STEUBENVILLE – The Franciscan women's basketball team snapped a seven-game skid to open the season as the Lady Barons walked off the court with an exciting 65-63 win over Penn State Altoona, Wednesday evening.
Franciscan and the Lions engaged in a back and forth affair with neither team really pulling away. The first quarter really belonged to the Lions as they led 16-9 after the first 10 minutes.
Franciscan regrouped to start the second and slowly chipped away at the lead as freshman Cianna Vaughan hit a jumper to open the scoring and classmate Abby Baierl hit back-to-back threes to tie the game at 18. The Lady Barons took their first lead of the game thanks to a free throw from Baierl with 5:09 to play and the lead changed hands twice over the next two minutes until Franciscan took the lead for good in the quarter 21-20. With 36 seconds left in the half, Baierl finished a layup to put the Lady Barons up by five, 27-22, but Megan Wheeler hit a jumper with 22 seconds left to send the teams into the locker room with the score 27-24 in favor of the Lady Barons.
The two teams were evenly matched in the third quarter as Franciscan maintained the three point lead after a 16-16 period.
The Lions would not back down and tied the game three times to open the fourth quarter, the last with 6:04 showing at 49-49. Penn State Altoona took its final lead of the game just over a minute later as Brittney Boslet hit a three with 4:45 to play to give the Lions a 52-51 lead. Franciscan used a seven-point run, capped by a layup from Baierl to take the lead for good, 59-52 with 2:49 to play.
The Lady Barons kept the Lions at arm's length for the rest of the contest, though they got the score down to within three, 63-60 with just 16 seconds left. Senior Bernadette Roach put the game out of reach as she hit a layup to push the lead back to five on the Lady Barons next possession. Boslet hit a desperation three as time expired but the tough Lady Baron defense sealed the win as Franciscan picked up its first win of the year, 65-63 over the Lions.
"Tonight was a total team effort," lauded head coach Suzy Delaney following the contest. "I am extremely proud of the way the team played tonight from our two senior leaders to our freshmen who stepped up big when we needed them to tonight."
The dynamic sister duo of Johanna Roach and Bernadette Roach was stellar under the basket for the Lady Barons as Johanna Roach finished with a game-leading 13 rebounds and Bernadette was right behind her with 11. Bernadette chipped in 10 points for her first double-double of the season while Johanna added six steals for the Lady Barons.
"Johanna was a big part of our defensive effort tonight with six steals and played really well," complimented Coach Delaney.
Offensively, the underclassmen shined once again for Franciscan. Baierl led the Lady Barons with 19 points and was 8-for-14 from the floor, including a pair of threes. Freshman Kaitlyn Sonneberger finished the day with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists while sophomore Raegan Stead had 13 points and four boards.
"We had a balanced scoring offense tonight and that was really big in the win," continued coach Delaney.
The Lady Barons shot 28-for-65 (48.6%) from the from floor and out-rebounded the Lions 43-42.
Franciscan gets on the road as the Lady Barons travel to Pitt.-Bradford for a 2pm AMCC tilt.