ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona women's basketball put an end to its brief, two-game skid on Monday night, when the Lady Lions defeated Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Franciscan University in the Adler Arena.
Penn State Altoona (13-10, 11-7 AMCC) came back from an early deficit, then grinded out an eight-point win. The Lady Lions relied on high percentage shots for the bulk of their scoring, driving to the basket to create points. 44 of the home team's points came in the paint, and another 13 came courtesy of foul shots.
Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) led all scorers on the night with 22 points, including a 10-for-14 performance from the field. She also finished with eight rebounds, two steals, and tied for the team-high in assists with four.
Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) earned her team-best 10th double-double of the season, scoring 18 points while pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds, and she also led all players with four blocks.
Sydney Snyder (New Enterprise, PA/Northern Bedford) scored eight points, Kaley Strittmatter (Williamsburg, PA/Penn Cambria) had seven points, and Sarah Huston (Coatesville, PA/Coatesville) provided six points. Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) recorded a team-high three steals to go along with four assists and two blocks.
Franciscan (9-15, 7-12 AMCC) got 19 points from Abby Baierl, 16 points from Angela Starre, and 12 points and 11 rebounds from Estelle Leon.
Franciscan started the game on a strong note, building a 17-13 lead by the end of the first quarter. Leon's layup at 4:17 put the Lady Barons up 11-7, and baskets by Starre and Selena Coronis made it 15-9 by the 1:37 mark. Two foul shots by Leon with 36 seconds left in the period kept the difference at six points, 17-11, before Penn State Altoona got a layup from Christine shortly thereafter to end the scoring in the quarter.
Franciscan surged again offensively early in the second quarter, outscoring Penn State Altoona 16-8 over the first four-plus minutes. Starre's three-pointer at 6:47 boosted the Lady Barons' lead into double digits, 30-20, and Rose Judge's layup at 5:42 made it 33-21, Franciscan's largest lead of the night.
Penn State Altoona whittled away at its deficit over the next several minutes before eventually taking the lead before halftime. Christine's layup and Snyder's bucket and foul shot closed the gap to four points, 34-30, by the 3:20 mark. Two more Christine layups and a Snyder three-pointer put Penn State Altoona on top 38-34, and the Lady Lions went into the intermission with a two-point lead after a Franciscan basket in the period's closing seconds.
Franciscan used the long shot to get back in front early in the third quarter, as three-pointers from Kelsey Scott-Avery and Baierl helped the visitors to a 45-40 advantage three minutes into the quarter. But after Leon's layup put the Lady Barons up 47-46 with 2:06 left in the period, Penn State Altoona reeled off eight straight points on a pair of Cannistraci layups, a Huston basket, and a Chloe Inman (Annville, PA/Annville-Cleona) jump shot to grab a 54-47 lead by the end of the third.
Penn State Altoona managed to preserve its lead during the fourth quarter. Cannistraci converted on a three-point play at 8:27, and Christine followed that with back-to-back layups to make it 61-50. Huston's jump shot at 6:25 kept her team's lead at 11 points, 63-52.
Franciscan got to within six points of tying the game, but they were unable to make up any further ground, as Penn State Altoona went on to win by eight.
The Lady Lions finished the game with leads over Franciscan in points off turnovers (17-12), points in the paint (44-26), and fastbreak points (10-4).
Next, the Penn State Altoona women's basketball team will make the short drive to Cresson, Pa. to face AMCC opponent Mount Aloysius College this Wednesday, February 19 at 8:00 p.m.