Victory slips away from Bison as Penn St.-Abington hands second loss to Gallaudet
ABINGTON, Pa. – Three minutes and the Penn St.-Abington women's basketball team stood in the way of Gallaudet University escaping Thursday night's road conference game with win No. 22. Unfortunately, for the Bison an eight-point lead evaporated as the Buff and Blue missed their final three shots, turned the ball over four times and sent the Nittany Lions to the foul line five times for nine attempts. Penn St.-Abington rallied back to knock off the Bison on Senior Night with a 55-51 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) win.
Gallaudet (21-2, 18-2 NEAC) suffers its second loss in three games over a six-day span. The Bison were their own worst enemy as they turned the ball over 35 times, a new season-high, and were held to a season low 51 points in their final regular-season road game.
The Bison were slow out of the gate as they fell behind 17-7 just over seven minutes in. The Nittany Lions (7-16, 6-14) grew its lead to 13, its largest of the game, with 5:24 left in the first half. GU cut the margin to nine, 26-17, as both teams went into halftime.
Gallaudet made a comeback midway through the second half as the Bison used a 12-0 run to flip the lead from Penn St.-Abington's advantage to GU leading 39-34 with 8:32 left in regulation. Freshman Stephanie Weiss (Wellington, Fla.) led the charge as she scored eight of the 12 points during the run. Weiss finished the game with a team-high 13 points.
Penn St.-Abington ended the game on its own 12-0 run to hand the Bison their first road loss of the season, snapping a 10-game win streak. Guard Brittany Middleton only had four points in the game but her layup and minutes later her two free throws helped to give the Nittany Lions the lead for good.
All-American senior forward/center Easter Faafiti (Pittsburg, Calif.) was held to 12 points, her lowest point total since she scored only nine points in 20 minutes against Penn St.-Abington back on December 8. Faafiti kept her double-double streak alive as she brought down a game-high 16 rebounds. She also added seven assists and three steals for good measure. Faafiti did turn the ball over nine times as she played all 40 minutes. Her double-double streak now stands at 16 straight and 18 overall this season.
Junior guard Andrea Amati (Frederick, Md.) chipped in nine points and seven rebounds while senior center Nukeitra Hayes (Anderson, Ind.) flipped those numbers and scored seven points and grabbed nine rebounds. Freshman forward Tandy Lewis (Frederick, Md.) added six points in the loss.
Abington guards Samantha Frick (20 points) and Trish Watson (19 points) led the charge in the upset. The two teams split the season series as the Bison won by 38 points, 81-43, back in December.
Gallaudet held a monstrous advantage in rebounds, 41-12, and shot 50 percent from the field. The downfall was the 31 points scored by the Lions off the 35 Gallaudet turnovers. Penn St.-Abington only shot 34.6 percent from the field but they made five 3-pointers and made over 82 percent of its free-throw attempts.
The Bison return home to close out the regular-season schedule with back-to-back games this weekend. Gallaudet will welcome first-place Keuka College (21-1, 19-1) to campus on Saturday, February 19, for a 2 p.m. conference game. The winner of that game will have the inside track on hosting the NEAC tournament the following weekend. This game is also Gallaudet's Pink Zone game, sponsored by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, so please wear something pink to the game. On Sunday, the Bison will host Wells College (4-19, 4-16) for Senior Day with a noon tip.