(Posted November 17, 2006)

Juniata 57, McDaniel 53 YORK, Pa. - The Juniata College women\'s basketball team had three players score in double figures, and earned two key defensive plays late in the game to hold off McDaniel College 57-53 in the opening round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in York Friday evening. Juniata will take on SUNY-New Paltz in the Championship Game on Saturday. Sophomore Claudia McDowell (Juniata Valley/Alexandria) scored 19 points in her Juniata College debut, while Jess Winemiller (Dallastown/York) and Kelly Ashcraft (State College/Bellefonte) added 14 and 10 respectively as the Eagles survived a second-half McDaniel comeback. The Eagles trailed on only a few occasions in the game but after leading by as many as eight points in the second half, found themselves tied at 51 after a layup by Amy Watson with 3:57 remaining in the game. It was the 10th tie of the contest, but the Eagles moved back in front on a pair of free throws from Winemiller. The teams would trade free throws down the stretch until McDaniel had the ball trailing by one with 36 seconds remaining but Jill Walsh (Johnstown/Ferndale) came away with a steal to give Juniata possession. After McDowell knocked down two free throws to extend the lead to three Juniata\'s Ali Meckey (Bishop Carroll/Ebensburg) blocked a three-point attempt from Katy Powell and Juniata eventually got the rebound. McDowell hit another free throw with eight seconds left to seal the win. Juniata was 18-26 from the foul line in the game though the Eagles were outscored 23-18 at the charity stripe. The teams passed the lead back-and-forth in the first half, with neither squad taking more than a five-point advantage. Juniata twice held five-point leads, but went into the locker room leading by just two points. Juniata shot 35 percent from the floor in the game and has 12 assists on 18 made field goals. Along with her 19 points, McDowell dished out a team-high six assists for the Eagles. Freshman Kelly Rotan (Hammonton/Acton, N.J.) grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for the Blue and Gold. Meckey produced a pair of blocks and three steals defensively for Juniata. Heather Thompson scored 15 points to lead the McDaniel attack, while Powell added 14. Thompson and Amy Watson each had four rebounds on the night, and Courtney Gogolinski paced the team with a pair of assists. The tournament championship game will be played at 3 p.m. on Saturday. ###

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