Lady Lions Defeat D’Youville 90-67

Photo (by Raychel DeArmitt): Freshman Alexis Cannistraci pulls up for a jumper in front of two D'Youville defenders during the Lady Lions' win in the Adler Arena on Saturday.
Photo (by Raychel DeArmitt): Freshman Alexis Cannistraci pulls up for a jumper in front of two D'Youville defenders during the Lady Lions' win in the Adler Arena on Saturday.

by Joel Nelson

ALTOONA, Pa. – The Penn State Altoona women's basketball team defeated Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent D'Youville College 90-67 on Saturday afternoon in Adler Arena.

Penn State Altoona (10-9, 6-8 AMCC) had a solid team contribution, which saw six of their eight players score in double-digits. The team also added ten steals and seven blocked shots.

"Tonight was a great win for us in Adler Arena. We had six ladies finish in double figures, which is impressive," said Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Shoup. "D'Youville challenged us greatly in the first half. They out-rebounded us, especially on the offensive boards. However, a strong defensive second half – especially the third quarter – helped build a nice cushion for us."

Shannon Zimmerman (Pine Grove, PA/Pine Grove) had a solid first half with two blocks, while going 3-of-6 from the field and sinking five free throws to accumulate 11 points. Zimmerman finished the game with a team-high 17 points, matching her season-high total.

Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) finished the day with 13 points, and she also led team with five steals and five assists. Christine has now scored in double-digits in every game since the team's December 9 matchup with Medaille College, a span of 13 games.

Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) finished with 12 points and eight rebounds while posting four assists, two blocks, and two steals. She's now recorded double digits in ten of her past 14 games. Kaley Strittmatter (Williamsburg, PA/Penn Cambria) has now recorded a double digit scoring total in six of her last seven contests after dropping 11 points today.

Penn State Altoona also had major contributions off the bench from Tierney Fernandes (Martinsburg, PA/Central), Ijonana Laster (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara Falls), and Brianna Polites (Elizabethtown, PA/Elizabethtown).

Fernandes followed up her 14-point breakout game against Franciscan on Wednesday with 12 points this afternoon on 4-of-6 shooting. Laster has now reached double digits in four of her five most recent contests, posting 15 points today. Polites got five points and recorded two blocked shots.

"We got a great show from Ijonana, who shot 50% from three-point range and 41% overall from the field. Defensively, she created chaos for us," said Shoup. "Shannon played an impressive game, as well. She was all over the place for us. Her leadership and presence on the floor shined brightly."

Sara Field had a solid first half for D'Youville (5-16, 4-10 AMCC) and had the Lady Lions trying their hardest to defend her. Field finished with 13 first half points on 5-of-8 shooting and a perfect 3-of-3 from the charity stripe. Field got into foul trouble in the second half and finished the game with 14 points. Field's teammate Monica June scored 15 points and was one of seven Lady Spartans to get a steal.

Cannistraci and Zimmerman hit field goals with under 1:15 left in the first quarter to power Penn State Altoona to a 28-23 lead at the end of the first period of play.

The Lady Lions sprung out to a 6-0 run to begin the second quarter, taking a 34-23 lead with 7:53 left in the period. Christine hit the first field goal, and Strittmatter made the next two. Penn State Altoona held a 49-37 lead going into halftime.

Shoup's squad notched their first 20-point lead of the day when Laster hit a free throw with 3:41 left in the third quarter to make it 64-44. Penn State Altoona led 70-49 at the conclusion of the third period.

The Lady Lions grew their lead to as many as 27 points three different times in the fourth quarter. A combined 62-44 scoring advantage in the second, third, and fourth quarters boosted Penn State Altoona to the 90-67 victory. The Lady Lions swept D'Youville in the season series, recording exactly 90 points in each contest to total 180 points, while holding the Lady Spartans to 121 points in the two games.

The Lady Lions will make a short drive to Cresson, Pa. on Wednesday, February 7 to take on AMCC rival Mount Aloysius College at 7:00 p.m. before returning to Adler Arena on Saturday, February 10 to take on AMCC foe La Roche College.