State College, PA – The Lady Lions faced off against western rival Penn State Beaver (18-8, 14-2 PSUAC) Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center in their first ever appearance in the Penn State University Athletic Conference Championship. Penn State Hazleton (19-6, 12-4 PSUAC) fought to the end but trailed much of the second half, leading to Beaver's third consecutive PSUAC title.
Hazleton contested Penn State Beaver to a stalemate in the opening period. The Lady Lions led early, forcing Beaver into turnover situations and capitalizing at the offensive end. Beaver clawed back, out-rebounding the Lady Lions by ten and shooting at a 44.8% clip to Hazleton's 38.5% from the field.
Penn State Beaver's depth proved too much for the Hazleton team in the second half. Beaver found easy scores at the basket and made frequent use of the charity stripe to out-score the Lady Lions, stretching their second half lead out to as many as 17 points. Hazleton fought back late in the half to cut the deficit under double digits, but the lead was too great to overcome.
Hazleton was led by an inspired performance from Senior Taylor Cannon (Hazleton, PA). Cannon topped all scorers in the final game shooting 50 percent from the field and finishing with 31 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals. Bothered by foul trouble, Junior Alexis Daly garnered a double-double but was held to just 12 points while collecting 13 rebounds respectively.
Penn State Beaver was led by Brittany Jackson who came off the bench shooting 75 percent from the field totaling 21 points and 8 rebounds. Morgan Kurtz added a double-double for the champs, finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Cassandra Flowers chipped in 10 points and 7 rebounds.
Despite the disappointing loss in their first championship appearance, Penn State Hazleton will advance on to the United State Collegiate Athletic Association National Tournament. Earlier this evening, the Lady Lions received a bid as the number 5 seed in the USCAA Division 2 tournament and will face off against 4th seeded Albany College of Pharmacy on Thursday March 5th at 9:30pm in Maltho gymnasium at the host campus, Penn State Fayette.