By Penn State Altoona Athletics
Penn State Altoona women’s basketball ended its regular season with an 83-65 loss to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Hilbert College on Saturday afternoon in the Adler Arena.
Hilbert (19-6, 16-4 AMCC), the second place team in the AMCC, had a strong showing at both ends of the court. The Lady Hawks held Penn State Altoona (14-11, 12-8 AMCC) to a 31.3 percent field goal percentage while shooting 46.6 percent themselves, and Hilbert also posted a 47-33 advantage in rebounds.
“Today wasn’t the way we wanted to end the regular season,” said Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Wilt. “Hilbert is a skilled team. When we struggled to put the ball through the rim, they executed on the other end.”
One silver lining on the day was Penn State Altoona’s pregame Senior Day ceremony, when the team recognized senior players Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel), Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone), Kassidy Sorichetti (Halifax, PA/Halifax), and Kaley Strittmatter (Williamsburg, PA/Penn Cambria). Each of the four seniors have been important factors in the program’s successes over the past four years.
“I really wish we would have been able to pull out the win for our seniors,” said Wilt. “This group is very special. I am so thankful for each of them, and ecstatic to watch their playoff journey and life after basketball. I have a lot of love for them.”
Alexis Cannistraci (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) led Penn State Altoona in scoring on Saturday, putting up 24 points while also leading her team with eight rebounds, four steals, and three blocks. Sorichetti tied her season-high for points, scoring 10 to go along with four steals, three assists, and three rebounds.
“Kassidy had an outstanding game. She played with an immense amount of intensity and made [Hilbert guard] Emily Gawlak work for every scoring opportunity,” Wilt stated. “She was equally assertive on the offensive end, too.”
Sydney Snyder (New Enterprise, PA/Northern Bedford) added nine points, four rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Sarah Huston (Coatesville, PA/Coatesville) brought eight points, three assists, and two steals off the bench.
Hilbert got a game-high 31 points from Gawlak, who also grabbed 11 rebounds. Taylor Corts contributed 21 points and three blocks for the Lady Hawks, and Ashley Repine had 16 points.
The Lady Hawks worked their way out to a 15-11 lead during a sluggish first quarter for both teams. After Hilbert opened on a 7-3 run, two Christine free throws and a Cannistraci layup tied the score 7-7 by 4:56. Two more Cannistraci baskets helped the Lady Lions to an 11-7 lead by the 2:31 mark, but Hilbert ended the quarter on an 8-0 run that included three-pointers from Corts and Gawlak.
Hilbert’s offense produced 29 points during the second quarter, helping the visitors boost their lead. Gawlak’s layup and foul shot opened the second period scoring, and free throws from Repine and Gawlak tacked six points on to their team’s total to give the Lady Hawks a 24-14 advantage. Corts’ three-pointer at 4:37 gave Hilbert a 35-19 lead, and Ashley Schroeder’s trey with 1:11 on the clock kept the difference at 12 points, 40-28. Penn State Altoona got a late three-pointer by Snyder, but the Lady Lions went into halftime trailing 44-31.
Hilbert had another successful period scoring the basketball in the third quarter, adding 24 more points on to their total. Penn State Altoona narrowed its deficit to 10, 51-41, midway through the quarter following baskets from Sorichetti and Strittmatter. But Hilbert used an 8-0 run to widen the gap to 18 points, and the visitors ended the third quarter with a 68-49 advantage.
Penn State Altoona outscored Hilbert 16-15 during the fourth quarter, during which Cannistraci scored eight points. But it was too little, too late for the Lady Lions, who suffered the 18-point defeat.
With the loss, Penn State Altoona takes the six seed in the upcoming AMCC Tournament and will travel to Buffalo, N.Y. on Tuesday, February 25 to face third-seeded D’Youville College. Tipoff for that game has been set for 7:00 p.m.