ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona women's basketball executed well in all facets of Saturday's game, posting an 87-49 victory over Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Alfred State College in the Adler Auxiliary Gym.
On offense, five different Penn State Altoona (4-3, 2-1 AMCC) players finished in double figures, and the team committed just 11 turnovers, its second-lowest turnover total of the season. Defensively, the Lady Lions forced 21 turnovers, totaled 13 steals, and limited Alfred State (2-4, 0-2 AMCC) to a 26.1 percent field goal percentage.
"I'm proud of this group. We came out and played aggressive defense for 40 minutes," said Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Wilt. "Alfred State runs a very active offensive set, which got a few of our ladies in foul trouble earlier. We stayed positive and got great minutes from our bench."
Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) had a big performance for the Lady Lions, recording her team-best fourth double-double of the season. Cannistraci grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds – 16 of which came in the first half – to finish just one rebound shy of tying the Penn State Altoona women's basketball single game rebounds record. She also scored 15 points and led all players in the game in steals and blocks, recording four steals and three blocks.
"Lex played a fantastic game," said Wilt. "She was all over the boards. When we hit her on the inside, it opened up backdoor options, which we executed nicely."
Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) led all scorers in the game with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Sarah Huston (Coatesville, PA/Coatesville) scored 13 points while adding two assists and two steals, Sydney Snyder (New Enterprise, PA/Northern Bedford) finished with 11 points, a team-high four assists, and two steals, and Kaley Strittmatter (Williamsburg, PA/Penn Cambria) posted 10 points and seven rebounds.
Alfred State was led in scoring by Rayanna Anderson, who finished with 16 points. Kelsey Shaulis added eight points, and Emily Kelley scored seven.
Penn State Altoona posted scoring advantages over Alfred State in points off turnovers (25-3), points in the paint (46-16), second chance points (23-9), fastbreak points (23-4), and bench points (28-9).
"I loved that we scored 46 points in the paint," Wilt stated. "We need to continue this style of play."
After a tight first quarter that saw Penn State Altoona stake out a 19-15 lead by the period's end, the Lady Lions broke the game open by outscoring Alfred State 24-7 during the second quarter. Cannistraci scored 13 of her 15 points during that period, including a three-pointer at 2:28 that extended Penn State Altoona's lead to 38-22. Huston's trey with 16 seconds remaining in the half increased the Lady Lions' advantage to 43-22.
Penn State Altoona outscored Alfred State 20-14 in the third quarter, getting seven points from Christine and six points from Strittmatter. Alyssa Hibbs' (Richfield, PA/East Juniata) layup with 51 seconds left in the quarter gave the Lady Lions 60 points in the game, and Snyder's basket just before the end of the period put Penn State Altoona's lead at 63-36.
The Lady Lions proceeded to outscore Alfred State 24-13 during the fourth quarter, eventually leading by 40 points, as Strittmatter's layup with 31 seconds left in the game put her team up 87-47.
Next, Penn State Altoona women's basketball will host nearby AMCC rival Mount Aloysius College on Wednesday, December 11 at 8:00 p.m.
"We have a tough game coming up Wednesday," said Wilt. "We will need to replicate our strong defense in order to get another win."