Women's Basketball Drops AMCC Opener 64-50 at Pitt-Greensburg

Photo: Penn State Altoona senior forward Megan Wheeler led the Lady Lions with 12 points in Wednesday night's game at Pitt-Greensburg.
Photo: Penn State Altoona senior forward Megan Wheeler led the Lady Lions with 12 points in Wednesday night's game at Pitt-Greensburg.

GREENSBURG, Pa. - In its first Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference game of the season on Wednesday night, the Penn State Altoona women's basketball team suffered a 64-50 loss to Pitt-Greensburg at Chambers Hall.

The Lady Lions (2-2, 0-1 AMCC) were unable to find consistency on offense and struggled on the boards.

"Greensburg outplayed us. We had moments where things went well, but overall, we fell short. It's tough to win games when we stray from our system -- being out-rebounded by 20 and shooting poorly from the free throw line," stated Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Shoup. "Offensively, we struggled to put the ball through the hoop. Unfortunately, we're going to have those days. We have work to do so that, moving forward, we don't get knocked out of sorts so easily."

Megan Wheeler (Lilly, PA/Penn Cambria) led Penn State Altoona in scoring with 12 points. Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) added eight points and three assists to go along with a team-high six rebounds, and Alexis Stitt (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) scored eight points while finishing with five boards and a team-best four assists. Christine and Stitt also combined to go 11-for-13 from the free throw line, but the rest of the team shot 5-for-13.

"Alexis shot well for us from the line, as did Fin," said Shoup. "Both shot over 80 percent."

Kelsey Oddis led Pitt-Greensburg (1-3, 1-0 AMCC) and all players on the night with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Nadege Durand also had a double-double for the Lady Bobcats, finishing with 16 points and 15 boards. Sabre Turner chipped in 10 points.

Penn State Altoona established a lead by the end of the first quarter. Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) opened the scoring with a layup, and Christine made two free throws to give the Lady Lions a 4-2 lead by the 8:55 mark. Back-to-back scores from Wheeler made it 8-4 at 6:23. Down by two points late in the period, Stitt connected from three-point range with 15 seconds left to put Penn State Altoona back on top, 14-13.

In the second quarter, Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) started things off on the right foot for Penn State Altoona when she hit a three-pointer at 9:46 to put her team up by four, 17-13.

But the Lady Lions' offense cooled, and Pitt-Greensburg took advantage of the opportunity. Oddis' jumper preceded two layups from Durand that put the home team up 19-17, and Oddis hit from three-point range at the 8-minute mark to give her squad a 22-17 advantage. Oddis' basket at 6:04 made it 26-18, and the Lady Bobcats eventually went into halftime with a 28-22 lead.

Penn State Altoona made a push in the third quarter, briefly overtaking Pitt-Greensburg's lead. After scores by Turner and Colleen Murphy helped the home team to a 35-25 lead at 7:50, the Lady Lions erased their deficit with an 11-0 run. Wheeler's layup and a three-point play from Christine sparked the rally, and Shannon Zimmerman (Pine Grove, PA/Pine Grove) followed with a layup of her own. Jump shots from Zimmerman and Wheeler put Penn State Altoona up 36-35 at 4:45.

But Pitt-Greensburg ended the period on a 10-2 run, capped by Andi McGinnis' bucket with 31 seconds left that put her team up 45-38.

Brianna Polites (Elizabethtown, PA/Elizabethtown) started the fourth quarter scoring with a layup for Penn State Altoona to cut her team's deficit to five, 45-40. Christine's foul shot at 8:27 kept the difference at six points, 47-41. But the Lady Lions got no closer, as Pitt-Greensburg reestablished its double-digit lead.

For their next game, the Lady Lions hit the road again to face AMCC opponent Hilbert College this Saturday, December 2 at 3:00 p.m.