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Juniata WBB storms past Gallaudet, 62-45, in NCAA First Round contest

(Posted March 4, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College women's basketball team did not allow Gallaudet University to take the lead even once as it stormed through the First Round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship, defeating the Bison, 62-45, Friday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.

"Today we were focused and into the game. Our team has a shooter's mentality and even in times when we could afford to calm down we kept shooting," said Juniata head coach Danny Young-Uhrich. "I have to appreciate that about my players because they are fearless."

The win sends Juniata (22-6) into Saturday's Second Round game against Greensboro College (27-2), with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center. The Pride were 83-66 winners over Saint Vincent College in Friday's opening First Round game

"I am very proud of the players that represented Gallaudet University," said Gallaudet University head coach Kevin Cook. "Hats off to Juniata College - they were a better conditioned team and were physically stronger."

Juniata showed off that speed and athletecism right out of the gate, getting points from eight of the 10 players on the roster with only two cracking double figures.

Junior guard Ashton Bankos drained a three-pointer off the opening tip, and made her second of the opening minute following a jumper by Gallaudet forward Easter Faafiti. Eagle guard Jordan Speck knocked down another three, and took advantage of a Bison turnover to get the layup - all of which left Juniata holding an 11-2 lead barely two-and-a-half minutes into the contest.

Gallaudet regained it's a composure after a time out, hitting a pair of foul shots and a quick three-pointer by guard Britny Latham to pull to within four. Layups by the Bison's Nukeitra Hayes and Britny Latham had Gallaudet right on Juniata's heels, 13-11 with 13:28 left in the opening half.

With neither team able to get much offense going, the score was still 15-13 in the Eagles' favor by the midway point of the first half.

Three straight layups by Juniata senior forward Erin McGinley jump-started the Eagle offense, and guards Natalie Glinsky and Meagan Raville added buckets to give Juniata a 25-13 lead at the end of a 10-0 run. Speck knocked down two more Juniata threes in the final minute of the half to give the Eagles a commanding 33-15 halftime lead.

Gallaudet rallied in the opening minutes of the second half, knocking the margin down to 13 points on a Latham three-pointer and a Hayes jumper. The Bison would get to within 11 of the Eagles, 35-24, with 15:54 remaining on another jumper by Hayes.

Juniata senior forward Jen Hnatuck halted the rally with a jumper, and a Raville trey followed by a McGinley two-point bucket quickly had the Eagles back in front, 42-24, with 13:01 showing on the clock.

The Eagles' widest lead came with 2:20 left in the game, as Glinsky's layup gave Juniata a 62-36 advantage.

Juniata shot 40.0% (27-of-66) from the field, but was more impressive on the defensive end of the floor where it held Gallaudet to just .327 (18-55) shooting from the floor. The Eagles forced the Bison into committing 29 turnovers, resulting in 29 Juniata points.

Gallaudet did finish ahead of Juniata on the boards, where the Bison had a narrow 41-39 advantage in rebounds.

McGinley led Juniata with 14 points off the bench, while Speck tallied 11 points to lead the starters - mostly on her 3-of-7 performance from three-point range. Glinsky and Raville each had nine points while Hnatuck tallied eight. Freshman Kate McDonald was the Eagles' rebounding leader with eight, and Bankos, Raville, and sophomore Paige Robertson each handed out four assists.

Three Gallaudet players finished in double figures, led by Faafiti with the double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds. Latham also had 14 points, fueled by a 4-for-10 effort from beyond the arc. Hayes tallied 11 points, and just missed the double-double with nine rebounds.

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