MONT ALTO, Pa. – In a tightly contested matchup, Villa Maria College was able to pull away late in the fourth quarter handing the Penn State Mont Alto women's basketball team the 84-74 loss in their first game back from the holiday break. The Nittany Lions fall to 3-7 overall while Villa Maria improved to 11-3 with Saturday afternoon's win.
Both teams came out firing from three-point range in the first half with Mont Alto shooting 6-of-13 and Villa Maria 7-of-20 from downtown. The difference was a 15-7 run to end the second quarter by the Vikings, which gave them the 46-33 halftime lead.
Both teams began the second half running the floor in transition, but early turnovers forced a Mary Miller timeout with her team down 56-41 at the 6:01 mark. Mont Alto came out of the break on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to seven, but the Vikings were able to maintain their lead into the fourth quarter.
Mont Alto chipped away at the visitors lead by firing away 3-pointers with Charity Miller (Greencastle, Pa. / James Buchanan) catching fire and successfully cutting the deficit to 68-72 with 3:40 left. The Lions failure to hit free throws and stymie the Vikings game-high scorer Bianca Brown who had 25 points were the key factors in its inability to get any closer to four points down the stretch.
Penn State Mont Alto shot well from the field as the starters lead the way. Charity Miller (Greencastle, Pa. / James Buchanan) lead the team with 21 points, 11 rebounds and helped the offensive flow with six assists. Freshman Julianne Noveras (Gaithersburg, Md. / Gaithersburg) hit double figures for the fifth time this season with 15 points. Noveras was deadly from three-point range especially in the first half shooting 63 percent (5-of-8) from downtown. Senior Alexis Shaffer (Hagerstown, Md. / South Hagerstown) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 17 points and had a monster game on the boards collecting a season-high 23 rebounds, which included 10 coming on the offensive end of the court.
The Nittany Lions will try to turn things around in a non-conference road game on Jan. 8 with Hood College. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m.