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Lady Eagles Suffer First Hoops Loss

(Posted November 28, 2006)

Kelly Ashcraft led Juniata with 11 points and nine rebounds in the conference opener against Messiah.

GRANTHAM, Pa. - A pair of first half scoring runs were too much for the Juniata College women\'s basketball team to overcome as the Eagles were dealt a 75-41 loss to Messiah College in the Commonwealth Conference opener for both teams Tuesday night. The loss was the first of the season for the Eagles as they are now 4-1 overall and 0-1 in the conference, while the defending conference champion Falcons raised their record to 3-1. Kelly Ashcraft (State College/Bellefonte) scored a team-high 11 points for Juniata and was one rebound shy of a double-double with nine, but the Eagles were unable to solve Messiah\'s defense as the Blue and Gold shot just 30 percent from the field and committed 21 turnovers in the game. Juniata started quickly in the game as the Eagles had a pair of early baskets to take a 4-0 lead. Things then quickly turned in Messiah\'s favor as the home team put together a 17-2 run to take a double-digit lead. The Eagles hung in for the rest of the half, trading baskets over the next few minutes before Messiah closed the half with an 11-2 spurt to take a commanding 35-15 lead into the locker room. After being held to seven field goals in the first half, Juniata\'s offense got on track slightly in the second stanza as the Eagles put 26 points on the board to try and cut into the Falcons lead. But Messiah\'s offense also improved in the second half as the home team shot 54 percent from the field en route to a 40-point half and never let Juniata back in the game. Steph Hatch (Bellwood-Antis/Bellwood) chipped in with eight points off the bench for Juniata, while Claudia McDowell (Juniata Valley/Alexandria) added seven. McDowell and Jill Walsh (Johnstown/Ferndale) each led Juniata with two assists. Messiah had four players in double figures led by Nicki Lobach who scored 15 on 6-10 shooting and also had a game-high four assists. Amy Reed added 11 for the Falcons with Ashley Brooks and Katie Kalb each contributing 10. Sarah Ringer paced Messiah with eight rebounds. The Eagles will be back in action on Saturday when they welcome Widener University to Huntingdon for the first home conference game of the season. ###

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