the first quarter.

Atkinson found Instone for an open jumper to make it 13-12 as Juniata took their first lead with 8:21 to go in the second. The teams exchanged baskets, with a Cosmopolis layup and a Rachael Anstine (York, Pa./Dallastown) foul shot which gave the Eagles the lead back 16-14. The Royals responded with an and-one, and converted the foul shot as they jumped back out in front, 17-16.

Cosmopolis drove to the hoop and converted before she found Instone for a jumper from the elbow as the Eagles went up 20-17. Scranton made a contested midrange jumper, Cosmopolis drilled a three, the Royals split a pair of free throws and Suzy Badorf-England (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg High School) made a jumper as JC lead expanded to 27-20 with 31 seconds to go. Instone hit a jumper right before the buzzer as the Eagles closed the half on a 14-3 run and went into the locker room up 29-20.

To start the second half, Atkinson drove and kicked it to Anstine at the top of the key, where she buried the three. After forcing a Scranton miss, Anstine returned the favor, swinging the ball to Atkinson who swished a three from the right wing as the Eagles led 35-20 in the first minute of the third.

The Royals chipped away at the Eagle lead and a made baseline jumper cut the Juniata lead to three at 37-34 with 3:51 to go in the quarter. Cosmopolis nailed a jumper, the Royals split a pair of free throws, and Gracie Stauffer (Loysville, Pa./West Perry) scored on a put back to make 41-35. Scranton made two foul shots and scored on a layup to get within two at 41-39.

Atkinson hit back to back runners to make it 45-39 with 39 seconds left. The Royals missed a three with 10 seconds left, and Juniata grabbed the ball and raced up the floor. Atkinson tossed it to Cosmopolis who flipped it back to her. Atkinson quickly set herself and fired right before the buzzer sounded. Her shot rattled around the rim and fell as JC led 48-39 going into the fourth.   

Scranton would not go away, and in the final four minutes of the game, converted another and-one, and made the foul shot to make it 55-52. Neither team scored again until Cosmopolis made a foul shot to make it 56-52 with 1:33 to go. Bickel passed it to Instone who made a jumper, but Scranton scored inside to make it 58-54 with just under a minute left as the Royals called timeout. JC ran the clock down, and Atkinson drilled a jumper just inside the three-point line to push the lead to six. Scranton missed a three and fouled. Bickel swished two foul shots to provide the final score, 62-54.

Juniata shot 24-62 (38.7) from the field while Scranton was 18-54 (33.3%). The teams were even on the glass, 38-38.

It's the first time the Eagles have been victorious against Scranton since 2011-2012. 

The Eagles will play again next Saturday at Wilkes. Tipoff is at 1:00.