(Posted January 3, 2006)

Juniata 66, LaRoche 55

HUNTINGDON, Pa. ? Katie O?Brien (South Western/Hanover) posted her first double-double of the season to help the Juniata College women?s basketball team move its record to .500 with a 66-55 victory over visiting LaRoche College in Memorial Gym Tuesday evening.

Juniata is now 6-6 on the year and with the victory eclipsed its win total from all of the 2004-05 season.

O?Brien scored 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting in the game. Sixteen of her points came in the second half as Juniata took control of the game in the early portion of the second period. She also matched her career high with 12 rebounds.

After the lead exchanged hands several times in the early going, the Eagles used a 9-0 run to take a 10-point advantage with 7:11 remaining in the first half. Kristen Kirk (Newport/Newport) scored all nine points during the run, including one of her two threes. Juniata maintained the lead throughout the rest of the half, but a late LaRoche run capped by a Kari Whiteman triple with three seconds left in the period sent Juniata into the locker room leading by just five.

But the Eagles responded by seizing control of the game in the opening minutes of the second half. An O?Brien offensive put-back on the first possession of the half sparked an 8-1 Juniata run that put the Eagles up by 12 with just over two minutes gone in the half. The lead would stay near double figures the rest of the way, with the visiting Redhawks getting no closer than eight points over the final 17 minutes.

The visitors climbed to within eight after a Ti?la Hardeman basket with 10 minutes remaining. Juniata quickly answered with a pair of Kelly Ashcraft (State College/Bellefonte) free throws and a pair of O?Brien hoops to move back in front by 14 and regain control.

Kirk was also in double figures for the Eagles as she finished with 18 points and a team-best five assists. Juniata pounded the visitors on the glass outrebounding LaRoche 43-26, including a 15-6 edge in offensive rebounding. The Eagles also enjoyed a decisive advantage at the foul line as they went 14-of-19 from the charity stripe while LaRoche attempted just five free throws and made three.

Whiteman led three LaRoche players in double figures with 14 points. Hardeman finished with 12 points, while Megan Snyder scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for a double-double. Marlis Graves led all players with six assists. The Redhawks fell to 1-6 with the loss.

Juniata will be back in action on Saturday as the Eagles host Grove City in their final non-conference game of the year.

LAROCHE (55): Hardeman 6 0-0 12, Tumas 1 0-0 2, Agliori 0 0-0 0, Graves 2 0-0 5, Mergenthaler 2 0-0 5, Whiteman 6 0-0 14, Kitchens 3 1-2 7, Snyder 2 2-3 10. Totals ? 24 3-5 55

JUNIATA (84): Meckey 3 1-1 7, Walsh 0 0-0 0, Kirk 6 4-6 18, O?Brien 10 2-2 22, Snoby 1 2-2 4, Callas 3 0-0 6, Werner 1 0-2 2, Ashcraft 1 3-4 5, Winemiller 0 2-2 2. Totals ? 25 14-19 66.

Halftime: Juniata 31-26. 3-point goals: LaRoche 4 (Whiteman 2, Graves, Mergenthaler); Juniata 2 (Kirk 2). Assists: LaRoche 14 (Graves 6); Juniata 19 (Kirk 5). Rebounds: LaRoche 26 (Snyder 12); Juniata 43 (O?Brien 12).

Records: LaRoche (1-6), Juniata (6-6)


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