Uniontown, PA - The JWU women's basketball team played their first game of the 2019 USCAA D2 National Championships on Monday. A strong second half propelled the Wildcats to the win over #5 Penn State Beaver, 66-46.
The first quarter was a back and forth affair, with four lead changes and two ties, ending with a 17-12 PSU advantage. The second quarter was more of the same as the Wildcats and Lady Lions each traded baskets. Both teams enjoyed at least a four point lead, but it was an Ineesha Hankerson layup with 1:16 remaining that put the Wildcats up 31-30 heading into the locker room.
The second half saw the Wildcats come out firing as they opened on an 11-0 run. The Wildcats would outscore the Lady Lions 22-5 in the third quarter to take control of the game, led by Bianca Covington's 8 third quarter points. Beaver could do nothing to cut into the JWU lead in the fourth quarter, as the Wildcats cruised to the 66-46 win.
The Wildcats played impressive defense on the day, amassing 17 steals en route to forcing 27 turnovers. JWU held the Lions to 19% shooting for the game.
"At this time of year, all you want to do is win one game. Sometimes you want to win so much that you lose focus on the process. I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to start with, and we just needed to settle down and play," commented Interim Head Coach Aram Parunak. "Penn State Beaver was really well prepared. I'm really proud of our defensive effort, though. Anytime you can hold a well coached team to 5 points in a quarter and 16 in a half, you have to like your chances."
Johnson & Wales men's and women's basketball programs have now combined to go 5-0 in USCAA National Tournament quarterfinal games. The win also extends the women's basketball winning streak to 4 games.
The Wildcats will take on the winner of #1 Villa Maria College and #9 Penn State- Fayette on Tuesday, March 5th, at 3:00 pm.