HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata women's basketball team lost, 78-69, to visiting Susquehanna Saturday afternoon to open Landmark Conference play, Saturday.
Gracie Stauffer (Loysville, Pa. / West Perry) scored the first points of the game on a layup when Averie Hess (Jersey Shore, Pa. / Jersey Shore) found her down low. After Susquehanna turned the ball over, Stauffer scored again, this time on a putback from the left side. A Stauffer foul shot had the Eagles up 5-0 before the River Hawks broke through with a layup with just under seven minutes to go. Madison Colyer (Newville, Pa. / Big Spring) sunk an elbow jumper off a pass from Hess and Larissa Leonard (Three Springs, Pa. / Southern Huntingdon) rattled home a three off a Colyer assist to make it 10-6.
An 11-2 surge from the River Hawks over the next couple minutes made it 17-12. Cassie Mock (Martinsburg, Pa. / Central Martinsburg) split a pair of free throws to pull the Eagles within four, but Susquehanna scored the final four points of the half as they led 21-13 after one.
Susquehanna looked to take control of the game as they started the second quarter on a 12-4 run to go up 33-17 with five minutes to go in the half.
Mock drilled a three and Hess made two free throws to pull the Eagles within 11. Susquehanna converted two foul shots before Mock found Kymiah Carpenter (Baltimore, Md. / Gerstell Academy) for a jumper to make it 37-26. Susquehanna tacked on three more points before the buzzer sounded as the Eagles trailed by 14 at the half.
The River Hawks led by as many as 17 points at one point in the third, but the Eagles kept chipping away at the lead, slowly working their way back into the game.
Cassidy Arnold (York, Pa. / Eastern York HS) got a steal with just under four minutes to go and found Megan Haines (Bloomsburg, Pa. / Bloomsburg) for a three to cut the deficit to 11. Susquehanna responded with a three of their own, Colyer nailed a mid-range jumper off a nice pass from Arnold before the Eagles forced another turnover and she drilled another shot, this one off a pass from Mock. The River Hawks converted two foul shots with 49 seconds to go, Stauffer scored inside off a pass from Leonard, but a three at the buzzer sent Susquehanna into the final quarter up 13, 56-43.
The fourth quarter saw both offenses catch fire as each team shot over 60% from the floor, with the Eagles getting a career-high 10 points from Jamie Mahigel (Lewistown, Pa. / Mifflin County) in three and half minutes, but it wasn't enough as the Eagles couldn't get closer than seven.
Juniata will host Houghton, Tuesday at 7:00.