ERIE, Pa. – Penn State Altoona women's basketball took a 71-68 loss on Saturday at the hands of Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Penn State Behrend in the Junker Center.
Penn State Altoona (12-10, 10-7 AMCC) overcame a double-digit deficit during the second half and grabbed a lead in the fourth quarter. But Behrend (14-9, 10-7 AMCC) worked its way back on top, then held off the Lady Lions to clinch the win.
Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) notched her team-best ninth double-double of the season for Penn State Altoona, tying for the game-high in points with 19 and leading all players in rebounds with 12. She also blocked six shots to tie the Penn State Altoona women's basketball single game record for shot blocks.
Sydney Snyder (New Enterprise, PA/Northern Bedford) added 10 points and four rebounds. Sarah Huston (Coatesville, PA/Coatesville) finished with eight points, and Kaley Strittmatter (Williamsburg, PA/Penn Cambria) and Kassidy Sorichetti (Halifax, PA/Halifax) scored seven points apiece. Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) tied a career-high mark by dishing out nine assists.
Alanna Dibble scored 19 points and secured 10 rebounds to lead Behrend, while Ashley Seamon added 18 points. Kara Haslett chipped in 14 for the home team, and Caitlin Carnuche scored 10 points.
Behrend scored the first three baskets of the game, getting two layups from Dibble and one from Seamon to take a 6-0 advantage just over two minutes into the first quarter. Three more baskets from Seamon and a three-pointer by Haslett gave the home team a 15-4 lead by 5:51. Penn State Altoona battled back to make it a four-point game by the end of the quarter, as baskets late in the period from Chloe Inman (Annville, PA/Annville-Cleona), Huston, and Cannistraci cut the Behrend lead to 18-14.
Penn State Altoona jumped in front briefly early in the second quarter, when buckets from Snyder and Cannistraci put the Lady Lions up 20-19 by the 7:44 mark. But a layup from Dibble and back-to-back three-pointers from Carnuche put Behrend back into the lead, 27-22, just over three minutes later. Behrend maintained its advantage through the rest of the quarter, taking a 40-33 lead into the locker room.
Two more baskets from Seamon early in the third quarter gave the home team a 44-33 lead by 9:09. Penn State Altoona worked to close the gap, however. Cannistraci connected from beyond the arc at 3:23 to cut Behrend's lead to five, and she hit another three-pointer with three seconds left in the quarter to bring her team to within two, 52-50.
The Lady Lions reclaimed the lead early in the fourth quarter, following a jumper by Huston and three-pointer from Snyder that helped Penn State Altoona to a 55-54 advantage at 7:47. Cannistraci's trey at 7:14 made it 58-55. Behrend got back out in front, 62-60, but Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) converted a three-point play at 3:19 to put Penn State Altoona up by one, 63-62.
The back-and-forth play continued, with Behrend taking a 66-63 lead on layups from Dibble and Seamon, then Penn State Altoona responding to tie the score 66-66 on a Snyder three-pointer at 2:02.
But Behrend got free throws from Carnuche and Dibble to establish a 70-66 lead with 55 seconds to go, a lead that the home team would not surrender. Two Huston foul shots at the 43-second mark brought the Lady Lions back to within two, 70-68.
Penn State Altoona had an opportunity to tie or take the lead, inbounding the ball at Behrend's end of the floor with 10 seconds to go. However, a turnover led to Behrend taking possession and Haslett tacking a point on to her team's total via a free throw. Penn State Altoona had one last possession to tie the score, but a last-second three-point attempt was denied, and Behrend held on for the victory.
Penn State Altoona women's basketball has a quick turnaround, as the Lady Lions return to action this Monday, February 17 with an important home game against AMCC opponent Franciscan University at 8:00 p.m.