HAZLETON, Pa. – Phillis Fugah sank a free throw with no time remaining on the clock to give Penn State Hazleton a 73-72 victory over Penn State Brandywine in the Penn State University Athletic Conference women's basketball opener for both teams on Tuesday night.
After missing the first of two free throws, Fugah connected on the second to break the tie after time had expired. Brandywine nearly overcame a second-half deficit on consecutive nights, rallying from nine points down to take a three-point lead when Amanda Floyd (Glenolden, Pa./Interboro) drained a layup with 1:14 to go.
The setback spoiled a big night for Floyd, who poured in 27 points on five three-pointers and 11-of-24 shooting overall. She also collected four steals and four rebounds in 32 minutes of action.
Brandywine netted the first two points of the game, but Hazleton scored the next four and led the for the remainder of the first half, taking a 36-31 edge into the locker rooms.
The Lions quickly pulled within three early in the third quarter, but Hazleton countered, pushing the margin to nine late in the period following a triple from Jaclyn Hess.
Trailing 46-37 with 3:37 to go in the third, Brandywine began its comeback bid with a Floyd layup. She would score the next 11 points for the Lions, burying three consecutive three-pointers to vault Brandywine in front 48-47; however, Hazleton answered with five-straight points to grab a four-point edge through 30 minutes.
Hazleton swelled the lead back to nine points 1:06 into the final period, but another Floyd triple began a run of six-straight Brandywine points to cut into the deficit.
Facing a five-point deficit, Nikki Velez (Gloucester, N.J./Gloucester City) and Ginamarie McNamee (Aston, Pa./Interboro) pushed the Lions back in front as McNamee's free throw made the score 66-65 with 3:20 to play.
A pair of free throws from Erin Michael (Brookhaven, Pa./Sun Valley) broke a 68-68 tie and Floyd's 20th and 21st points of the second half moved the Lions' lead to three points with 74 seconds to go, but Scarlet Vargas knotted the score with a three-pointer before Fugah won it for Hazleton with her free throw after the final horn.
Brandywine's second-half comeback was aided by 17 Hazleton turnovers during the final 20 minutes, compared to just five for Brandywine. Velez collected a team-best five steals, while Michael posted three.
Velez added 12 points and Michael contributed nine, along with five boards. Ally Giannakarios (Brookhaven, Pa./Sun Valley) led the team with seven rebounds.
Brandywine (1-2, 0-1 PSUAC) plays on its home floor for the first time this season on Saturday when it hosts Penn State Lehigh Valley at 1:00 pm.