MIDDLETOWN, Pa- Following Penn State Harrisburg's blowout win over Keuka on Jan. 15, Head Coach Ross Patrick and senior captain Dorothea Dixon (Middletown, PA/Middletown) looked over the team's remaining schedule and made plans then and there to finish out the season without another loss.
The Lions are now just one victory away from achieving that lofty goal. The ladies raced out to a 14-0 lead over the visitors from Wilson and never looked back en route to a dominant 91-46 win. Monet Cunningham (Highspire, PA/Bishop McDevitt) led the way offensively for the blue and white, netting 26 points, with 21 of them coming in the first half.
The game within a game was the shootout between Cunningham and Phoenix guard Tara Fields (Berryville, VA/Clarke County). The two went back and forth for most of the first half in a battle of one-upmanship. Fields scored 15 of her game-high 28 points in the first 20 minutes. Her impressive early performance included an array of tough turnaround and fall away jumpers.
But Cunningham, in her last home game wearing the blue and white, wouldn't be outdone. The ex-Crusader put on a long range exhibition and went a perfect 5-5 from beyond the arc with two of those three-balls netted with a hand in her face. Most importantly, her team owned the scoreboard advantage and took a commanding 51-25 lead into the break.
Amanda Moyer (Carlisle, PA/Cumberland Valley) and Steph Yetter (Thompsontown, PA/East Juniata) picked up where Cunningham left off in the second half as the pair of juniors combined for 21 of the Lions' 40 second stanza points. Moyer put the exclamation point on the rout when she converted an easy layup off a Dixon assist to give the ladies a 45-point lead, their largest of the night, with 19 seconds left in regulation.
The difference in the contest was Penn State Harrisburg's ability to get production inside. The Lions amassed 38 points in the paint while Wilson managed just 14; only two of those tallies came in the second half.
Cunningham grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists to go along with her team-high point total. Yetter was extremely efficient, dropping 17 on the Phoenix on just 7-9 shooting from the field. Moyer dominated inside, scoring 17 and corralling a game-high ten boards. Dixon filled up her stat sheet nicely with nine points, a game-high ten assists, seven rebounds and five steals. Daril Foose (Altoona, PA/Altoona) recorded a game-high six blocks and Brittani Guerre (Tobyhanna, PA/Pocono Mountain West) chipped in with ten points.
It seems the Lions have forgotten how to lose. With the win over Wilson, Penn State Harrisburg improved its recent win-streak, a school-record, to 13 games and tied the program's mark for most victories in a season with 18.
The last time the ladies lost a contest was nearly six weeks ago when they fell to North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) rival and league tournament host SUNYIT on Jan. 7. With a 16-1 conference record, the close loss to the Wildcats is the team's only defeat in NEAC play. The Lions have taken out their frustrations on every opponent since, defeating all-comers by an average margin of 13 points per game.
"There's no reason we shouldn't finish the year 19-6," said Patrick to Dixon a month ago. "Let's go do it."
"Let's do it," replied Dixon.
There's no doubt they're doing it.
Penn State Harrisburg's regular season finale takes place tomorrow, Feb. 19, at Penn State Abington. The Lions will travel to SUNYIT for next weekend's NEAC championship tournament with revenge on their minds.