SELINSGROVE, Pa., Despite leading 28-23 at the half, the Juniata College women's basketball team was unable to finish the Crusaders, falling 67-51 at Susquehanna Wednesday night.Though it was a 16 point loss, the score does not tell how close of a game it was. Susquehanna has only lost one game against a Landmark opponent all season. The Eagles are now 2-4 against conference rivals.
Senior Kelsey Livoti (Altoona, PA / Bishop Guilfoyle) led all Juniata scorers with 18 points. Her co-captain Maria Photiades (Abottstown, PA / Delone Catholic HS) scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Katy Leamer (Bellwood, PA / Bellwood Antis) finished with 13 points and six rebounds.
Susquehanna scored the game's first points and took an early 5-0 advantage. Livoti put Juniata on the board with a layup. Six minutes into play, Leamer added a free throw and followed it with a three pointer to make it a one-point game. Less than a minute later Livoti gave the Blue and Gold a 9-8 lead with a trey of her own. Later, Photiades and Leamer each drained another three and Livoti followed with a layup to give the Eagles a nine-point lead, the team's largest of the night, at 26-17.
The Eagles had a strong first half, but a run by the Crusaders in the second turned the tides. Susquehanna took over with an 11-0 run to build a 13-point lead at 49-36 with just over eight minutes left in regulation. The Eagles cut the lead down to five at 50-45 with four minutes 30 seconds left to play. Juniata was unable to complete the comeback as the Crusaders pulled away late to seal the victory. The Blue and Gold were again hurt by turnovers and inconsistent play. This is a talented Eagles squad. If they can maintain possession and play well together for a full 40 minutes, this is a team that can do some damage in the standings down the stretch.
Juniata is now 4-11, 2-4 on the season. The Eagles will look to stay in postseason contention when they take on conference rival Merchant Marine at home in Landmark action on Saturday. Tip-off from Memorial Gymnasium is set for 2 p.m. with the men's team following at 4 to complete the doubleheader.
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