ERIE, Pa. – Penn State Altoona women's basketball nearly overcame a late-game deficit to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Penn State Behrend on Saturday night, but the Lady Lions' rally fell short in a 77-75 loss at the Junker Center.
Penn State Altoona (2-5, 1-3 AMCC) trailed by nine points with 1:55 remaining in Saturday's contest before the Lady Lions used a 7-2 run to close the gap to two. But on their final possession, Penn State Altoona came up scoreless, and Behrend escaped with the win.
Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) had another big game for Penn State Altoona, scoring a career-high 30 points while grabbing six rebounds, recording four steals, and dishing out three assists. Her total of 30 points ties for the second-most in a single game in Penn State Altoona women's basketball history, just one point behind the record of 31 points, which was achieved by former Lady Lion Moira Corrigan on February 24, 2015 against Medaille College.
Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) scored 16 points for the Lady Lions while grabbing seven rebounds, and Jessica Stevens (Altoona, PA/Altoona) scored 11 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) scored eight points and added seven rebounds and two assists, and Kaley Strittmatter (Williamsburg, PA/Penn Cambria) also had eight points while chipping in three rebounds and three assists.
Behrend (2-6, 1-3 AMCC) was led in scoring by Kara Haslett, who scored 17 points. Caitlin Carnuche and Nicole Boyer added 11 points apiece.
Penn State Altoona took an early lead to start the game, before Behrend came back and held a one-point advantage by the end of the first quarter. Two baskets from Christine, a layup by Cannistraci, and a three-pointer from Burk helped the Lady Lions get out to a 9-2 lead by 7:06. But Behrend responded with an 8-0 run, capped by Carnuche's three-pointer at 4:45 that gave the home team a 10-9 lead. Behrend found itself up 22-21 by the conclusion of a back-and-forth opening period.
The Lady Lions continued to keep things close in the second quarter. Burk's layup at 9:39 started the scoring in the period and gave Penn State Altoona a 23-22 lead. Later, Stevens' three-point play at 4:57 put her team up 29-28. But Behrend went on a 10-0 run, taking a 38-29 lead by the 1:38 mark. A jumper from Strittmatter and free throws from Stevens and Christine helped Penn State Altoona get back to within five points, 40-35, by the end of the half.
Penn State Altoona won the third quarter by an 18-16 margin to pull to within three points of Behrend's lead. Strittmatter's jumper and Christine's trey tied the score 40-40 by 8:50, and another Strittmatter bucket at 4:53 kept things tied, 47-47. A pair of foul shots by Burk set the score at 51-51 at 2:13. Over the last 1:58 of the quarter, Behrend got a three-pointer from Boyer and a layup by Ashley Seamon, who Penn State Altoona got two points on Christine's free throws.
The Lady Lions maneuvered into the lead midway through the fourth quarter. Christine's layup at 6:37 gave Penn State Altoona a 61-60 advantage, and Cannistraci's basket a minute later kept her team up by one, 63-62.
After Stevens' layup at 4:18 tied the score 66-66, Behrend used another run to grab a significant lead. The home team embarked on a 9-0 run, capped by a pair of Haslett free throws that put her team up 75-66 with 1:55 to play.
Penn State Altoona made one last push and nearly tied the game on its final possession. Two Cannistraci free throws and a Strittmatter layup made it a five-point game, 75-70, by 1:31. Two foul shots from Stevens and a three-pointer by Cannistraci cut Behrend's lead to 77-75 with 46 seconds remaining. The Lady Lions' defense held Behrend scoreless on its next possession, and Penn State Altoona took over the ball with 12 seconds on the clock. However, following a timeout, the Lady Lions were unable to come up with the potential game-tying basket as time expired.
Penn State Altoona women's basketball returns home for its next game, as the Lady Lions will host AMCC opponent Medaille College in the Adler Arena on Sunday, December 16 at 2:00 p.m.