Saturday, December 11, 2010

Luckett scores 30 in loss to West Liberty, 88-83

INDIANA, Pa. (Dec. 11) – Despite a season- and career-high 30 points by junior guard Danielle Luckett (Chicago, Ill./James Hubert Blake (Md.)), the No. 25 California University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team suffered an 88-83 loss to West Liberty on Saturday afternoon during the first day of the Susan G. Komen Shoot for the Cure Classic hosted by IUP.

With the loss, the Vulcans fall to 4-2 this season after their win streak was stopped at three games. Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers improve to 7-1 this year after making the NCAA Tournament last season.

Luckett finished with 30 points on 13-of-23 shooting from the field and four-of-five from the free-throw line. She also collected eight rebounds (two offensive) and three steals against West Liberty. The 5-5 guard is scoring 14.7 points in her first season as a starter after averaging just 2.9 points over the last two seasons.

Junior forward Amy Johns (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) registered her first double-double of the season (second career) with 21 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. She struggled from the field, making just 9-of-26 attempts. Senior forward Kayla Smith (Elkins, W.Va./Elkins) finished with 13 points and nine rebounds despite battling foul trouble in the second half, while sophomore Megan Kermond (Adelaide, Australia/Unley) added nine points after hitting three treys off the bench.

West Liberty held a 41-35 lead at halftime before the teams combined for six lead changes and three ties in the second half. The Hilltoppers stretched their lead to 13 points, 52-39, before the Vulcans countered with a 13-2 run to cut the deficit to two points, 54-52, with 13:31 remaining. Cal U managed to take its second lead of the game, 58-57, when Kermond made a three-pointer at the 12:01-mark.

With the score tied at 79-79 and 3:00 remaining, the Hilltoppers scored on back-to-back possessions to take an 83-79 advantage before hitting five free-throws in the final minute to seal the victory.

After shooting over 56 percent in the second half, the Vulcans finished the game making 48.6 percent (35-of-72) from the field and 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from the free-throw line. In comparison, the Hilltoppers shot 44.3 percent (31-of-70) from the floor after making 13-of-33 attempts (39.4 percent) from three-point territory.

The trio of Johns, Luckett and Smith combined for 30 rebounds and helped Cal U out-rebound West Liberty by a 44-40 margin. However, the Hilltoppers forced the Vulcans into 17 turnovers and scored 22 points off turnovers.

Senior Tori Hansen paced West Liberty with a double-double of 29 points and 12 rebounds, while classmate Laura Malernee finished with 24 points behind eight three-pointers.

Cal U returns to action at the Komen Shoot for the Cure Classic tomorrow, Sunday, Dec. 12, when it faces Shippensburg at 1 p.m.

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