(Posted January 30, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - A smothering defense from visiting Messiah College was too much for the Juniata College women\'s basketball team to overcome as the Eagles suffered a 63-32 loss in Commonwealth Conference play Tuesday night in Huntingdon. Juniata (12-8, 3-6 Commonwealth) was limited to just 25.5-percent shooting from the field and third-ranked Messiah\'s defense forced Juniata into 31 turnovers, 16 of which came in the second half as the visitors blew the game open. Kelly Ashcraft (State College/Bellefonte) scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Eagles. The Eagles started strong themselves on the defense with Juniata holding a 8-4 edge with nearly 10 minutes gone in the first half. Messiah (19-1, 9-0 Commonwealth) got rolling eventually as a Lauren Schurr three sparked a 9-0 Falcons\' run that put the visitors in front 15-8 with 7:52 remaining in the half. Messiah eventually took a nine-point edge into the locker room. Juniata shot 18 percent from the field in the first half, but stayed in the game by getting on the offensive glass. The Eagles had 13 offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes and finished 17 in the game. The Eagles briefly pulled within single digits on a hoop from Ashcraft in the opening minute of the second half. From there the Falcons put together an 11-2 run that left the lead at 16 with 14:25 remaining in the game. Juniata got no closer than 14 the rest of the way as Messiah tossed in 41 points in the second half on 57 percent shooting to put the game away. Nikki Lobach led three Falcons in double figures with a game-high 16 points. Ashcraft finished 4-for-9 from the field for Juniata, narrowly missing her 12th double-digit scoring effort of the season. Jess Winemiller (Dallastown/York) chipped in with seven points for the Eagles, while Mindy Werner (West York/York) passed out a pair of assists. Amy Reed and Sarah Ringer were both also in double figures for Messiah with 12 and 11 points respectively. Gwen Avery pulled in eight rebounds to pace Messiah, while Schurr and Reed both finished with a team-high three assists. Juniata will try and get back into the conference win column on Saturday as the Eagles hit the road to face Commonwealth foe Widener University. ###

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