by Joel Nelson
BRADFORD, Pa. – Penn State Altoona women's basketball lost to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Pitt-Bradford 67-59 on Wednesday night at the KOA Arena.
The Lady Lions (11-11, 7-10 AMCC) had a strong showing at the free throw stripe, going 23-of-27 (85.2%). They struggled elsewhere, however, getting out-rebounded 56-42 and outscored in the paint 44-30. And while it was Valentine's Day, Penn State Altoona could not find love from downtown, going 0-of-12 from three-point range.
"Our effort was there tonight. We got ourselves down by 13 in the first and 12 at the end of the third quarter, but we continued to battle and cut the deficit," said Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Shoup. "Our issue was poor rebounding and carelessness with the ball. I feel, had we done better in these two areas, the outcome would have played out differently."
Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) played all 40 minutes and led the Lady Lions in scoring with 19 points. Shannon Zimmerman (Pine Grove, PA/Pine Grove) collected a team-high 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Off the bench, Brianna Polites (Elizabethtown, PA/Elizabethtown) recorded a season-high 13 points, with the help of an 11-of-12 performance at the free throw line. Ijonana Laster (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara Falls) scored nine points and collected four assists and three rebounds.
"Bri came in off the bench and was an instant contributor," said Shoup. "She attacked the basket hard and was able to get to the line, going 11-for-12."
For Pitt-Bradford (13-10, 10-7 AMCC), Jennifer Isenberg and Ali Rinfrette boosted the Lady Panthers to victory, both notching double-doubles. Isenberg finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds, as Rinfrette recorded 16 points to surpass the 2,000-point mark for her career and adding 12 rebounds.
"We did a nice defensive job holding Ali Rinfrette to five in the first half and 16 for the game. She's been a force to be reckoned with since she entered Pitt-Bradford," said Shoup. "Congratulations go out to Ali for scoring her 2,000th point this evening."
Every member of the Lady Panthers' starting five recorded two or more steals. Etreece Adams recorded seven rebounds, four blocks, and two steals in the win.
Pitt-Bradford got out to a 13-0 start through the first 5:08 of the game and held an 18-12 advantage at the conclusion of the first quarter.
The Lady Lions had a strong second quarter and finished on a 13-4 run, as they trailed 28-27 at the half. Pitt-Bradford took control in the third quarter, outscoring Penn State Altoona 24-13 to take a 52-40 lead.
The Lady Lions outscored Pitt-Bradford 19-15 in the final quarter and cut the Lady Panthers' lead to five multiple times, but they could not seal the deal. Christine scored 11 points in the final period for Penn State Altoona, but the Lady Panthers hung on for the 67-59 victory.
Penn State Altoona will finish off the season at home against Penn State Behrend at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 17, when a pregame ceremony will be held for the Lady Lion seniors.