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Juniata WBB advances to ECAC South tourney semis with win over Albright

(Posted March 4, 2009)

READING, Pa. -- Senior Claudia McDowell (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) scored 22 points to lead Juniata College to a 77-56 win over Albright College, in a quarterfinal matchup in the ECAC Division III South Region Women's Basketball Tournament, Wednesday night at Albright College.

Senior Kelly Ashcraft (Bellefonte, Pa./State College Area) added 16 points, while junior Kelly Rotan (Atco, N.J./Hammonton) chipped in with 13 points off the bench. McDowell also dished out five assists to go with four steals, allowing her to move up to third among Juniata's career assists leaders with 311.

The Eagles (16-11) shot 54.4% (31-57) from the field against the Lions, and had a 33-28 advantage on the boards. Juniata also forced Albright into making 19 turnovers, leading to 24 Juniata points.

Juniata had a 36-32 lead at the intermission, and were still only four points in front of Albright nearly two-and-a-half minutes into the second half.

However the Eagles began to pull away from the Lions with an 11-0 run, kick-started by an Ashcraft jumper at the 17:06 mark. Five different players scored during the run, which ended with an Ashton Bankos (York, Pa./York Catholic) three-pointer with 13:52 showing.

Juniata's lead broke the 20-point barrier on another Ashcraft layup with 4:57 remaining, giving the Eagles a 69-49 lead.

Juniata, the eighth seed in the ECAC South Region Tournament, advances to Saturday's semifinals against fourth-seeded Alvernia University. Third seed Manhattanville College will face seventh-seeded Wesley College in Saturday's second semifinal game. Both semifinals will be played at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., with the winners meeting in Sunday's championship game.

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