Short-handed Lady Lions drop first conference game to PSU Lehigh Valley in double OT

Kyana Willoughby leads a fast break.
Kyana Willoughby leads a fast break.

HAZLETON, Pa. - Sophomore Deidra Ciavaralla (Mountain Top, Pa.) poured in 20 points, but a short-handed Lady Lions squad fell 89-85 in double-overtime to ninth ranked Penn State Lehigh Valley on Saturday. Penn State Hazleton, ranked second in the latest USCAA Coaches Poll, dropped their first PSUAC game of the season to fall to 12-2 overall, and 6-1 in the conference.

Fouls, and missed free throws, were the story of the day in a game that saw 15 ties and 16 lead changes. The teams combined to commit 62 fouls while shooting 37-for-82 from the free-throw line, including 13-for-32 by Hazleton. Each team finished the game with fewer than five players, as Hazleton saw three of their scoring leaders foul out by the midway point of the first overtime. Senior Christine Soltys (Milton, Pa.), who finished with 12 points and three steals, fouled out with 3:11 remaining in the second overtime to leave Hazleton with only four eligible players on the floor. Penn State Lehigh Valley, also working with a short bench, saw three players foul out, leaving them with four to finish the game not long after Soltys was disqualified. Freshman Kamryn Dodd (Stevensville, Md.) would also foul out for Hazleton as the game finished 4-on-3.

Junior Alexis Daly (Wyalusing, Pa.) finished with 14 points, while senior Taylor Cannon (Hazleton, Pa.) added 12. Dodd recorded her first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds in a career-high 26 minutes.

Andrea Watkins scored a game-high 26 points for Lehigh Valley, while teammate Brenna Dosedlo added 20. Ashley Husser (17 points and 13 rebounds) and Kerrece Seuren (11 points and 15 rebounds) added double-doubles for the Lions.

Hazleton shot 35 percent from the field, their lowest of the season in PSUAC play. The Lady Lions squandered an 11-point lead with 16:35 remaining in the second half, despite turning 29 Lehigh Valley turnovers into 35 points. Lehigh Valley won the rebounding battle, 67-60.

Hazleton returns to conference play on Monday, January 19 at 2:00 p.m. when they host Penn State Wilkes-Barre. The Lady Lions knocked off Wilkes-Barre, 59-45, earlier in the season.