CUA falls to No. 13 Juniata in final seconds
HUNTINGDON, Pa. – CUA led No. 13 Juniata 29-18 at halftime on Friday, but the Cardinals were unable to hold on and ultimately fell to the Eagles by a score of 55-52. CUA had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds but could not get a shot off, snapping the Cardinals seven-game win streak.
The Cardinals took a 13-point lead when Claire McEvily splashed a jumper with 12:24 to play, but Juniata scored eight straight to cut it to a five-point game at the 6:51 mark.
Emily Grabiak drilled a 3-pointer down the other end for CUA, but the Eagles responded again, this time with an 8-2 run to pull within two with 4:47 on the clock.
A Holly Janicki layup was followed by a terrific three-point play by Grabiak and the Cardinal lead was up to seven with 3:50 left to play.
Alyssia Gordon hit a 3-pointer for Juniata though, and that ignited a 10-0 run that ended with five straight points from Natalie Glinsky to put the home team up by three.
Jill Woerner got inside for a CUA layup to pull the Cardinals within a point, and Gordon then sank a pair at the line to set up CUA's final possession.
Juniata's defense stood tall and CUA was unable to get off a shot as time ticked away, sending the Cardinals to their first loss since January 14.
Owunna (15) and Grabiak (13) finished in double figures for CUA, while Woerner and Janicki added eight apiece. Woerner now sits just 11 points away from 1,000 for her career.
Woerner, Owunna and Jenny McGann each pulled down six rebounds and Grabiak led the way with four assists.
Glinsky led the way for Juniata with 17 points, while Ashton Bankos finished with 12 rebounds, five steals and four assists. The Eagles shot just 29%, including 21% in the opening 20 minutes, but they forced the Cardinals into 27 turnovers.
CUA came out strong, shooting 55% in the opening half. Owunna scored the first four points of the game and the Cardinals took an early 16-7 lead following Janick's second three in the first six minutes.
McEvily and Woerner then netted back-to-back baskets to open up a 13-point lead, and Owunna's old-fashioned three-point play set the margin at 14 with 9:38 to play.
Owunna's layup with 2:36 on the clock put CUA ahead by 12, and after three straight by Juniata, Kelli Josephsen sank a jumper to send the Cardinals into halftime up by 11.
With Friday's win Juniata clinched the top seed in the upcoming Landmark Conference Tournament. CUA has also clinched a spot in the tourney.
The Cardinals wrap up their weekend on Saturday when they travel to Selinsgrove, Pa. to face Susquehanna. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.