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Juniata women's hoops stuns 16th-ranked Saint Vincent, 86-71

(Posted December 8, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- In a game program profile, Juniata College senior Erin McGinley (Ashland, Pa./Tri-Valley) said her pre-game ritual was to watch Harry Potter movies with teammate Jen Hnatuck (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) and the two of them would practice their favorite spells on the other team.

They should probably make a note of whatever spells they used on visiting Saint Vincent College prior to Wednesday night's game at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.

Juniata shot 54.1 percent from the field on its way to a 86-71 shocker over 16th-ranked and previously undefeated Saint Vincent, as a stingy Eagle defense forced the Bearcats into 25 turnovers and held Saint Vincent to just 37.5 percent shooting from the field.

The Eagles (6-2) posted a double-digit lead over Saint Vincent within the first seven minutes of the first half, and held a 20-point advantage as the teams went into the locker room at halftime.

"We had a heck of a first half - by far the best half of basketball we've played this year. Maybe even the last two years," said Juniata head coach Danny Young-Uhrich. "Sometimes when you go out there and really go after it, things will start to go your way and we had a little of that tonight."

Saint Vincent (6-1) came back at Juniata twice early in the second half, but the Eagles were able to beat back the rally on each occasion. A 10-2 Bearcat run to open the second stanza brought Saint Vincent to within 12 of the Eagles, but layups by Hnatuck and Alyssia Gordon (Spring Grove, Pa./Spring Grove) and a 3-pointer by Natalie Glinsky (Indiana, Pa./Indiana) put Juniata back up by 19, 53-34, by the 16-minute mark.

Another Saint Vincent surge just two minutes later, fueled by back-to-back 3-pointers by the Bearcats' Maria Baroffio, was answered by a Jordan Speck (Huntingdon, Pa./Southern Huntingdon) bucket and a traditional three-point play by Hnatuck.

An Ashton Bankos (York, Pa./York Catholic) trey with 10:24 showing on the second half clock extended the Juniata lead to 20 points, 69-49. Juniata matched Saint Vincent bucket-for-bucket the rest of the way, effectively running out the clock on the Bearcats.

"I don't think that Saint Vincent had been down that much for so long in a game this season, and I don't think they knew how to respond - which was good for us, because we looked a little shaky in the second half," said Young-Uhrich. "They're a top 20 team, so we had to expect they were going to come out guns-a-blazin' in the second half, but we responded and just kept answering, and answering, and answering every time they came at us. I'm really proud of my team tonight."

Bankos led the Eagles with 19 points, while Hnatuck finished with 16 and both Gordon and Kate McDonald (Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa./State College Area) tallied 10 points each. Speck led Juniata on the boards with 10 rebounds. Juniata tallied 26 assists, three shy of a program record, led by Bankos' six assists.

Juniata was 7-of-15 from three-point range, and outrebounded the Eagles 42 to 30.

Saint Vincent's Baroffio paced the Bearcat offense with 29 points on 11-of-23 shooting from the field, while Brittany Sedlock logged a double-double with 19 points and 10 assists.

Wednesday night's win was Juniata's first over a ranked team since January 31, 2009, when the Eagles downed 16th-ranked Moravian College, 64-58, at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.

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