Lady Lions coast to season opening victory

Shelby Berger pump fakes on the wing.
Shelby Berger pump fakes on the wing.

HAZLETON, Pa. - Five Lady Lions finished in double digits as Penn State Hazleton opened their season with an 85-38 win over Luzerne County Community College on Monday night in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium.

Hazleton (1-0) shot 41 percent from the field on the night and nearly doubled the amount of shots of their visitors--88 to 45. Luzerne committed 35 turnovers on the evening as Hazleton suffocated the Trail Blazers in their half court set. Seven Lady Lions recorded a steal on the night, with senior Stephanie Guevara (North Brunswick, NJ) and sophomore McKenzie Prutsman (Jasper, NY) led the way with seven apiece.

Hazleton scored at least 18 points in every quarter and held Luzerne to no more than 13 in any stanza.

1st Half

Hazleton opened up the game with an 8-0 run as Prutsman picked up two early steals and converted on the subsequent fast breaks to open the floodgates. After Luzerne settled in a bit, Hazleton took off again with a 9-2 run to finish the first quarter, 25-9. 

Luzerne traded baskets with their hosts to begin the second quarter, and eventually held Hazleton scoreless for a three minute stretch midway through the stanza. The Lady Lions bounced back with an 8-2 run over the final three minutes of the half to extend their lead to 24 at the break.

2nd Half

Hazleton picked up where they left off to begin the third quarter, using a 12-0 spurt to increase their lead to 55-19. Five Lady Lions scored during the four-minute onslaught. After a Luzerne bucket, Hazleton went on another run, this time a 9-0 burst to extend the lead to 43. 

The teams traded baskets for much of fourth quarter, but Hazleton maintained their distance despite a late flurry of scores from the Trail Blazers.

Top Performers

Prutsman led all scorers with 16 to go with her seven steals. Sophomore Ijonana Laster (Niagara Falls, NY) recorded her first double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She also led the team with four assists.

Guevara added 13 points with her seven steals, while also pulling down six rebounds. Sophomore Haley Nalls (York, Pa.) chipped in 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Freshman Shelby Berger (Weatherly, Pa.) rounded out Hazleton's double digit scorers with 10 points, including two of the Lady Lions' four three-pointers.

Next Up

Hazleton makes a quick turnaround to host SUNY Delhi on Tuesday, November 8th at 8:00 p.m. The Lady Lions knocked off the Broncos last season and look to start the year 2-0 for the fourth straight year.