SELINSGROVE, Pa.- The Juniata women's basketball team started Landmark Conference play with a win at Susquehanna, 66-58, Saturday afternoon.
The game opened with neither squad scoring in the opening minute and a half before Kaeana Rebert (Hanover, Pa. / South Western) grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to make it 2-0. The teams went back and forth over the next several minutes before the Eagles hit three straight threes to go up 11-6. Rebert nailed one, found Cassie Mock (Martinsburg, Pa. / Central Martinsburg) for the second before Megan Haines (Bloomsburg, Pa. / Bloomsburg) passed it to Larissa Leonard (Three Springs, Pa. / Southern Huntingdon) to cap the run. The River Hawks scored inside to pull within three before Taylor Vrabel (Chambersburg, Pa. / Chambersburg) scored on a put back. Vrabel found Mock for another three which made it 16-8 with a little under two minutes to go. Mock set up Gracie Stauffer (Loysville, Pa. / West Perry) for a layup as Juniata led 18-9 after one.
Vrabel scored the opening six points of the period for Juniata, as her jumper off a pass from Haines made it 24-16 midway through the second period. A River Hawk triple made it 24-19 with three and half minutes left in the half before JC responded with an 8-0 run. Mock drilled a three, Kymiah Carpenter (Baltimore, Md. / Gerstell Academy) converted from behind the line on a pass from Madison Colyer (Newville, Pa. / Big Spring) before Mock scored from the midrange to make it 32-19. Susquehanna quickly followed with a three of their own get back within 10. Stauffer scored inside off a feed from Grace Long (Harrisburg, Pa. / Central Dauphin), Susquehanna scored from downtown again before Vrabel scored in the post to make it 36-25. The River Hawks scored once more to get within single digits as Juniata led 36-27 at halftime.
Vrabel and Mock combined for 21 of the 36 Eagle points in the first half as Mock had 11 points to lead all scorers and Vrabel added 10.
The River Hawks came out strong to start the second, with two free throws pulling them within six at 41-35 with a little under five minutes left. A Haines jumper along with a Stauffer free throw and a layup helped keep the River Hawks at bay. Stauffer scored inside again before Susquehanna closed the third with a three in the dying seconds to make it 48-43 heading into the fourth.
Susquehanna got within three on a pair of free throws 14 seconds into the final period. Colyer scored back-to-back buckets on a put back and a layup to push the Eagle advantage back to seven.
With a little under four minutes to go, Susquehanna got within three again, 54-51. Leonard scored inside after grabbing an offensive rebound and followed with a three to make it 59-51. Juniata cruised the rest of the way to win their conference opener.
Juniata had a 45-29 advantage on the glass and a 17-4 advantage in second chance points. Stauffer had her fourth double double of the year as she piled up 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Juniata will play at York, Wednesday at 6:00.