STEUBENVILLE - The Franciscan University women's basketball team played statistically one of the best games of their season, in a Saturday afternoon 73-53 loss against conference opponent Penn State-Behrend.
The Lady Barons started the first quarter on a hot streak; guard Abby Baierl knocked down an uncontested three-pointer in the opening minute of action. Fellow sophomore Kaitlyn Sonneberger added a jump shot seconds later, and after tight Franciscan defense minimized Behrend offensive opportunities, freshman guard Rebekah Nevarez added four points to junior guard Reagan Stead's three-pointer. Point guard Gabe De Jesus knocked down a jumper with 23 seconds left in the quarter, to put an 18-14 first quarter in the books.
Dominant defensive rebounding for the Lady Barons put the ball into the hands of an open Abby Baierl, who added an uncontested three-pointer with a Stead midrange jump shot to put Franciscan on top, 21-20. After Behrend offensive efforts added three consecutive jumpers, Franciscan again leveled the score, courtesy of a De Jesus shot from well beyond the arc, and a Sonneberger jumper with 5:12 remaining in the half. Behrend added a jumper of its own after a timeout to accrue a 28-26 lead before Stead went matched back-to-back Penn State scores with baskets of her own. The Lady Barons were down two when the halftime buzzer sent both teams to the locker rooms.
In a third quarter that was statistically one of the finest for the Lady Barons, the women shot 44% from the field, though they added only ten points to Behrend's twenty. Sonneberger and Baierl each added jumpers from the field during the quarter's opening minutes; freshman guard Annie McGraw registered a three-point dagger from deep, cutting Penn State's lead to nine, 49-40. Despite another Stead three, Behrend found a double-digit lead, 55-43 by the conclusion of the quarter.
Behrend continued to add to their lead as the fourth quarter commenced. They outscored the Lady Barons 18-10 during the course of the final ten minutes. Stead broke Penn State's hot streak with another basket from beyond the arc, three of her season-high 19 points. Behrend scored 11 of the final 15 points on the floor, and ran away with what became a 73-53 final score.
Penn State Behrend improves to 7-10 on the season, and senior Erika Woll eclipsed 1,000 points for the Lions. The Lady Barons drop to 0-15 on the season. Franciscan will look to register their first win of the season on Wednesday, January 24, in an 8 pm away matchup against conference opponent La Roche.