GREENSBURG, Pa. – On a frigid night at the Chambers Hall Gymnasium, the Penn State Altoona women's basketball team was not cooled off, continuing its recent hot streak with a 57-46 victory over Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Pitt-Greensburg on Wednesday evening.
The Lady Lions (11-8, 9-4 AMCC) have now won eight of their past nine contests, dating back to December 31. Defense underscored Penn State Altoona's win on Wednesday, as the Lady Lions forced 21 turnovers while limiting Pitt-Greensburg (6-14, 5-8 AMCC) to a 27.9% field goal percentage. They also held an 18-8 advantage over the Lady Bobcats in points off turnovers.
"Great win for us tonight," said Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Wilt. "I'm super proud of the effort and heart we are playing with. Our outside shooting was off, but we kept battling and found other ways to score. What I really enjoyed about this game was converting 18 points off of their turnovers."
Kaley Strittmatter (Williamsburg, PA/Penn Cambria) tied the game-high in points, leading Penn State Altoona with 17 points to go along with five rebounds, a pair of assists, and a block. Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) grabbed a career-best 17 rebounds and scored 15 points to record her team-leading 10th double-double of the season. Cannistraci also chipped in three steals, two assists, and two blocks.
"Kay had a big game for us. I'm not just talking about on the offensive end. She was called upon to guard [Nadege] Durand and was able to limit her scoring," said Wilt. "Lex did a great job on the boards. Greensburg keyed on her, but she still found a way to get buckets."
Jessica Stevens (Altoona, PA/Altoona) finished with 10 points and five rebounds, and she tallied a game-high four steals. Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) had nine rebounds, eight points, two steals, one block, and a team-best four assists, and Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) added seven points, three boards, two assists, and two blocks.
Pitt-Greensburg was led in scoring by Cat Gollihugh's 17 points. Maddy Coddington added nine points, and Nadege Durand secured 14 rebounds while scoring eight points.
Penn State Altoona posted a scoring advantage in the game's first three quarters to come out on top by 11 points in the low-scoring affair.
Strittmatter's jumper and two baskets from Christine helped the Lady Lions get out to a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter. Layups from Christine and Burk in the latter stages of the period helped increase Penn State Altoona's lead to 13-9.
Christine started the second quarter with a basket, and Stevens' three-pointer at 5:36 extended Penn State Altoona's lead to 18-13. Cannistraci's three-pointer and two free throws upped the advantage to 25-15, and Strittmatter's layup with 32 seconds before halftime made it 27-17.
A layup and two free throws by Cannistraci, along with another Stevens trey, kept the Lady Lions' lead at 10 points, 34-24, midway through the third quarter. Scores by Strittmatter, Cannistraci, and Burk helped Penn State Altoona to a 42-29 lead by the end of the quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Strittmatter made a layup and hit a three-pointer to keep Penn State Altoona ahead by double digits, 51-40. Burk's score late in the period, along with free throws from Strittmatter and Stevens, helped close the game out on a strong note.
In addition to the advantage in points off turnovers, Penn State Altoona also posted statistical advantages over Pitt-Greensburg in rebounds (47-45), second chance points (12-5), points in the paint (24-10), and fastbreak points (10-4).
Winners of three in a row, the Penn State Altoona women's basketball team will look to extend their winning streak in a Buffalo road trip this weekend that consists of back-to-back games. On Saturday, February 2, the Lady Lions will take on Hilbert College at 1:00 p.m. The next day, Sunday, February 3, the team will face Medaille College at 1:00 p.m.