PITTSBURGH – Penn State Altoona women's basketball suffered a 90-68 loss to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent La Roche University on Tuesday night in the Kerr Sport & Fitness Center in the teams' first conference matchup of the season.
Penn State Altoona (2-3, 0-1 AMCC) kept pace with La Roche for much of the night, but the Lady Lions were unable to overcome a second quarter during which the Lady Redhawks (1-3, 1-0 AMCC) posted a 22-7 scoring advantage.
"The second quarter got the best of us. We got stuck on 18 points for over half the quarter, and with a team as athletic and skilled as La Roche, that can't happen," said Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Wilt. "La Roche also shot the ball really well. We need to clean up some things so we're ready for Pitt-Greensburg."
Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) recorded her second double-double of the season and led all players in points and rebounds, tying her career-high with 28 points while pulling down 13 boards. She also tied the team-high in steals with four while adding two blocks and two assists. Sydney Snyder (New Enterprise, PA/Northern Bedford) contributed 13 points and three steals for the Lady Lions.
"Lex had a really nice game. She finished with a double-double, but her contributions were far more than just in points and rebounds. She did a nice job defensively. We knew their bigs were going to score, but she did a nice job of limiting and containing them," said Wilt. "Syd had a nice game, as well. She did a nice job getting to the rim and scoring from the line."
Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel), Sarah Huston (Coatesville, PA/Coatesville), and Kaley Strittmatter (Wiliamsburg, PA/Penn Cambria) each scored eight points, with Burk distributing a team-high four assists, Huston tying for the team-high in steals with four, and Strittmatter finishing second in the game with nine rebounds.
Ayanna Mazyck paced La Roche with 20 points and eight steals. Dasha Jackson came off the bench to provide 15 points, Danajah Sanders scored 13, and Dasja Anderson and Jenna Cole added 12 points apiece.
Trailing 18-9 with 2:56 left in the opening quarter, Penn State Altoona outscored La Roche 9-4 over the rest of the period to trim its deficit to four points. Strittmatter's layup at 1:31 made it a five-point game, 20-15, and Cannistraci's jump shot just before the buzzer cut La Roche's lead to 22-18.
But La Roche pulled away during the second quarter, recording a 15-point scoring differential over Penn State Altoona during the period. The Lady Redhawks started the quarter on a 13-0 run and held the Lady Lions scoreless until the 2:38 mark, when Cannistraci sank a pair of foul shots. Mazyck's three-pointer at 1:15 gave the home team a 40-20 lead, and Shaundrea Butler's layup and two free throws by Jackson set La Roche's advantage to 44-25 by halftime.
The Lady Lions performed well after emerging from the locker room, as Penn State Altoona outscored La Roche 21-19 during the third quarter. Cannistraci scored 10 points during the quarter, but Penn State Altoona still found itself down by 17, 63-46, by the end of the period.
La Roche held a 27-22 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter, including Sanders' layup at 5:34 that gave the Lady Redhawks their largest lead of the night, 77-51. Penn State Altoona was unable to make up any ground, and the Lady Lions were handed the 22-point defeat.
Next, Penn State Altoona will head into Thanksgiving break and prepare for an important four-game AMCC homestand in December. The Lady Lions' first game of that stretch is Wednesday, December 4 when they will host conference foe Pitt-Greensburg at 8:00 p.m.