(Posted February 13, 2010)

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Juniata College freshman Alyssia Gordon's (Spring Grove, Pa./Spring Grove) 3-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation carried the Eagle women's basketball team into overtime against the University of Scranton, where the host Royals managed to squeak out a 77-72 win over Juniata on Saturday afternoon at the Long Center.

Scranton (20-3, 11-1 Landmark) held a 70-65 lead over Juniata with slightly under a minute-and-a-half remaining in the second half, after the Royals' Molly Klusek converted the second of two free throws.

Klusek fouled Juniata's Jen Hnatuck (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) about 17 seconds later, and Hnatuck pulled the Eagles to within three by making both shots at the charity stripe.

Juniata (14-10, 8-5 Landmark) missed on a pair of game-tying 3-point attempts by Paige Robertson (Altoona, Pa./Altoona) and Jordan Speck (Huntingdon, Pa./Southern Huntingdon), but a turnover by Scranton's Megan Kopecki and an offensive rebound by Gordon allowed Juniata to regain possession.

It was Gordon's offensive board with 12 seconds showing on the clock that led to the game-tying bucket, and she eventually drained the trey to knot the game at 70-70.

Ryan Mooney's layup attempt as time expired did not fall, sending the Eagles and Royals into overtime.

Juniata was just 1-of-7 from the field in the extra session, with Ashton Bankos' (York, Pa./York Catholic) jumper with 3:04 remaining in OT providing the Eagles' only offense. Scranton also struggled to find its shot during the overtime frame, hitting just two of its six attempts. However one of the Royals' field goals was a 3-pointer by Mooney, and Kopecki drained a pair of free throws with two seconds on the clock as Juniata resorted to fouling in an unsuccessful effort to catch Scranton.

The Eagles led a good share of the first half, holding a 16-8 lead at the 14:08 mark of the opening frame after back-to-back treys by Robertson. Juniata traded the lead twice with Scranton, before regaining a six-point advantage, 30-24, with 4:51 showing in the half following layups by Natalie Glinsky (Indiana, Pa./Indiana) and Erin McGinley (Ashland, Pa./Tri-Valley).

A 12-2 run by the Royals toward the end of the half gave Scranton the advantage, and Juniata trailed 36-34 at the intermission.

Scranton grabbed a nine-point advantage, 55-46, by the halfway mark of the second half, when Juniata made its move with an 11-0 run fueled by a pair of Kelly Rotan (Atco, N.J./Hammonton) 3-pointers. That left the Eagles holding a slim 57-55 lead with 7:13 remaining in the game.

The Royals answered with a Jennifer King trey to retake a 58-57 lead, and Scranton led the rest of the half until Gordon's game-tying 3-pointer to force OT.

Rotan led the Eagles with 13 points and nine rebounds, and added three assists, two blocks, and three steals. She was one of four Juniata players to score in double-figures; Speck and Hnatuck each finished with 11 points, while Robertson chipped in with 10.

Speck and Rotan each connected on three 3-pointers, part of Juniata's 9-of-37 mark from three-point range against the Royals. The 37 three-point field goal attempts set a new Juniata record, eclipsing the old mark of 27 set in 1999 against Washington & Jefferson College.

Kopecki did most of Scranton's offensive damage, going 9-of-18 from the field and 9-of-9 at the line to finish with a game-high 29 points. Mooney tallied 16 points, while King had 11 points to her credit.

Juniata closes out its 2009-10 regular season next Saturday, Feb. 20, at Susquehanna University. The Eagles have clinched a berth in the Landmark Conference Women's Basketball Tournament, but whether Juniata heads into the tourney as the third or fourth seed may hinge on the outcome of next Saturday's matchup with the Crusaders.


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