Lamont Furnace, Pa. - The number one ranked Lady Lions (12-1, 5-0 PSUAC) opened and closed Friday night's matchup with Penn State Fayette (4-7, 3-2 PSUAC) with stout defense and premium offense to notch their ninth straight victory of the season. Hazleton shot over 48 percent from the field in the bookend periods, outscoring their opponent by 24 points in the first and fourth quarters while winning the turnover battle 16-5 to earn the win by a score of 85-57.
The Lady Lions jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the first quarter and continued to fire on all cylanders, scoring at a 46.7 clip in the early stages of play. Hazleton forced Fayette to shoot from long range where the home team failed to connect on their first seven tries from beyond the arc. Senior Alexis Daly (New Albany, Pa.) and freshman Ijonana Laster (Niagara Falls, Ny.) scored six points each in the period as the Lions took an early 20-12 lead.
Fayette's sharp shooting Ally Rudolph kept the Roaring Lions within reach, notching four buckets from long distance in the half, but Daly and company continued their efficient offensive performance to hold off the Fayette advances. Seven Lady Lions found the scoring collumn in the second quarter to expand the Hazleton advantage to 12 points at the break.
The home team cut the Lady Lions lead down to seven late in the third period before a pair of baskets by freshman McKenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.) halted a 6-0 Fayette run, pushing the lead back to 12 points by the end of the third quarter. Leading by 11 with 7:09 remaining in regulation, Sophomore Jacqlyn Siva-Harrison (North Brunswick, Nj.) nailed a triple to spark a 13-2 Hazleton run to put the game out of reach and maintain the Lady Lions unblemished record in the Penn State University Athletic Conference.
Three players from Penn State Fayette tallied double figures in the contest including 14 a piece from Courtney Haines and Taylor Smith. Haines added a game high 15 rebounds to go along with three steals while Smith pitched in nine rebounds. Ally Rudolph led all Fayette scorers with 15 points on the evening, all from long distance.
A fine team effort from the Lady Lions led to five players in double figures Friday night. Alexis Daly nabbed her second straight double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds shooting eight for 13 from the field to top all Hazleton scorers.
McKenzie Prutsman went seven for eight from the charity stripe to total 15 points in the game while Ijonana Laster offered up another fine scoring effort in relief work with 15 points off the bench. Sophomore forwards Kamryn Dodd (Stevensville, Md.) and Alison Vincent (Asheville, Pa.) shot a combined nine of 16 from the field, rounding out the Hazleton offense with 10 points each.
The Lady Lions look to make it 10 in a row when they welcome Wilkes University to the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium on Monday, January 18 at 7:00 p.m.