Hazleton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions improved to 11-7 in the PSUAC with a win over Mont Alto on Tuesday night. Hazleton led at halftime but poured in 23 points in the third quarter of the contest, turning an eight point halftime lead into a 66-40 victory.
Hazleton got eight points from sophomore Rocky Curry (Darby, Pa.) in the first quarter and six points from senior Justine Bernazeau (Trelissac, FR) in the second period to help keep Mont Alto at bay during the first half of Tuesday night's game. The Lions led by multiple possessions but were unable to put the visitors away until early in the second half when sophomore Cassandra Rodriguez caught fire from beyond the arc. With two early fouls, Rodriguez was limited in the first half but erased that error quickly when play resumed in the third quarter. The sophomore struck for four triples over a two minute stretch of play early in the half, ballooning Hazleton's seven point cushion into a 19 point advantage. Hazleton would hold Mont Alto to just five total points in the third quarter, gaining firm control of the contest. Hazleton led by as many as 29 points early in the fourth quarter and cruised to the finish line for a comfortable win.
Hazleton lost the rebounding battle but turned the ball over just 12 times in the win compared to 29 turnovers for Mont Alto. After the slow start, Rodriguez bounced back in the second half to total 19 points on 7-of-18 shooting to lead the Lions scoring efforts. Curry finished the game with a double-double, notching 14 points and 10 rebounds with six assists and three steals to her credit while Bernazeau totaled 11 points, six rebounds and six assists in the winning effort.
Next up: The Lions finish up the regular season on Thursday, February 23 with a make-up game at Penn State Wilkes-Barre at 6:00 p.m. With a win on Thursday, Hazleton will secure the number three seed in the PSUAC East and will face Penn State Lehigh Valley on Sunday, February 26. A loss in the season finale with send Hazleton to Penn State Schuylkill for the first round of the PSUAC women's basketball postseason.