PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Penn State Altoona women's basketball suffered an Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference loss on Saturday afternoon, when La Roche College pulled out a 71-60 victory over the Lady Lions at the Kerr Fitness Center.
In a tightly-contested game, La Roche (3-4, 2-0 AMCC) used a strong fourth quarter to open up a double-digit lead and secure the win. Penn State Altoona (2-3, 1-1 AMCC) was able to take away some positives from the loss, however, turning in a competitive performance at La Roche, where the team has struggled over the past several years.
"We played hard today. We tried something new, and I'm proud of the ladies," said Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Wilt. "The score was tight for most of the game. La Roche went on a little run in the fourth, and I think that was the turning point, in addition to them getting some key rebounds. This was a good game for us early in the season, though."
Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) posted her second consecutive 20-point game, leading all scorers on the day with 21 points while tying for the team-high in rebounds with six. Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) added 12 points and tied for the team lead in assists with four, and Kaley Strittmatter (Williamsburg, PA/Penn Cambria) finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and a team-best two steals.
Shaundrea Butler scored a team-high 20 points for La Roche, which also got 16 points from Dasja Anderson, 14 points from Jenna Cole, and 11 points from Danajah Sanders. Dalezsa Regan grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds for the Lady Redhawks.
Penn State Altoona got out to a 14-9 lead by 3:31 of the first quarter. During that span, the Lady Lions got two baskets and two foul shots from Cannistraci, as well as a pair of three-pointers and a layup from Christine. A 9-2 run by La Roche put the home team ahead, but Christine's layup with 21 seconds left in the period tied the score 18-18.
The Lady Lions went back to work and established another lead in the second quarter. Paige Burk's (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) three-pointers and layups from Christine and Cannistraci gave Penn State Altoona a 27-21 advantage by 3:04, and Christine's free throw at 2:47 gave her team its largest lead of the game, 28-21. But La Roche ended the half on an 8-0 run, capped by Butler's go-ahead layup with 14 seconds left.
Early in the third quarter, a pair of Christine layups helped keep the score tied, 36-36. But La Roche used a 10-2 run to grab a 46-38 lead by 3:36. However, Penn State Altoona prevented the Lady Redhawks from expanding their lead, using a Jessica Stevens (Altoona, PA/Altoona) layup and foul shot along with a Chloe Inman (Annville, PA/Annville-Cleona) basket to make it a three-point game, 46-43, with 2:03 left in the quarter. Inman's layup with 31 seconds remaining kept the difference at three points, 50-47.
But La Roche outscored Penn State Altoona 21-13 in the fourth quarter, turning its modest three-point lead into an 11-point win. After Strittmatter's layup kept the difference at three, 52-49, La Roche embarked on a 19-7 run to stake out a 71-56 lead with 3:24 to play. Anderson provided 10 of the Lady Redhawks' 21 points during the team's decisive fourth quarter performance.
Penn State Altoona women's basketball will look to get back in the win column this Wednesday, December 5, when the Lady Lions will host AMCC opponent Pitt-Bradford for a 6:00 p.m. game in the Adler Arena.