(Posted December 6, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College women's basketball broke a 10-year hex on conference openers, downing Landmark Conference arch-rival Susquehanna University, 75-59, Saturday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.

The win was Juniata's (4-2, 1-0 Landmark) first in a league opener since the 1999-2000 season, when the Amy Buxbaum-led Eagles knocked off Albright College, 65-58, on December 1, 1999, to begin Middle Atlantic Conference play that season.

Juniata College junior Jen Hnatuck (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) drained 20 points to lead the Eagles to the victory. Sophomore guard Ashton Bankos (York, Pa./York Catholic) added 14 points while dishing out five assists, and senior forward Kelly Rotan (Atco, N.J./Hammonton) chipped in with 11.

The Eagles grabbed a 43-35 lead by the half, mostly behind first half totals of 11 and 10 points by Bankos and Hnatuck.

Juniata then slowly pulled away from Susquehanna (3-3, 0-1 Landmark) over the remainder of the game, with a six-point run to open the second stanza helping push the Eagles' lead to 14 points, 49-35. Hnatuck had a pair of layups in the second-half run, sandwiched around a layup by Bankos.

Susquehanna later pulled to within seven of the Eagles at 51-44, following Rachael Hughes' layup with 12:26 remaining in the frame. However Juniata responded with jumpers by Paige Robertson (Altoona, Pa./Altoona Area) and Alyssia Gordon (Spring Grove, Pa./Spring Grove), along with one of two free-throws by Robertson, to retake a 12-point lead, 56-44, with 9:48 to play.

The Crusaders went nearly four minutes without a basket during that stretch, before another Hughes layup ended the Susquehanna scoring drought.

Juniata's lead reached its widest at 20 points, 73-53, with 2:35 remaining in the game following a Meagan Raville (McSherrystown, Pa./Delone Catholic) three-point basket �¢?" one of Juniata's seven threes in the game.

The Eagles finished 7-of-18 (.389) beyond the arc, and 27-of-59 (.458) from the floor. The Crusaders shot a respectable 42.3% (22-of-52) from the field, but were held to just 4-of-15 (.267) from three-point range.

Guards Jessica Zigarelli and Korey McCaffrey led the Crusaders with 12 points each, while forward Samantha Jansson tallied 10 points. Samantha Cartwright hauled down a team-high seven rebounds for Susquehanna.

Juniata returns to the court on Monday, Dec. 7, at 8:00 p.m. when it hosts Gwynedd Mercy College at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.


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