Huntingdon, Pa., The Juniata College women's basketball nearly erased a 19 point Wilkes lead at the half, but could not overcome the early deficit as they fell to the Colonels 79-58 in Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday night. Natalie Hager (Franklin, PA / Franklin) had a career night for the Eagles and was a major catalyst for Juniata down the stretch.
Hager just missed a triple-double, leading the team with 18 rebounds, 14 points, and seven steals. The junior also had three blocks and three assists on the night. Maria Photiades (Abottsown, PA / Delone Catholic HS) and Kelsey Livoti (Altoona, PA / Bishop Guilfoyle) reached double-digits as well, each finishing with 12 points.
The Eagles got off to a rough start in the first half. Juniata could not get things going on offense and had difficulty controlling the ball. The Eagles shot just 15.6% from the floor and did not get on the board until six minutes into the game.
Despite trailing by 19 points at the half, the Eagles came out firing on all cylinders after the break. In the last 20 minutes of the game, Juniata shot 46.2% from the floor and played like a completely different team in the second half. The Eagles refused to roll over, making their first three shots out of the gate and cutting the Colonels lead down to eight late in the game.
However it wasn't enough, as Juniata could not put Wilkes away. The Eagles turned the ball over several times in big situations late and could not complete the comeback. Ball control has been an issue for the Blue and Gold all season. Both teams finished the game with 22 turnovers, but Wilkes was able to capitalize and score 22 points off of Eagles errors.
Juniata is now 1-7, 0-2 on the season. The Eagles will continue their season on Saturday December 20th when they host the Griffins of Gwynedd-Mercy. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 pm.