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Juniata women's hoops subdues Susquehanna; earns no. 2 seed for Landmark tourney

(Posted February 23, 2008)

SELINSGROVE, Pa. т?" To play the host for a Landmark Conference Tournament semifinal next week, the Juniata College women's basketball team needed a win Saturday night over archrival Susquehanna University т?" and some help. The Eagles took care of business in a big way, pounding Susquehanna 72-56 in front of 340 fans at Houts Gymnasium in Selinsgrove, Pa. Juniata's 72 points was the most in a Landmark Conference game this season, and the Eagles' second-largest margin of victory behind only a 71-49 thrashing of Drew University back in mid-January. That was followed by the news that the University of Scranton had knocked off Moravian College 92-85 in double-overtime in Bethlehem, Pa., sending Juniata into the Landmark Conference Women's Basketball Tournament as a no. 2 seed. The Eagles will host third-seeded Moravian in a Landmark semifinal game on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center in Huntingdon, Pa. Juniata (17-8, 10-4) used a 14-3 run midway through the first half to take control of the game, with Kelly Ashcraft (Bellefonte, Pa./State College) capping the surge with a jumper at the 3:32 mark of the opening frame that left the Eagles with a 26-12 lead. Susquehanna trimmed the margin to 12 points, 28-16, with just over two minutes remaining in the half, but the Eagles closed out the period with an Ali Meckey (Ebensburg, Pa./Bishop Carroll) three-pointer and a traditional three-point play by Ashcraft. The Crusaders (13-12, 7-7 Landmark) cut the Juniata lead down to 12 points, 38-26, with 15:40 remaining in the second half. Juniata responded with a 13-2 run, fueled by three buckets by Ashcraft and three more plus a foul shot by Kelly Rotan (Atco, N.J./Hammonton), pushing the Eagle lead into the 20's. An Ashcraft layup with 2:54 remaining extended the Juniata lead to its widest at 27 points, 70-43. Ashcraft finished with 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor, while Claudia McDowell (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) tallied 15 points. Juniata went 11-of-11 at the free-throw line, and dominated the Crusaders 32-25 on the glass. Jen Hnatuck (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) had seven points to go with a team-high eight rebounds. Rachael Hughes paced Susquehanna with 19 points off the bench, and was the only Crusader in double-figures. The Crusaders committed 19 turnovers leading to 24 Juniata points. -30-

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