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Eagles Ladies Unable To Overcome Strong Second Half

(Posted January 14, 2006)

Katie O'Brien tossed in 22 points for the Eagles against conference foe Widener.

Widener 79, Juniata 69

CHESTER, Pa. ? For 20 minutes it looked like the Juniata College women?s basketball team might earn its second-consecutive conference road win. But a second-half comeback from Widener University proved to be the difference as the home team outlasted the Eagles 79-69 in Chester Saturday afternoon.

Katie O?Brien (South Western/Hanover) scored 22 points to lead the Eagles who fell to 8-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play. Widener had a pair of players top 20 points as it raised its record to 10-5 overall and 3-1 in Commonwealth action.

After falling behind by as many as eight points in the first 10 minutes of the game Juniata drew even on back-to-back hoops from Kristen Kirk (Newport/Newport) with 4:38 left in the half. Juniata went on to score seven-straight points capped by an Ali Meckey (Bishop Carroll/Ebensburg) three and then an O?Brien hoop sent the team into halftime leading by eight.

Widener quickly cut into the deficit early in the second half, moving in front on a Chelsea Luhta three at the 13:48 mark. The teams exchanged the lead twice with Juniata reclaiming the advantage on an O?Brien basket. The Pioneers then took the lead for good on a pair of Dominique Kidd free throws with 12:34 left. The advantage was quickly extended to seven before back-to-back hoops from O?Brien pulled Juniata back within three with 8:43 showing on the clock.

The home team?s cushioned remained between five and nine points much of the rest of the way. The Eagles made one final surge as Meckey followed an O?Brien basket with a three pointer to bring the Eagles within four with 2:47 left. After Widener scored, O?Brien put home an offensive rebound to once again cut the lead to four, this time with two minutes remaining, but that was as close as the Eagles got.

O?Brien finished with 22 points on 11-of-21 shooting, while adding four rebounds. Jess Winemiller (Dallastown/York) was also in double figures as she scored 10 points and grabbed a team-best eight boards. Meckey scored finished with eight points, while Courtney Callas (Freeport/Sarver) and Mindy Werner (West York/York) each finished with four assists.

Kidd and Luhta both topped 20 points in the game as Kidd finished with 23 and Luhta scored 22. Beth Dessart Mager and Celeste Baumgardner added 13 and 12 points respectively. Kidd grabbed a game nine rebounds, while Linette Babiarz passed out 10 assists to lead all players.

Juniata will host Messiah on Tuesday for a Commonwealth Conference match-up.

JUNIATA 69): Winemiller 3 4-4 10, O?Brien 11 0-0 22, Meckey 3 0-0 8, Walsh 1 2-2 4, Kirk 2 0-0 4, Callas 2 3-4 7, Werner 0 0-0 0, Ashcraft 2 2-2 7, Snoby 3 1-2 7. Totals ? 27 12-14 69.

WIDENER (79): Luhta 8 5-10 22, Kidd 7 8-10 23, Baumgardner 5 2-2 12, Babiarz 1 3-3 5, Dessart Mager 6 0-1 13, Sipple 0 0-0 0, Ostrowski 1 0-0 2, Guarrera 1 0-0 2. Totals ? 29 18-26 79.

Halftime: Juniata 33-25. 3-point goals: Juniata 3 (Meckey 2, Ashcraft); Widener 3 (Luhta, Kidd, Dessart Mager). Assists: Juniata 17 (Werner, Callas 4); Widener 18 (Babiarz 10). Rebounds: Juniata 40 (Winemiller 8); Widener 35 (Kidd 9).

Records: Juniata (8-7, 1-3), Widener (10-5, 3-1).

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.