(Posted February 12, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College women's basketball put itself in the driver's seat for playoff position on Saturday afternoon, completing a season sweep of the University of Scranton with a 68-67 overtime win over the Lady Royals at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.

Juniata's win left both the Eagles and Scranton tied with 11-2 Landmark Conference records, with Juniata holding the tiebreaker heading into next Saturday's regular season finale against Susquehanna University.

A Juniata win at home over the Crusaders, or a Scranton loss at home to Moravian, would allow the Eagles to seal the top seed for the upcoming Landmark Women's Basketball Tournament.

The Eagles picked up more good news immediately after the game, learning Susquehanna University had knocked off Moravian College, 78-76, in Selinsgrove, Pa. The Moravian loss means Juniata will finish as either the first or second seed for the Landmark tournament, guaranteeing the Eagles a home semi-final game on Wednesday, Feb. 23.

Three Juniata players scored in double figures in the win over Scranton, led by freshman Kate McDonald (Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa./State College Area) with 16 points and 10 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season. Sophomore guard Natalie Glinsky (Indiana, Pa./Indiana) dropped in 14 points including a pair of three-point baskets. Senior forward Jen Hnatuck (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) tallied 11 points.

Hnatuck's free throws with 21.6 seconds left in OT lifted Juniata to the victory, after Scranton had taken a 67-65 lead on a Shernai Bentley jumper at the 1:25 mark. A foul by the Lady Royals' Jennifer King sent Jordan Speck (Huntingdon, Pa./Southern Huntingdon) to the line, but Speck converted on only the second of her two shots to cut the Scranton lead to 67-66.

Scranton's Megan Kopecki then fouled Hnatuck on a layup attempt, putting her on the line for the game-winning free throws.

The Lady Royals had one final chance to win the game, but Colleen McLane turned the ball over under the Juniata basket and the Eagles held on for the win.

Scranton freshman Alison Sweeney scored a season-high 31 points, the most by a freshman in Lady Royal history. Kopecki was the only other Scranton player in double figures, recording 16 points to go with a team-high nine rebounds. Kopecki also dished out six assists.

Juniata shot just 37.5 percent (21-56) from the field for the game, and were outpaced in field goal percentage by Scranton's 44.6 percent (25-56) shooting. The Lady Royals also went 8-of-22 (.364) from three-point range, while the Eagles were just 3-of-18 from long distance.

At the free-throw line, it was a different story. Juniata was 23-of-29 at the charity stripe on Scranton's 22 fouls, while Scranton went to the line a mere 11 times and converted nine of those opportunities.

The Eagles had a slim 37 to 34 advantage on the boards, but Juniata's 15 offensive boards yielded 21 second-chance points. Scranton tallied 10 offensive rebounds leading to just five second-chance points.

Juniata concludes its 2010-11 regular season next Saturday, Feb. 19, at 5:30 p.m. when it hosts Susquehanna University. Eagle seniors Hnatuck and Erin McGinley (Ashland, Pa./Tri-Valley) will be honored in pre-game ceremonies.


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