(Posted November 30, 2005)

Susquehanna 61, Juniata 55 (OT

Huntingdon, Pa. ? The Juniata College women?s basketball team got a spirited comeback and a buzzer beater to force overtime, but was then unable to secure the victory as the Eagles suffered a 61-55 set-back to Susquehanna University in the Commonwealth Conference opener for both teams Wednesday night. The Eagles dropped to 3-3 on the year while the Crusaders stayed unbeaten with a 4-0 mark.

Trailing by five with nine seconds left, Kristen Kirk (Newport/Newport) was fouled on a three-point attempt and nailed all three free throws to cut the lead to two. After the Crusaders missed the front end of a one-and-one, Jess Winemiller (Dallastown/York) drove the right side and dropped in a game-tying lay-up at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

But the Crusaders controlled the extra session scoring the first six points to take a 57-51 lead. A basket from Katie O?Brien (South Western/Hanover) and another Winemiller bucket cut the lead to two, with 35 seconds left, but Jen Clark and Crystal Schneck each sank a pair of free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Winemiller finished with a team-high 18 points for Juniata while also passing out a team-high four assists.

Juniata rallied from an early eight-point Susquehanna lead to pull in front by as many as 10 points in the first 20 minutes. The Eagles rode the hot shooting of Ali Meckey (Bishop Carroll/Ebensburg) as she drilled all five of her three-point attempts in the first stanza to stake Juniata to its lead.

The Crusaders came back to tie early in the second half, and then used an 11-2 run, highlighted by a pair of baskets from Bri McNallen and Val Houseal, to claim a 45-37 edge. The Eagles then turned up the defense and used a Winemiller three to spark a 7-0 run to pull back within a point with just over three minutes remaining. McNallen answered with another pair of baskets to push the lead to five and set-up Juniata?s final-minute comeback.

Meckey finished with 15 for Juniata, while O?Brien had 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

McNallen led all players with 22 points in the game on 11-of-14 shooting from the field. Clark recorded a ?double-double? with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Schneck was tops in the game with six assists.

Juniata returns to action on Saturday when they host Commonwealth Conference foe Moravian.

SUSQUEHANNA (61): Schneck 2 2-3 7, Kalejta 3 0-1 6, McNallen 11 0-1 22, Clark 5 3-6 13, Thibeault 2 0-0 4, Henderson 0 0-0 0, Houseal 3 2-2 9, Williamson 0 0-0 0. Totals ? 26 7-13 61.

JUNIATA (55): Meckey 5 0-0 15, Walsh 0 0-0 0, Kirk 0 3-3 3, Winemiller 7 3-4 18, O?Brien 6 1-2 13, Callas 0 0-0 0, Piccolini 0 0-0 0, Werner 0 1-2 1, Ashcraft 1 0-0 2, Snoby 1 1-2 3. Totals ? 20 9-13 55.

Halftime: Juniata 29-25. 3-point goals: Juniata 6 (Meckey 5, Winemiller); Susquehanna 2 (Schneck, Houseal). Assists: Juniata 16 (Winemiller 4); Susquehanna 20 (Schneck 6). Rebounds: Juniata 38 (O?Brien 8) Susquehanna 40 (Clark 10).

Records: Juniata (3-3); Susquehanna (4-0).


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