by Joel Nelson
ALTOONA, Pa. - In its second home game of the 2017-18 season, the Penn State Altoona women's basketball team fell 86-74 to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Medaille College on Saturday in the Adler Arena.
Penn State Altoona (3-4, 1-3 AMCC) had a strong showing from the free throw stripe in a game that featured plenty of fouls, going 30-for-39 from the line, but the Lady Lions struggled on the boards.
"We started out strong against Medaille, using good ball movement, attacking the inside, and also utilizing a kick out. However, Medaille picked it up on the offensive rebounding, and that hurt us," said Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Shoup. "We needed to capitalize on boxing out some rebounds, and we were a little short tonight. Good thing this is an area that is fixable, because we've got to work on it."
The Lady Lions' leading scorer was Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone), who scored 24 points by hitting seven field goals and 10 free throws. She also blocked two shots, recorded a team-high four assists, and collected six boards.
Penn State Altoona also got double-digit efforts from Alexis Stitt (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) with 13 points, as well as Megan Wheeler (Lilly, PA/Penn Cambria) and Brianna Polites (Elizabethtown, PA/Elizabethtown), who recorded 10 points each. Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
"We had players do some really great things. Bri Polites is running the transition lane, as she got some nice buckets in the fast break. Paige Burk is crashing the boards and picking up a good number for us, and Fin has been able to drop it in the hoop," said Shoup. "Megan did a nice job of being physical on the inside and hitting some crucial shots when we needed her. One of the best things that we did during the course of the game was getting to the free throw line 39 times."
Dominant offensive efforts from Morgan Kennedy and Dani Reinwald led the way for Medaille (5-4, 2-1 AMCC). Kennedy finished with 24 points and 17 rebounds, with 11 rebounds coming from the offensive end. Reinwald finished with 22 points and collected 18 boards, and she also recorded nine steals and seven blocks.
Christine opened the scoring with two field goals to give Penn State Altoona a 4-0 lead by 8:16 of the first quarter, but that was its largest lead of the night, and the Lady Lions did not lead after 2:12 to go in the first quarter.
Medaille led 34-23 with six minutes to go in the second quarter before Penn State Altoona notched a 7-0 run with two free throws and a layup from Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone), a couple free throws from Shannon Zimmerman (Pine Grove, PA/Pine Grove), and a Stitt foul shot with 3:19 left in the second quarter. Medaille stopped that momentum with layups by Kennedy and Reinwald to lead by eight with 2:25 to go in the second quarter.
A Brigid Taylor three-pointer for Medaille closed the scoring in the second quarter with five seconds to go, and the Lady Mavericks entered halftime holding a 43-33 lead.
An Amanda Arnold layup with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter put the Lady Mavericks up by 20 -- their largest lead of the game -- by a score of 60-40.
Medaille outscored Penn State Altoona in the first three quarters (24-19, 19-14, 21-17) before the Lady Lions outscored the Lady Mavericks 24-22 in the fourth quarter. Medaille out-rebounded Penn State Altoona 62-39, with 33 of the Lady Mavericks' rebounds coming on the offensive end. That led to a 28-9 advantage in second chance points for the visitors.
"Overall, I thought our effort in the second half was much more consistent than in the first," said Shoup. "We played hard, but came up a little short."
Next up, the Lady Lions take on non-conference opponent Shenandoah University on Saturday, December 16 at 4:00 p.m in the Adler Arena before returning in 2018 after winter break to take on AMCC opponent Pitt-Bradford on Wednesday, January 3 at 7:00 p.m., also in Adler Arena.