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Women's hoops advances to Holiday Invitational championship

(Posted January 3, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College women's basketball team used a 16-3 run late in the first half to grab a commanding lead and cruise to an 82-67 win over Milligan College (Tenn.), in Saturday's first round of the Juniata Holiday Invitational in Huntingdon, Pa.

The Eagles (5-6) will face Geneseo State in Sunday's championship game at 3:00 p.m., while Milligan (7-7) will play North Carolina Wesleyan in the consolation contest at 1:00 p.m. Geneseo State downed N.C. Wesleyan 65-51 in Saturday's other first round matchup.

Ashton Bankos (York, Pa./York Catholic) kick-started the run with her three-pointer to widen the Eagle lead to 20-16 with 8:32 remaining in the opening half. Six different Juniata players contributed to the run, with Claudia McDowell (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) also draining a three-pointer.

Juniata went into the locker room at halftime with a 42-27 advantage, and opened the second half with a trey by Brittany Ryder (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic).

Jen Hnatuck (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) led the Eagles with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor, while Ryder finished with a season-high 14 points. Kelly Ashcraft (Bellefonte, Pa./State College Area) hauled down nine rebounds while dishing out four assists.

Milligan was paced by Heather Mandela with a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds, with Ashlee Price chipping in with 10 points.

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In Saturday's other first round game, Geneseo State's Kate Jaffie tallied 22 points with 11 rebounds while Bri Dunton added 18 points to lead the Blue Knights to a 65-51 win over North Carolina Wesleyan.

Geneseo State (2-6) shot 46.2% (24-52) from the field, while holding N.C. Wesleyan (1-4) to just 29.5% (18-61) shooting.

The Blue Knights went on a 15-2 run in the latter part of the second half, breaking open a 45-44 game to eventually finish with a 60-46 lead with 3:01 showing on the clock. Jaffie scored eight points during the Geneseo State run, including a pair of three-pointers.

Essence Chamber led the Battling Bishops with 18 points, while T'Keya Holloway pulled in seven rebounds.

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