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Penn College women fall in close contest to Penn State Harrisburg

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Ja‘Quela Dyer of Penn College (24) reaches for a rebound as Penn College plays Penn State Harrisburg Friday evening.

Penn College had more than its fair share of looks at the basket. And in a game where the second-half deficit was within striking distance, the Wildcats knew they had to convert. But it seemed the shots just couldn’t fall Penn College’s way down the stretch.

For roughly 7 and a half minutes in the fourth quarter, those shots weren’t falling when Penn College needed it.

The Wildcats battled Penn State Harrisburg tough and gave it their all, and despite a late rally attempt, Penn College came up just shy against the Lions, 71-66, on Friday night at Bardo Gym.

The loss drops Penn College to 2-10 overall and 1-4 in the United East. Penn State Harrisburg is now 6-4 overall and 1-1 in the United East.

“I think what hurts us sometimes is we end up getting this momentum and we take the momentum and we put it into our shot. So when we’re going full speed to the hoop for the layup, we don’t calm ourselves down enough to get that nice easy flow with our shot because we’re so aggressive and have so much energy,” Penn College Britni Mohney said. “We start to rush those shots. One of the things we talked about this year is just facing adversity. When that adversity hits and we’re not making those shots, t’s not hanging our heads, it’s alright, we missed, lets clear it, make the next one and make stops on the defensive end.

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Maci Ilgen of Penn College passes around the defense of Penn State in the first half at Penn College Friday evening.

“I thought we did a great job of that.”

Penn College hung with Penn State Harrisburg the entire night. In the third quarter, the Lions increased their seven-point lead to as many as 11 and 12. The Wildcats never panicked, however, and kept playing their game the best they know how.

The Wildcats chipped away at that lead and actually tied the game early in the fourth quarter when Maci Ilgen scored with 8:17 to play to make it a 57-57 game. But the Lions slowly started building back up the lead and led by as many as seven in the fourth quarter. Loyalsock graduate Cassi Kuhns scored with 46 seconds to play to cut the deficit to five points, 68-63.

While Penn College kept it close the entire game, the momentum never fully swung the Wildcats way. Anytime Penn College would cut the deficit down to four, three or two points, the Lions responded with a big shot to answer the Wildcats.

“Penn State Harrisburg’s a great program. They have great shooters, No. 4 (Jayla Galbreath) shot lights out tonight,” Mohney said. “One of the things that we could have controlled better was going down and closing out with our hands up and making sure we’re making smart decisions and not sending them to the foul line, which is what we started doing toward the end.”

Galbreath led Penn State Harrisburg with 22 points, going 6 for 12 shooting. All six of her shots were 3-pointers as well. In addition, Alli Walton came off the bench to add 11 points for the Lions.

Ja’Quela Dyer led Penn College and did all she could to keep the Wildcats in the game. She scored a career-high 20 points, had a team-high 13 rebounds, dished out four assists and had a steal.

“At halftime, Ja had nine points and eight rebounds, she was close to a double-double and she definitely achieved that tonight,” Mohney said. “She’s somebody that’s going to go out and give you 110 percent on both sides of the ball and if she fouls out, she’s giving 110 percent on the sideline. She’s the ultimate team player and it’s an honor to be her coach.”

The Wildcats actually had three players record double-doubles in the loss in Dyer, Rachel Teats (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Kuhns (10 points, 12 rebounds).

“I mean it’s great (to have double-double production). You know that every game you have a go-to and somebody you can rely on and a lot of that is building the trust from coach to player over the years,” Mohney said. “(Dyer) knows what I’m expecting from her and she goes out and provides that for me.”

One thing Mohney knew coming into Friday’s game was how dangerous the Lions are from 3-point range. While Galbreath hit six treys, the Lions finished with 10 and attempted 32 3-pointers, more than 50% of their offensive shots.

“Our goal going into this is we’re playing straight man-to-man, we’re going to switch everything but our post-player and we’re going to stay straight up on them and force them to put the ball on the floor and make shots they’re not comfortable making,” Mohney said.

In the first half, the two went back and forth exchanging leads. The Lions led by as many as four in the first quarter, but Penn College took a lead going into the second thanks to Kuhns scoring on a layup with 44 seconds left to make it an 11-9 Wildcats’ lead.

Dyer and Teats both came up big in the second quarter to keep Penn College wtihin striking distance as the ions took a seven-point lead into the half after Giahny Correa scored on a layup right before the buzzer for the 35-28 lead.

The Wildcats had a 7-0 spurt in the third quarter, sparked by Dyer, to help cut the deficit to five, and trailed by just two points at one point when Jersey Shore graduate Aubrey Stetts scored four points in a 20-second span to cut it to 55-53.

PSU HARRISBURG (6-4, 1-1 UNITED EAST)

Jayla Galbreath 6-12 4-4 22; Jenna Montana 2-9 0-0 6; Kendis Butler 1-7 5-6 8; Ciani Redd-Howard 3-8 0-0 6; Anna Mahan 1-5 5-11 7; Giahny Correa 1-1 0-0 2; Toni Amato 0-2 2-2 2; Paige Kubalak 0-0 0-0 0; Sydney Hemler 1-5 0-0 2; Macy Carroll 2-4 0-1 5; Kayla Cade 0-1 0-0 0; Alli Walton 4-7 3-6 11. Totals 21-61 19-30 71.

PENN COLLEGE (2-10, 1-4 UNITED EAST)

Allie Troup 0-1 1-2 1; Aubre Stetts 4-11 0-0 8; Maci Ilgen 2-6 3-3 7; Ja’Quela Dyer 9-14 2-2 20; Rachel Teats 3-13 4-5 11; Kayleigh Miller 1-6 0-0 3; Emily Pardee 1-6 0-0 2; Kassidi Lenhart 1-5 2-2 4; Cassi Kuhns 3-9 4-4 10; Makaya Shadle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-71 16-18 66.

PSU-H 9 26 22 14 — 71

PCT 11 17 25 13 — 66

3-point goals: PSU-H (10-32 (Galbreath 6-11, Montana 2-7, Carroll 1-3, Butler 1-6, Redd-Howard 0-1, Kubalak 0-1, Helmer 0-1, Mahan 0-2), PCT 2-13 (Miller 1-4, Teats 1-7, Trop 0-1, Lenhart 0-1). Fouled out: PSU-H-Walton; PCT-Stetts. Rebounds: PSUH 35 (Mahan 8), PCT 49 (Dyer 13, Kuhns 12, Teats 11). Assists: PSU-H 13 (Butler 4), PCT 21 (Dyer 4, Teats 4, Lenhart 4). Technical fouls: PSU-H-none; PCT-none. Total fouls: PSU-H 21, PCT 25. A: 192.

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