The Lady Barons walked away champions after a close game Wednesday at 8 p.m. with the Penn State Altoona Lions, ending 69-64.
From the start, the Lady Barons pushed hard, getting from offense to defense efficiently to stay ahead of the Lions. Freshman forward Estelle Leon finished off the first quarter with a buzzer beater, bringing the score to 21-13, Lady Barons. Leon scored 10 of her 18 points in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Lady Barons lost speed, allowing the Lions to catch up. But some quick maneuvers and scores from senior forward Cianna Vaughan in the last minutes of the quarter sealed the first half with the Lady Barons still leading by one point, 37-36.
The halftime consisted of a baton twirler performing a baton routine in sync with a speech made by late basketball star Kobe Bryant while dressed in Bryant’s colors of purple and gold.
The Lady Barons had a rough start to the third quarter as the Lions stacked up points, gaining the lead for the first time at 8:25. Picking up on defense, the Lions held back the Lady Barons through the quarter.
Regaining their momentum towards the end of the quarter, senior forward Rose Judge made a basket, rounding out the score at 56-44, Lions.
The Lady Barons returned in the fourth quarter recharged and on fire. Within the first two minutes, senior guard Kelsey Scott-Avery made a 3-pointer, which was closely followed by another 3-pointer from senior guard Abby Baierl. Baierl scored a team high of 11 in the final quarter.
Leon made the tie after an aggressive fight through the Lions’ defense. After Scott-Avery shot another 3-pointer, the Lady Barons reclaimed the lead and kept it through the close struggle that followed.
After several timeouts from both teams in the last minute, Leon made two free shots before the clock ran down and Franciscan won, 69-64.
“We knew going into the game if we could just impose our toughness and brashness onto the opponent, we would come out with the win,” said head coach Sean Kirk. “We played the game possession by possession and were able to come out with a program win.”
The Lady Baron’s next home game is Saturday at 2 p.m. against Penn State Behrend.