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Juniata WBB captures Holiday Invitational title with win over Geneseo State

(Posted January 4, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College women's basketball team scored 11 of the game's first 13 points and cruised to an 81-54 win over Geneseo State, in Sunday's championship game of the 2009 Juniata Holiday Invitational in Huntingdon, Pa.

Sophomore forward Jen Hnatuck (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) scored 11 points with six rebounds and five assists to earn Tournament MVP honors. Senior forward Kelly Ashcraft (Bellefonte, Pa./State College Area) poured in 27 points on 12-of-13 shooting from the field and was named to the All-Tournament squad.

Ashcraft made seven of Juniata's first 10 baskets to open the game, and scored 23 points in the opening frame to help the Eagles jump out to a 45-23 halftime lead. The Eagles shot 57.6% (19-33) in the first half, while holding the Blue Knights to just 31.6% (6-19) shooting from the field.

Juniata (6-6) opened the second half by continuing its offensive surge, with Ashcraft and Claudia McDowell (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) each hitting buckets and Ashton Bankos (York, Pa./York Catholic) draining a three-pointer.

The Eagle lead would reach its widest at 29 points, 61-32, following a layup by Brittany Ryder (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) with 11:29 remaining.

Geneseo State (2-7) was led by Tracy Wangelin with 11 points and eight rebounds, with Bri Dunton and Stephanie Ruback adding 10 points each.

Both Dunton and Wangelin represented the Blue Knights on the All-Tournament Team, along with Milligan College's Heather Mandela and North Carolina Wesleyan's Essence Chambers. Milligan College (Tenn.) defeated N.C. Wesleyan, 61-46, in the consolation game played earlier on Sunday. Mandela had 18 points, 16 rebounds, and four blocks in the win for Milligan, while Chambers finished with 13 points and five boards for N.C. Wesleyan.

Juniata College returns to action this coming weekend, when the Eagles return to Landmark Conference action. The Eagles will play at Moravian College on Friday, Jan. 9, before heading to the University of Scranton on Saturday, Jan. 10.

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