Hazleton, Pa. - The Lady Lions (14-2, 8-1 PSUAC) turned 14 steals into 23 points off turnovers to burst past Penn State University Athletic Conference opponent Penn State DuBois (12-7, 5-5) on Friday night. DuBois won the rebounding battle but extra possessions for Hazleton in the middle quarters gave the home team the edge in this one as they pulled away by as many 17 points in the third quarter and held on in the final period for an 83-68 win, their ninth straight victory.
Penn State DuBois was led by a solid performance from Melody Young. Young collected a double-double, netting 18 points on nine of 16 shooting from the field, adding 12 rebounds and four blocks. Teammate Ashley Brown went for 16 points including two triples, totaling 8 assists and seven rebounds in the losing effort.
Senior Stephanie Guevara (New Brunswick, Nj.) and sophomore Haley Nalls (York, Pa.) both notched double-doubles for the Lady Lions. Guevara scored 15 of her season high 18 points in the second half, amassing 10 rebounds, five steals, and five assists to lead the Hazleton assault while Nalls garnered 14 points and 14 rebounds. The duo combined for 10 of Hazleton's 16 offensive boards and over half of the teams' total rebounding effort.
All five starters including Guevara and Nalls reached double figures in another fine group performance for Hazleton. Junior Jacqlyn Siva-Harrison (South Brunswick, Nj.) added 16 points and five rebounds, sophomore McKenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.) totaled 13 points while dishing out a team high eight assists and sophomore Ijonana Laster added 12 points, going two for five from long range distance.
In a back and forth first half, DuBois struck first, opening up a 7-1 edge but that lead was quickly squandered by an 8-0 run by Hazleton who tallied four field goals in just over one minute's time. Dubois created some separation on the scoreboard until a pair of field goals from Laster kept Hazleton within striking distance at the quarter's end.
Guevara swiftly gave the upper hand back to the Lady Lions, swiping a steal and running the length of the court, converting an old fashioned three point play to start the scoring in the second frame. Nalls would follow with a pair of lay ups as Hazleton surged forward with a 7-0 run. DuBois would climb back into contention as Hazleton went cold on its next five shooting atttempts and retook command midway through the action on a Melody Young score. Hope Bridge gave Dubois a 29-26 advantage with 4:15 to play in the half but Hazleton would hold the visitors to just one field goal to end the half. Over that stretch the Lady Lions tacked on 11 points capped by a transition score from Prutsman to Siva-Harrison in the final minute that gave the Lady Lions a 37-31 edge at the midway point.
Hazleton rolled its second quarter momentum over to the third period for their best quarter of the night. The Lady Lions converted four steals into scores on offense, two of which came from Guevara going coast to coast. Hazleton shot over 45 percent from the field in the period and combined for seven assists on the offensive end. Just two and a half minutes into the second half, Hazleton had claimed its first double digit lead, one they would not relinquish in the period. Hazleton's effective play off missed shots and turnovers steadily ballooned their advantage to 17 points by the three minute mark and exited the frame with a 63-48 advantage.
A talented DuBois squad refused to go quietly but each time the visitors made advances, the Lady Lions would answer. DuBois started the period on a 7-0 run, cutting the deficit to single digits, but a flurry of baskets from Guevara, Siva-Harrison and Nalls kept the competition at arms length. A fine quarter by both teams resulted in stalemate with the Lady Lions on top 83-68.
The Lady Lions head into what will likely be their most challenging week of the regular season starting on Monday with their final non-conference bout of the year. Hazleton will face NCAA III Wilkes University then travel to Penn State Worthington Scranton on Tuesday for more PSUAC action. The Lady Lions will wrap up the week at home facing the top two squads in the conference in Brandywine and Lehigh Valley as all three teams jostle for post season positioning.