Nov. 17 - ERIE, Pa. – Tournament MVP Jess Winemiller hit the game-winning jumper with just three seconds on the clock to give Juniata (Pa.) College a 53-51 victory over the Bethany College women’s basketball team Saturday in the title game of the Penn State Behrend Tournament.
BC freshman Kelly Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) opened the game with a three-pointer, but it would the Bison’s final lead of the day. The Eagles led by as many as eight on two separate occasions in the first half, including a 19-11 advantage with 10:53 to go before the break. Bethany was able to get within three at 24-21 late in the half, but a three-point play by Juniata’s Jen Hnatuck with 55 seconds left sent the Eagles into halftime with a 27-21 lead.
Bethany was ice cold from the field in the opening period, hitting just 6-of-22 attempts (27%) while also committing 16 turnovers. The Green and White stayed in the game by forcing 15 Eagle miscues.
Consecutive scores by Winemiller early in the second half allowed Juniata to take their largest lead of the game at 34-25 with just four minutes gone. Bethany vaulted themselves right back into the game with a 10-1 run to even the score at 35-35. Senior guard Lisa Mitchell (Burgettstown, Pa./Avella) had a three-point play during the spurt and Kelly Goode tied the score with a pair of foul shots with 13:06 remaining.
Juniata would surge out to a 48-41 advantage with five minutes to play, but the Bison rallied again. Freshman guard Stacy Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) began an 8-1 run with a jumper, then tied the game at 49-49 with two free throws with 2:35 to play. Juniata would get two free throws to reclaim the lead for a short time until junior center Renee Brandenburg (Avella, Pa.) knotted the score again at 51 on a layup with two minutes to play, which set up the thrilling finish.
Neither team executed well in the final minutes, as the Eagles had three turnovers and BC made two. The Bison had a chance for the lead but missed a jumper with 11 seconds left. Juniata pulled down the rebound and called timeout to set up the final play. The ball ended up in Winemiller’s hands and she canned a jumper with just three ticks on the clock. Bethany was unable to get a final shot up and the Eagles came away with the hard-fought 53-51 triumph.
Bethany had two players hit for 11 points to lead the offense. Mitchell, who also had five rebounds, and Stacy Goode, who recorded five rebounds, three assists and three steals, paced the BC offense in scoring and earned All-Tournament team honors for their efforts over the weekend.
In addition to the game-winning hoop, Winemiller totaled 14 points on her way to MVP laurels. Joining her on the All-Tournament Team was Kelly Ashcroft, who had 12 markers and 10 boards in the win.
The Bison return to the floor again Tuesday night when they host Mount Union (Ohio) College in their home opener. The Purple Raiders are also 1-1 after defeating Case Western Reserve (Ohio) University and losing to Carnegie Mellon (Pa.) University over the weekend. Tuesday’s tip-off at Hummel Field House is slated for 6 p.m.