Women's Basketball starts off 0-3 in first week of play

Azaria Johnson shoots from the free throw line.
Azaria Johnson shoots from the free throw line.

Hazleton, Pa. - The Nittany Lion Women's Basketball team got off to a slow start in week one of the 2023-24 season. Hazleton, featuring just one returning player from last year's playoff roster, came close in the season opener against Northampton Community College before fading late in the game. Hazleton then took losses to Central Penn College and Keystone College to close out week one. With 10 new players in uniform this season, Hazleton is looking to build some chemistry during the early portion of the season before beginning the conference schedule after the Thanksgiving break. 

Thursday, November 2 - Penn State Hazleton 69, Northampton Community College 59 - Final

Hazleton got off to a great start in Thursday night's season opener. The Lions got six points off the bench from third-year athlete Tori Rabuck (Tower City, Pa.)  in the first quarter on their way to an 18 point period. Defensively, Hazleton held Northampton to just six points in the period and led by as many as 14 in the first half. Hazleton's momentum diminished during the halftime break and the Lions shot just 16.7 percent from the field to go along with eight turnovers in the third quarter. Northampton used that to top Hazleton by 16 points in the third frame and claim a five point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Hazleton crept back to within one possession briefly at the start of the fourth period, but the Lions could only muster 11 points offensively in the quarter, giving Northampton the win, 69-59. 

Rabuck finished the game with her first career double-double, totin 13 points and 13 rebounds. First-year player Bry'Yasia Costen (Charleston, Sc.) totaled 16 points, six rebounds and five assists in her Nittany Lions debut while third-year Azaria Johnson (Richmond Hill, Ga.) added 14 points and eight rebounds in the loss.

Monday, November 6 - Penn State Hazleton 39, Central Penn College 76 - Final

Hazleton hung with Central Penn for the first ten minutes of action but the Lion's shooting percentage fell off in the second quarter leading to a 15 point deficit at halftime. Hazleton battled to a stalemate in quarter number three however the Nittany Lions saw a repeat finish to the second half. Hazleton went just 1-for-15 from the field in the final period, adding seven turnorvers as Central Penn pulled ahead by a wide margin, coasting to a win over the Lions by the score of 76-39. First-year player Topaz Williams-Fripp (Beaufort, Sc.) led Hazleton on a tough night from the field, totaling 12 points with seven rebounds in tow while first-year Jaden Jones added six points and 10 rebounds in defeat. 

Wednesday, November 8 - Penn State Hazleton 56, Keysone College 74 - Final

Hazleton posted a great effort against NCAA DIII Keystone College on Wednesday night as the Lions looked for their first win of the season. Hazleton out-rebounded Keystone 57-43 but 34 Nittany Lion turnovers and a 1-for-14 effort from beyond the arc spoiled an otherwise solid game for Hazleton. After a slow start, Hazleton went on an 8-0 run in the third quarter, cutting Keystone's lead to just six points but the Lions fell off late in the period to trail Keystone by double-figures and never recovered as Keystone tacked on 20 points in the fourth frame to win 74-56. 

Two Nittany Lions topped double-figures in the loss with Azaria Johnson going for a season high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Costen added 13 points to her credit while Topaz Williams-Fripp notched nine points and 10 rebounds.