SELINSGROVE, Pa. – The Susquehanna women’s basketball team, home for the first time since early this month, could not withstand a strong finish from Juniata and fell 61-47 on Wednesday night.
The game, which marked the team’s annual Play4Kay contest played in support of breast cancer awareness, saw the Crusaders (7-17, 2-11) hold a lead at halftime but they managed only 19 second-half points to fall short against the Eagles (17-7, 8-5).
Senior Gina Palazzi (Newfoundland, Pa./Wallenpaupack) recorded a double-double with a game-high 20 points to go along with 15 rebounds. Mariah Monahan (Towanda, Pa./Towanda Area) finished with nine points, five rebounds and four assists for Susquehanna.
SU was able to limit Juniata to just 28 percent shooting for the game but the Eagles were able to sink nearly 89 percent of their free throws while the Crusaders made only 56 percent of their attempts, proving to be a costly difference in the game. Juniata also scored 18 points off 27 Susquehanna turnovers.
The first half began slowly with a combined five points scored over the first six-plus minutes of play after which SU held a slim 3-2 lead. That lead proceeded to stretch to five (7-2) with 13:10 on the clock.
Juniata took its first lead since the team’s opening possession after a Karlie McFatridge jumper at 9:49 made it 14-13. From there the lead swapped hands for the remaining minutes of the half. SU found itself back ahead by six (24-18) on a Monahan three-pointer and held onto a one-point halftime lead at 28-27.
The second half was a different story for both teams. Juniata came out the locker room and went up by four, 34-30, on a Jordan Speck trey. The Crusaders were still well within reach of the lead, though, after a Shannon Grunwald (Neshanic Station, N.J./Somerville) three-point bucket kept the Crusaders within three of Juniata at 42-39 with 10:25 still to play.
From that point on, however, the Eagles put together a 12-2 run to go up 54-41 and run the clock to 5:52. As the game hit the final three minutes of play, SU trailed by 12 (59-47) and failed to score a point over the remaining 2:13 of play.
The Crusaders close out their season on Saturday with a 2 p.m. game against USMMA. The team’s four seniors will be honored prior to the start of the game.
SU’s Return Home Falls Short