(Posted January 29, 2005)

Widener 83, Juniata 80

Huntingdon, PA. ? Never has the expression ?so close and yet so far? been more appropriate. The Juniata College women?s basketball team overcame a 20-point second half deficit to tie its Commonwealth Conference game with Widener University with 14 seconds left, only to then fall by an 83-80 score as the Pioneers hit a three with eight seconds left on the clock. Widener?s Nicole Stanley matched Juniata?s (5-13, 1-7 Commonwealth) Courtney Callas? (Freeport/Sarver) three to propel the Pioneers (12-7, 5-3 Commonwealth) to the win.

A 7-0 Widener run with 14:28 remaining seemed to give the visitors an insurmountable lead. But the Eagles would whittle away at the lead, pulling within 14 with 3:57 left in the game. The drama began there as the Eagles then ran off 11-straight points to cut the lead to three with 1:39 remaining. Widener scored on its next trip, but Juniata kept coming, with a pair of free throws from Callas cutting the lead to one. After two free throws from Stanley, Juniata came back down and Callas drilled a three to tie the game at 80 with 14 seconds left. Widener quickly broke through Juniata?s pressure and found Stanley who buried the go-ahead three with eight seconds left. Juniata managed to get off a last-second shot, but Callas? attempt fell short at the buzzer.

Callas, Lesley Snoby (Johnstown/Johnstown) and Katie O?Brien (Southwestern/Hanover) all finished with 18 points for Juniata. The 18 was a career high for both Callas and Snoby. O?Brien added 10 rebounds to earn the ?double-double? while Mindy Werner (West York/York) passed out six assists for the Eagles.

Chelsea Luhta led all players with 26 points in the game, while also contributing 10 boards and a game-high eight assists. Stanley finished with 17, while Dominique Kidd and Celeste Baumgardner added 12 and 11 respectively. Baumgardner also finished with 10 rebounds.

The final minute was as close as the game had been since early in the first half. With the score tied at four in the early stages of the first half, Widener put together a 16-2 run that gave the visitors a comfortable edge. The lead remained in double figures until Juniata?s surge in the final three minutes.

The set-back was the second-consecutive three-point loss Juniata has suffered in conference play. Juniata will look to get back in the win column on Wednesday when the Eagles play at conference foe Messiah.

JUNIATA (80): Callas 6 5-5 18, Meckey 2 0-0 4, Walsh 1 4-4 6, Winemiller 1 1-2 3, O?Brien 7 4-5 18, Kirk 1 0-0 2, Rhoads 1 0-0 2, Werner 3 2-2 9, Snoby 7 3-4 18. Totals ? 29 19-22 80

WIDENER (83): Babiarz 3 0-1 8, Luhta 10 6-6 26, Stanley 6 3-3 17, Baumgardner 4 2-5 11, Kidd 4 4-4 12, Murphy 3 0-0 7, Williams 0 0-0 0, Ostrowski 1 0-0 2, Hilliard 0 0-0 0. Totals ? 31 16-19 83

Halftime: Widener 44-33. 3-point goals: Juniata 3 (Callas, Werner, Snoby); Widener 5 (Babiarz 2, Stanley 2, Murphy). Assists: Juniata 16 (Werner 6); Widener 16 (Luhta 8). Rebounds: Juniata 32 (O?Brien 10); Widener 31 (Luhta, Baumgardner 10).
Records: Juniata (5-13); Widener (12-7).


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.