INDIANA, Pennsylvania— IUP women’s basketball put on another strong defensive performance and bounced back with a 71-53 win at the KCAC on Saturday afternoon to cap a busy week.
IUP (14-5, 9-5) pulled away from a slow start to beat East Stroudsburg (11-9, 7-7) by a 42-26 second-half lead. Alan Cardona In the first half, IUP provided a big spark on their return to the lineup, especially from across the arc, and finished with 18 points (4-4 3FG) and 10 boards for a double-double.
Maria Cerro scored a game-high 24 points with an efficient 10-for-13 shooting and scored 15 of those points in the second half. Leading by just two points at the break, IUP quickly extended the lead to double digits with a 10-2 goal streak in the third quarter.
ESU, led by an 18-point away game by Cassidy Saylor, reduced their deficit to just four points with a robust approach in the fourth quarter. Again, the Hawks responded with a crucial 11-2 sprint near the middle of the fourth to finally pull away.
Kiera Baughman added 13 points and four rebounds while Gina Adams and Terra Preston scored six points each. The win led to a two-game slip and allowed IUP to keep pace in a hard-fought Western division of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
While both sides endured revenue-struggling stretches in the first half, IUP stayed the course before surpassing ESU 22-16 in the third quarter. Saylor lifted the Warriors 6-4 at 5:44 of the first. ESU maintained control throughout the stanza while IUP kept their deficit below five. Back-to-back triples from Cardona took the score to 17 early in the second, opening a 14-2 surge that finally gave the Hawks the lead.
Cardona contributed three baskets from across the arc while Cerro added a three of his own to move eight ahead. The Warriors reduced the deficit to just two points by the break with three balls from Ryan Weise. Weise had 12 points and four rebounds on a bad night of shooting.
IUP eventually extended its lead to double digits in the third quarter with a transitional jumper and three from Baughman, pushing the Hawks 39-29 ahead. After the media timeout in the third quarter, the Hawks once again regained some separation by pushing the lead back into double digits. Janeira Scott opened a 10-5 run for the Hawks before the Warriors closed the gap again late in the third.
It took IUP just over four minutes to rebuild their lead back into double figures, but this time the Hawks finally took control. Anna Rafferty made her first college start for IUDs instead of Terra Preston, who finished with six points and six rebounds for IUP. ESU shot just 35.7% for the game and 26.6% in the fourth quarter, and also struggled at the foul line (5-16).
IUP travels to Seton Hill on Wednesday 1st February at 5:30pm
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