CUP Women’s Hoops Grabs Sixth Straight Win with PSAC West Victory at UPJ

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – The Clarion women’s basketball team continued its longest win streak in more than a decade with a dominant performance on the road on Friday, defeating the Pitt-Johnstown Lady Cats 83-61 at the Sports Center in their first PSAC West clash of the year.

(Photo of Tyra Polite. Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

The Golden Eagles (8-4, 5-1 PSAC) have not lost a regular season game since a setback against Walsh on Nov. 23, nor have they lost a conference game since falling in their PSAC opener against East Stroudsburg.

The six-game win streak the Golden Eagles are currently engaged in is their longest since the 2004-05 season, when they won 10 straight games – all against conference opponents – from January 8 through February 5, 2005. With their eighth win of the year, Clarion is just one shy of matching their season total from a year ago. They did not win their eighth game last season until Feb. 6, 2016.

Tyra Polite went off for 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the field, including a 5-of-9 mark from three-point range. Jordan Bekelja added 16 points and a season-high nine rebounds while Ashley DeLeonibus contributed 11 points and nine boards of her own.

The Lady Cats jumped on the Golden Eagles for a lead after the first quarter but Clarion answered back to tie the score at halftime. A 19-9 scoring advantage in the third quarter put the Golden Eagles in control and they held off a charge by Pitt-Johnstown late for the win. After giving up 40 points in the first half, Clarion held Pitt-Johnstown to just 21 in the final 20 minutes of play.

Pitt-Johnstown led by as many as nine points in the second quarter but the Golden Eagles made that deficit up in the span of just 3:30 to close out the half. Bekelja finished off an and-one with 2:44 left in the period to cut the deficit to 36-31, and Polite and Taylor Moltz drilled three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to make it a one-point game. Bekelja made one-of-two free throws with 20 seconds left to tie the score at 40 entering halftime.

Clarion opened the third quarter on a 5-0 run, with Moltz punctuating the rally with a three-pointer less than 90 seconds into the proceedings. Bekelja sunk a pair of free throws to make it 55-46 with less than two minutes remaining, and took a feed from Amesha Harden-Pullium and drilled a three-pointer with 40 seconds left to give the Golden Eagles a 10-point advantage.

Polite took a pass from Harden-Pulliam and laid it in with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter to make it 65-54, and the lead never again dipped into the single-digits. Deleonibus nailed a midrange jumper to up it to 13 points, and Polite capped the 8-0 run with a transition bucket off a steal from Harden-Pullium. Harden-Pullium made it 75-56 with two free throws and the Golden Eagles held the Lady Cats to just five points the rest of the way in taking the win.

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