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Juniata's 17-0 run to over final three minutes lifts Eagles past USMMA

(Posted January 16, 2009)

KINGS POINT, N.Y. - Juniata College held the United States Merchant Marine Academy scoreless over the final three minutes of regulation during a 17-0 run, and rolled past the Mariners 57-47 in Landmark Conference women's basketball action Friday night in Kings Point, N.Y.

Trailing 47-40 as the second half moved past the three-minute mark, Juniata (7-8, 1-3 Landmark) began its comeback with a pair of free throws by Kelly Ashcraft (Bellefonte, Pa./State College Area), followed by a Brittany Ryder layup. A three-pointer by Claudia McDowell (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) at the 2:02 mark knotted the game at 47-47, and the Eagles took the lead 45 seconds later with two more Ashcraft foul shots.

Ashcraft was 8-of-8 at the line over the final three minutes, and finished a perfect 10-of-10 at the stripe for the entire game on her way to finishing with 16 points.

Merchant Marine was 0-of-5 from the floor during Juniata's decisive run at the end of regulation, and the Mariners also committed five turnovers following their last bucket of the night - a three-pointer by Stephanie Waller at the 4:20 mark that gave the Mariners their widest lead of the game at 47-40.

Merchant Marine trailed all of the first half as well as the first four minutes of the second stanza, before taking its first lead at 28-26 with 15:54 showing on the clock after a jumper by Brooke Picillo.

Ryder also finished with 16 points for the Eagles, while McDowell tallied 11 points. Juniata outgunned Merchant Marine with 42.3% (11-26) shooting in the first half, but had to overcome an 8-of-29 (27.6%) effort in the second half. The Mariners shot just 33.3% (17-51) over the entire game.

Waller led the Mariners offensively with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, while May Marie Hayes pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds to aid the Merchant Marine cause.

Juniata continues the two-game road swing on Saturday afternoon in Madison, N.J., against Drew University. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.

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