Gophers' Comeback Attempt Halted in Loss at Juniata

Gophers' Comeback Attempt Halted in Loss at Juniata

HUNTINGDON, Pa. — Goucher's offense, stagnant throughout the opening 20 minutes, rallied to cut a 17-point halftime deficit at Juniata down to 50-47 with 5:36 left to play in regulation.

The Gophers, though, would get no closer, as the Eagles scored 14 of the game's final 19 points to pull away for a 64-52 victory.

Amaka Ezeani (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) led the offensive charge for Goucher (4-7, 0-3 Landmark), finishing with 21 points on 10 of 16 shooting off the bench. The junior forward also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, establishing new season highs in both categories.

The Gophers were forced to play from behind throughout the night after converting only one field goal attempt in the opening eight minutes. Juniata (4-9, 2-2 Landmark) jumped out to a 9-2 lead during that stretch, and that advantage was extended to its largest margin of the night, 35-18, heading into halftime.

Olivia Nono (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair) converted a layup 25 seconds into the second half to get things going, and Goucher would make five of its first seven shots, along with a 4 for 4 performance from the free throw line, in the half's first five minutes. The Gophers had a 14-6 run over that span to reduce the Eagles' advantage down to 41-32.

Juniata increased the lead back to 44-32 with 14:18 on the clock, but Goucher responded with an 8-0 run, capped by a layup from Dominique White (Lubbock, Texas/Potomac Falls), to get within four.

The game remained close in the ensuing minutes, and the last of Ezeani's 10 field goals made the score 50-47 with just over five minutes left. The Eagles, however, scored on their next two possessions to begin a 10-2 run that put the game out of reach.

The Gopher defense forced 24 Juniata turnovers, but the Eagles had a commanding 50-25 advantage on the glass. Fifteen of those rebounds came from Natalie Hager, and the junior forward also added five steals. Kelsey Livoti added eight boards, and she added a team-high 21 points on 8 of 11 shooting.

Jaida Scarborough (Baltimore, Md./Digital Harbor) joined Ezeani in double figures for Goucher, finishing in 12 points to go along with five rebounds and four steals. White, meanwhile, contributed four steals and a game-high six assists from the bench.

Twenty of the Gophers' 21 made field goals came from inside the paint. Goucher's bench also outscored Juniata by a 27-18 margin.

The Gophers return to the Decker Sports & Recreation Center for the first time in nearly a month on Thursday. They will host local Landmark rival Catholic, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.