The Penn State Hazleton women's basketball team desperately needed a win to break a four game losing streak and end their season on a high note, and with Penn State Mont Alto coming into Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gym on Tuesday night they were going to need a big game from their big players. Mckenzie Prutsman stepped up in a big way and paved the way for Hazleton to get that 77-63 win. With the win Hazleton ends their season with an overall record of 9-12 and a Penn State University Athletic Conference record of 6-8.
Prutsman had a monster night for Hazleton pouring in 42 points while teammate Mekenzie Wolfe added 12 points and pulled down 20 rebounds and Shelby Berger hit for 12 herself while hauling in 14 rebounds. Mont Alto was led by Alexi Shaffer's double-double with 17 points and 18 rebounds while Karley Coleman hit for 16 points, Julianne Noveras added 14 points and Charity Miller added her own double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Although Mont Alto spread the scoring around, it just wasn't enough as Prutsman and company continually drove the lane all night and battled for put-backs to make the difference.
Both Hazleton and Mont Alto had a hard time finding their shooting eye in the opening stanza and after exchanging baskets right after the tip off, both teams went cold for almost two minutes. The Hazleton defense combined with Mont Alto's cold shooting limited the visitors to only four field goals in the quarter. However, the home team couldn't cash in and could only build an 18-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. As the second quarter opened up, Prutsman continually drove the lane while teammate Wolfe dominated the boards to help Hazleton build on their lead. However, once again, the the cold spell hit and both teams would go scoreless for over a three minute time frame in the quarter. By the time Mont Alto got back on the board again, Hazleton had build their lead 14 points midway through the quarter. With both teams shooting poorly, the quarter ended with Hazleton holding a 40-22 lead.
The third quarter opened as the second had ended, with both teams pushing the ball up the court, but not getting any reward at the end of the run. With the first score coming three minutes into the quarter, Mont Alto then made a run at Hazleton and cut into their lead. Four Prutsman lay-ups on consecutive possessions, a Berger field goal, and a Prutsman trey got Hazleton back into the groove and pushed the lead back up to 17 points. Another Prutsman layup ended the quarter with the score 59-42 in favor of Hazleton. Prutsman didn't let off the gas and sank a three point shot to open the final quarter to push the lead to 20 points. Mont Alto battled throughout the quarter but could not make up the the hole it dug for its self earlier in the game. Prutsman stayed hot through the quarter hitting for 11 in the stanza while Mont Alto's Julianne Noveras scored 12 pf her 14 points in the final frame. When the horn sounded ending the game, Hazleton found it's self on the top side of the score winning 77-63.
Statistically, both teams played evenly with rebounds, turnovers and free throws being very equal. Hazleton shot 40% (33-81) to Mont Alto's 29% (27-92) from the field goals but the problem for Mont Alto was shooting a season low 6% (1-16) from the three point line while Hazleton hit for 25% (4-16). As well, both teams turned the ball over 16-18 times, however, Hazleton scored 23 points of of those turnovers to Mont Alto's 10.
Hazleton loses Sophomore Shelby Berger next season as she will be continuing her education at University Park.