Catholic Edged in Overtime by No. 17 Juniata

Catholic Edged in Overtime by No. 17 Juniata

WASHINGTON — The Catholic University of America women's basketball team nearly knocked off the unbeaten and No. 17 nationally-ranked Juniata Eagles, but were edged in overtime, 61-54.

The Catholic defense hounded Juniata as the Cardinals forced the Eagles into 23 turnovers with 18 steals, but Juniata was able to battle through in the final three periods to earn the win.

Seniors Payton Smith and Briana Bull led the way for Catholic as the Cards nearly pulled off the upset despite being limited to 34-percent shooting from the field and two 3-pointers.

Smith posted a team-high 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting with three assists while Bull pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds along with five steals, two assists and five points. 

Sophomore Megan Stafford also had a strong line with 10 points, six rebounds and three steals.

Catholic led, 15-10, after the first period and took a five-point lead into the break as each team posted 14 points in the second.

Juniata slowly chipped away at the Catholic lead and re-took the advantage with just over two minutes to play in regulation. A free throw with 30 seconds had the Eagles up two and Catholic needing a basket.

With just 20 seconds left, Bull trigged the perfect pass to a cutting Smith who laid it in to tie the game. Catholic then stood tall on the final Juniata possession as their layup would not go down. 

Juniata kept it going late however as they scored off the tip in overtime. A free throw and subsequent jumper by Stafford twice cut the Eagles' advantage to one but the Cardinals could get no closer.

Juniata's Dani Atkinson led all scorers with 17 points and was one of four eagles with double-digit points. 

Catholic caps its five-game homestand this Wednesday, January 10, at 7 p.m., when the Cardinals host Elizabethtown.

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