PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Penn State Altoona women's basketball suffered an 87-72 loss on Saturday evening at Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent La Roche College.
The Lady Lions (5-5, 2-4 AMCC) were hurt by La Roche's big second quarter, during which it outscored Penn State Altoona 31-11.
"Today was tough. La Roche battled us for four quarters. When we let our guard down in the second quarter, La Roche capitalized, putting up 31 points," said Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Shoup. "Our second half effort was stronger and more consistent, which allowed us to outscore them by seven."
Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) tied for the game-high in points with 20 to lead Penn State Altoona, and she also dished out five assists. Shannon Zimmerman (Pine Grove, PA/Pine Grove) finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and four blocks. Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) added 14 points, and Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) scored 11.
"Shannon had a strong game. She was able to spread herself out across several stats," said Shoup. "She went 100 percent from the free throw line, led us in rebounding, and finished with 16 points and four blocks."
La Roche (6-7, 4-2 AMCC) was led by Darrian Johnson's 20-point effort, while Jenna Cole added 19 points and Dalezsa Regan scored 16 points.
In the first quarter, back-to-back layups from Zimmerman put Penn State Altoona in front 6-4 by 7:19. A layup from Christine and jump shot by Cannistraci tied the game 10-10 by the 3:55 mark, and two free throws from Brianna Polites (Elizabethtown, PA/Elizabethtown) knotted the score 12-12 with 11 seconds left in the quarter. La Roche jumped ahead on Jazmyne Boyd's basket with five seconds remaining, taking a 14-12 lead into the second quarter.
The second period proved to be the pivotal quarter in the game, as La Roche turned its two-point lead into a 22-point advantage by halftime. Johnson scored on three consecutive possessions for the Lady Redhawks, making a layup, jumper, and three-pointer to help the home team to a 25-17 lead by 5:42. Later, Johnson added two more buckets and a pair of free throws to put La Roche up 45-23 with 1:05 left in the half.
Penn State Altoona came out of the locker room on a strong note, bouncing back to win the third quarter 27-20. In the early part of the period, two layups from Burk and baskets from Zimmerman and Christine made it 53-32. Within the final two minutes of the quarter, Christine went 4-for-4 from the free throw line and made two layups to cut the La Roche lead to 15 points, 65-50.
In the fourth quarter, Zimmerman's layup at 9:25 kept her team within 15 points, 67-52. But La Roche held its ground the rest of the way, boosting its lead back to as many as 25 points.
"We've got a big game on Wednesday," said Shoup. "We have to fix our chronic issue of turning the ball over before then, as well as being out-rebounded."
Next up, Penn State Altoona women's basketball will host nearby AMCC opponent Mount Aloysius College in the Adler Arena on Wednesday, January 10 at 8:00 p.m.