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Ashcraft's career-high 28 points leads Juniata past Pitt-Greensburg, 77-65

(Posted November 29, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A three-pointer for Juniata College followed by a quick steal and layup turned out to be the knock-out blow for the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, as the Eagles cruised to a 77-65 win over the Bobcats, Saturday afternoon in Huntingdon, Pa.

After a three-pointer by Pitt-Greensburg's Jessica Mueseler knocked a seven-point Juniata lead down to four points, 62-58, with 2:26 showing in regulation, Eagle freshman Brittany Ryder (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) drained a three to expand the Juniata lead to 65-58.

Bobcat guard Bria Gwosden briefly lost control of her dribble while bringing the ball up to midcourt following Ryder's trey, and senior guard Claudia McDowell (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) swooped in for the steal and uncontested layup. That gave the Eagles a 67-58 lead, with just 1:49 remaining.

UPG's Amanda Sheaffer took advantage of an Eagle turnover just seconds later with an easy layup of her own, cutting the margin to 67-60, but with under a minute and a half left the Bobcats were forced to foul. Juniata went 8-of-8 at the line down the stretch, holding off any Bobcat comeback attempt.

Juniata used a 17-0 run midway through the second half to take control of the contest, and erase what had been a 10-point Pitt-Greensburg lead.

After trailing 34-28 at the half, the Bobcats went on a 20-4 run to open the second stanza, capping the run with a three-pointer by Kelsey Wilcox that gave UPG a 48-38 lead with 11:01 left in the frame. A traditional three-point play by Jen Hnatuck (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) trimmed the lead to 48-41, but that was answered by a layup from the Bobcats' Nicole Reiser.

That would be the last basket Pitt-Greensburg would make for the next five-and-a-half minutes, as the Eagles went on a 17-0 tear to take the lead. Senior forward Kelly Ashcraft (Bellefonte, Pa./State College Area) scored 11 points during the run, part of her career-high 28 points on the afternoon. Ashcraft went 11-of-16 from the field, along with a perfect 6-of-6 at the free-throw line, while dishing out six assists.

McDowell tallied 16 points for the Eagles, while Hnatuck posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. McDowell also handed out five assists with seven steals.

Pitt-Greensburg (4-1) had three players in double-figures, led by Sheaffer with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting, along with six steals. Reiser tallied 15 points, while Wilcox finished with 12 points.

The two teams equally split a total of 58 turnovers in the game, which resulted in 23 points for Juniata and 21 for Pitt-Greensburg.

Juniata (3-3) returns to action on Thursday, Dec. 4, when it travels to Westminster, Md., to face McDaniel College. Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m.

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