Hazleton, Pa. - It was a much needed win for the Nittany Lions on Saturday who captured their sixth victory in PSUAC play with a 79-51 home win against Penn State Wilkes-Barre. The Lions were on point for nearly 40 minutes Saturday, outshooting their opponent by 16 percent statistically while winning the rebound and turnover battles by a margin of eight in each category.
Hazleton jumped out to a lead with the first two field goals of the game and it was sophomore Cassandra Rodriguez (League City, Tx.) knocking in back to back triples moments later that set a positive tone for the day. Rodriguez finished the period with her third field goal of the game to give Hazleton a 19-10 advantage at the first break in the action. Hazleton would cool off to start the second period, ultimately going five minutes without a score, allowing Wilkes-Barre to get within three points of the Lions, but Hazleton would proceed to go on an 18 point run over the next five minutes of play that saw sophomores Rocky Curry (Darby, Pa.) and Ashley James (Weatherly, Pa.) connect on three field goals each. A late three from Wilkes-Barre's Hannah Cook stop the skid for the visitor but the Lions retained a healthy 18 point cushion at halftime. From that point on it was smooth sailing for Hazleton who tacked on 42 second half points. Hazleton shot 18-for-31 in the second half, expanding their lead to as many as 35 points in the final period win handily on their home court.
Rodriguez led Hazleton in scoring on the day, notching 19 points that included 5 triples. Three others finished in double-figures for the Nittany Lions including James, Curry and sophomore Azaria Johnson (Richmond Hill, Ga.). James ended the day with 15 points while Curry nearly captured her second triple double of the season totaling 14 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. Johnson tacked on a double-double with 14 points, 13 rebounds and three steals respectfully.
Next up: With the win, Hazleton remains in the chase for a postseason berth. The Lions will travel to Penn State York on Tuesday, January 24 for a 6:00 p.m. PSUAC eastern division showdown.