Juniata Women Lose at Scranton in OT in Landmark Championship

Atkinson tallied a season-high 26 points against Scranton.
Atkinson tallied a season-high 26 points against Scranton.

Scranton, Pa.-  The Juniata women's basketball lost an overtime thriller, 59-58, to #11 Scranton Saturday afternoon at the John Long Center.

Dani Atkinson (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) had a season-high 26 points, five rebounds and three assists. Morgan Instone (Johnstown, Pa./Bishop McCourt) had 16 points, five rebounds and three steals. Gracie Stauffer (Loysville, Pa./West Perry) had nine points, four rebounds and four blocks off the bench. Rachael Anstine (York, Pa./Dallastown) had two points, 10 rebounds and three steals. 

Down 59-58 in overtime, Juniata got two looks in the final seconds. The first, Anstine drove towards the hoop and missed a runner off the glass. The ball was loose and both teams had a hand it, but with the possession arrow pointing JC's way, the Eagles had less than a second to try and get another shot off. Veronica Cosmopolis (Lima, Peru/Colegio Carmelitas) inbounded the ball to Bethany Spencer (York, Pa./York Suburban) who's shot hit the front side of the rim and bounced off as JC fell to Scranton.

Instone scored the first bucket of the game off a pass from Atkinson. A midrange jumper and a three by Atkinson but JC up 7-2 four minutes into the first. The Royals took their first lead at 8-7 before an Instone layup inside gave JC the lead back. The teams went back and forth over the next several minutes before an Instone layup at the buzzer gave the Eagles a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Spencer rattled home a jumper to give JC the lead back in the early goings of the second, 16-15. Following a Scranton free throw, Atkinson made another jumper and followed with two free throws to make it 20-16 with 6:26 to go in the quarter. The Royals held JC without a bucket for the rest of the period as their 7-0 run sent Juniata into the locker room down three, 23-20. 

An Atkinson made jump shot to break the Eagle drought. After forcing a Royal turnover, Cosmopolis grabbed an offensive rebound and passed it to Instone who laid it in as JC retook the lead 24-23. The Royals went ahead 28-24 before Stauffer went on a personal 9-3 run, highlighted by an and-one and capped by a layup off a pass from Atkinson that made it 33-31. Kaeana Rebert (Hanover, Pa./South Western) drilled a three to make it 36-32. The Eagles went into the fourth quarter ahead, 40-37. 

An Atkinson three off a pass from Carmella Bickel (Elysburg, Pa./ Lourdes Regional) gave JC a 44-41 lead before the Royals responded with a three to tie the score with just under six minutes to play. Scranton scored, but four straight points from Instone made it 48-46. Scranton made three of their next four free throws to go up one. Another Instone layup, this one off a feed from Atkinson made it 50-49 with a minute and forty-eight seconds to play. 

Both teams missed shots, until a Royal jumper with 21 seconds to go made it 51-50 and JC called timeout. After the timeout, Instone tried to score inside but missed, Scranton got the rebound and JC quickly fouled. The Royals made both free throws and the Eagles called for time. Then this happened to force overtime.

Anstine scored on a put back to open the over time. Atkinson converted a layup while being fouled and made the foul shot to make it 58-53 with three and half minutes to go.

The Royals made six free throws over the next minute and half to go up one, 59-58. Juniata missed three shots to take the lead over the next minute. With 24 seconds to go, the Royals tried to score inside to increase their lead but Stauffer rejected a layup and Anstine grabbed the ball which set up the Eagles final two attempts.

Juniata shot 31.0% from the floor while Scranton shot 32.7%. JC was 5-14 from three while the Royals were 4-22.

The Eagles are now 22-5.