Hazleton, Pa. - Senior McKenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.) surpassed the 30 point mark for the third time this season, propelling Hazleton to an 80-65 conference victory over Penn State Wilkes-Barre on Saturday afternoon in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium. Prutsman converted four steals into fast break points in the first quarter to give the Lady Lions an early edge, and although Wilkes-Barre would keep the game close well into the second half, Hazleton would remain on top from start to finish.
Prutsman's defense would translate into 22 first half points for the senior and a nine point advantage for Hazleton midway through the game. The Lady Lions would extend that lead to double figures when play resumed but a 9-2 run by the visitors cut Hazleton's advantage to just four points. A clutch triple by sophomore Lauren Pataki (Hazleton, Pa.) put a stop to the Lady Lion's scoring drought but minutes later, Wilkes-Barre was back to within two possessions of taking a lead of their own. With 5:44 to play in the quarter, junior Mekenzie Wolfe (Grove City, Pa.) would take over for Hazleton scoring three field goals in the span of just over a minute to push Hazleton's lead back to eight points. Hazleton would finish the quarter on an 11-4 run to take a 14 point lead into the final stanza.
Wilkes-Barre would creep within nine points of the Lion's lead but Hazleton would answer at every turn. A nine point effort by Pataki gave Hazleton their largest lead of the day at 16 points, ultimately concluding in the 80-65 final score.
Prutsman would finish the day with a stellar 14-for-22 effort from the field, adding 10 rebounds, five assists and seven swipes in the game. With her game-high 35 points the senior eclipses 1,500 points for her career, becoming the third player in program history to reach the milestone. Lauren Pataki totaled 18 points in the win, adding five steals and four assists while Mekenzie Wolfe notched 14 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
Next up: Hazleton returns to the court on Wednesday, January 16 for a 7:00 p.m. matchup with Harrisburg Area Community College at Penn State Hazleton.