17th Ranked Juniata Tops Chargers, 62-57

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The Lancaster Bible College women's basketball team had its chances to beat a ranked opponent for the first time in program history, but came up just short, as the Chargers fell to 17th-ranked Juniata, 62-57 on Wednesday night at Horst Athletic Center. The loss drops the Chargers to 6-6 this season, while the Eagles remained perfect and moved to 12-0.

How it Happened: Juniata jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening minutes and led 6-1 four minutes into the contest, but the Chargers slowly chipped away at the deficit and tied the game at 9-9 when junior Courtney Goyak knocked down one of two free throws with 1:19 remaining in the opening quarter. Back-to-back layups from Goyak and senior Kirsten Webster on the final two Lancaster Bible possessions of the first half gave the Chargers a 13-11 edge after 10 minutes of play, as Lancaster Bible scored three points in the first 6:55 of the quarter and 10 in the final 3:05.

The second quarter showed what the game would eventually be, as the teams matched basket-for-basket for the entire 10 minutes. Webster scored the first six points for the Chargers in the second quarter and her jumper with 4:16 left in the half gave Lancaster Bible a 21-17 lead. After a 3-pointer from Dani Atkinson cut the Eagles' deficit to one, freshman Lizzy Tilton and Webster drained jumpers on two straight possessions to give the Chargers a 25-20 lead with 2:48 to play. Lancaster Bible led by five again after a three-point play from Webster, but Lexey Shick hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to cut the Chargers' lead to two, 28-26, heading into halftime.

Lancaster Bible took its biggest lead of the game with 8:33 to play in the third quarter, as sophomore Caitlin Hickey put the Chargers in front, 34-28. The Eagles showed why they are nationally ranked and haven't lost yet this season over the next five minutes, as they went on a 12-1 run and stifled the Chargers offense. Lancaster Bible battled however and tied the game at 43-43 late in the quarter, before Atkinson's two free throws in the final seconds put the Eagles up 45-43 after 30 minutes.

Hickey knocked down two straight 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter and after two free throws from Webster, the Chargers led, 51-47 with 8:15 to play. Juniata's defense stepped up again and held the Chargers in-check for several minutes, but Webster's three-point play with 2:56 to play cut the Chargers' deficit to one, 56-55. A 3-pointer from Carmella Bickel restored the Eagles' four-point lead, but Hickey took a nice pass from Tilton and cut the deficit to two, 59-57 with 2:06 remaining.

From there, the play was a bit sloppy from each team and the Chargers were forced to foul down the stretch. Lancaster Bible had a chance to tie the game with under ten seconds to play, but couldn't get the 3-point try to go and lost, 62-57.

By the Numbers: Lancaster Bible shot 19-of-51 (37.3 percent) from the floor, but just 2-of-13 from 3-point range...Lancaster Bible was 17-of-27 from the free throw line, as Webster and Goyak did a good job getting to the line on Wednesday night...Juniata shot 25-of-68 (36.8 percent) from the field and was 5-of-21 from beyond the arc...The Eagles held a 41-38 edge in rebounds, including a 18-11 edge on the offensive glass...Webster finished with a game-high 28 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and she was also 12-of-15 from the free throw line...Hickey had 14 points and six rebounds, while Goyak finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds...Tillton added two points, three assists and three bounds, while freshman Leah Steiner had two points and four boards...Morgan Instone had a team-high 14 points for Juniata, as eight different players recorded a basket for the Eagles.

The Coach Says: 
-On the solid play from the bench in the first half: "I think they not only gave themselves a confidence boost tonight, but the whole team as well," Lancaster Bible Head Coach Katelyn Vanderhoff said. "With Hickey and Goyak in some foul trouble, we got some good minutes from several players and showed our team that even if we are foul trouble, we can still be OK and get the job done."

-On Webster continuing to play well: "She has continued to elevate her play and make the team better," Vanderhoff said. "She has done a tremendous job creating offense, even when there isn't much there."

-On the final minutes of close games this season: "We need to keep practicing those situations and feel more comfortable," Vanderhoff said. "We have had a couple of close games this year and need to win one to get ourselves thinking positively. I think if we stay with the game plan and stay strong during those times, we are going to get a win and go from there. We are learning to win and tonight was another good teaching moment against a good team."

Information Hodge Podge: Wednesday marked the first meeting between the two teams...The Chargers have now hosted two ranked opponents this season, as Messiah came to Horst Athletic Center ranked 17th in the country earlier in the season (the Falcons are now 20th)...Webster's 28 points are a career-high and she has set her career-high for points in a game three times this season...Webster has scored 20 or more points in a game six times this season...Goyak came into the game ranked second in NCAA Division III in rebounds per game...Webster needs just 76 points to eclipse the 1,000-point mark.

Up Next: Lancaster Bible will play its final non-conference game of the season on Sunday, as the Chargers face the Dolphins of Staten Island at 1 p.m. on Staten Island.