MIDDLETOWN, Pa- Penn State Harrisburg continued its record-setting season by picking up the team's 11th straight win on Sunday, Feb. 12. The ladies' 70-55 besting of St. Elizabeth at the Capital Union Building was even more historic because it clinched the program's first-ever North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) South Division title.
The Screaming Eagles came into Middletown having won six of their last eight games and the visitors played the Lions tough in the early going. St. Elizabeth grabbed an early 3-2 lead when Cheyenne Grant (Sayerville, NJ/Sayerville) hit one of two free throws 58 seconds into the contest.
Penn State Harrisburg settled down and regained the advantage but the score remained close until a pivotal 8-0 run ballooned the lead to 25-13 following two foul shots from senior captain Dorothea Dixon (Middletown, PA/Middletown) at the 8:14 mark.
From there, the Lions stayed strong and used a balanced offensive attack to pull away from the Eagles, culminating with a layup by Amanda Moyer (Carlisle, PA/Cumberland Valley) just before halftime that gave her squad a 46-24 advantage. St. Elizabeth foul trouble led to 15 converted blue and white free throws in the first half compared to just four for the visitors.
The Lions' largest lead of game came when Daril Foose (Altoona, PA/Altoona) hit a layup 31 seconds after the break to push the advantage to 24 points.
But the Eagles made a push and used 9-0 run capped off by another Grant free throw to cut the deficit to a more manageable 13 tallies a few minutes later. Penn State Harrisburg repelled St. Elizabeth's offensive wave with a push of their own, building the lead back up to 23 with 6:18 remaining in the game.
The visitors again cut the deficit to 13 when Jade Wilson (Newark, NJ/Weequahic) hit a foul shot but with only 1:47 left in regulation, it was too little too late.
Foose returned after missing some action due to a shoulder injury and dropped 15 on the Eagles to go with her five rebounds and game-high four blocks. Dixon also scored 15 and grabbed nine boards, dished out three assists and grabbed three steals. Steph Yetter (Thompsontown, PA/East Juniata) and Brittani Guerre (Tobyhanna, PA/Pocono Mountain West) scored ten points apiece while Yetter grabbed nine boards and Guerre snagged eight rebounds and added six assists.
St. Elizabeth's Sabrina Jarmolinski (Lakewood, NJ/Howell) netted a game-high 17 points while Wilson was the only other Screaming Eagle to record double-digit points with 13.
The victory improved Penn State Harrisburg to 16-6 on the year and 14-1 in NEAC play. After starting the season 5-6, the Lions went on a tear and haven't lost a game since Jan. 7. Though they'd need some help, there's still an outside chance that the blue and white could host the conference championship tournament later this month. Regardless, the Lions now have another banner to hang in the CUB's rafters.
Penn State Harrisburg will travel to Penn State Berks on Wednesday, Feb. 15 for another NEAC showdown before hosting Wilson in the team's final regular season home game on Saturday, Feb. 18.