(Posted November 26, 2005)

New York, N.Y.? Freshman Kelly Ashcraft (State College/Bellefonte) scored a career-high 16 points while adding 10 rebounds and helped the Juniata College women?s basketball team overcome a furious late-game rally as the Eagles outlasted Alvernia College 59-54 in the opening day of the NYU Classic Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles improved to 3-1 on the season, while the Crusaders dropped to 1-3.

Ashcraft scored nine of her 17 in the second half, including eight straight as part of a 10-0 run that had the Eagles comfortably in front by 18 with 9:38 remaining in the contest. It was the first double-digit point performance of her career, while her 10 rebounds were also a career-best. It marked the first ?double-double? of her collegiate career.

Alvernia then battled its way back into the game by shutting down Juniata?s offense. Following Ashcrafts? basket at 9:38, Juniata went the next eight minutes without a field goal as the Crusaders cut into the lead. Erin Knarr scored a basket with 5:59 left to pull Alvernia within six.

Juniata?s lead was trimmed to three with 1:47 left on a pair of free throws from Ashley Shrawder but the Eagles finally broke through as Jess Winemiller (Dallastown/York) hit a lay-up with 45 seconds left to extend the lead. Shrawder?s three-point attempt with 34 seconds left rattled out and the Eagles held on for the win.

The Eagles led from nearly the opening top as a hoop from Ali Meckey (Bishop Carroll/Ebensburg) gave Juniata the lead with two minutes gone in the contest, and they would not trail the rest of the day. The lead remained in single digits for most of the half, before the Blue and Gold closed the half on an 11-2 run that took them into halftime with an 18-point lead. The Eagles forced 16 first-half turnovers and limited the Crusaders to 39-percent shooting in the first 20 minutes.

Kristen Kirk (Newport/Newport) was also in double figures for Juniata with 14 points, while also passing out a team-best five assists. Meckey added 12 points and a pair of steals for the Eagles.

Mandy Reinhart reached double figures for Alvernia with 11 points. Knarr scored eight points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

Juniata will wrap-up play on Sunday at the NYU Classic with a 12 pm tip-off against Farmingdale State University.


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