ABINGTON, Pa. -- Seniors Kelly O’Dell and Noelle Grande led the Screaming Eagles to a 60-55 victory over North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) opponent Penn State-Abington Friday evening. O’Dell grabbed a game-high of 17 rebounds while Grande notched 14 points for the Eagles.
Saint Elizabeth (11-12, 9-8 NEAC) scored on the first two possessions with buckets from NaQuell Simmons. Abington and Saint Elizabeth battled back and forth until CSE junior Cheyenne Grant hit her first 3-pointer of the game at 12:52 to put the Screaming Eagles in front, 11-8. With seven minutes remaining in the first half, Abington went on a 14-0 run and took the halftime lead, 35-21.
Saint Elizabeth opened the second half with a 14-1 run to get with 36-34 with 14:45 to play. Penn State-Abington’s Jaclyn Vandiver drilled a three to extend the lead to five, but Simmons responded with back-to-back layups and a free throw to tie up the game at 39 points apiece.
In the next eight minutes, the game was tied up four times with two lead changes before a jumper and two free throws by CSE freshman guard Amerisse Rogers gave Saint Elizabeth a four-point cushion.
Rogers posted another basket to give the Screaming Eagles the two-point lead with 1:42 left in the game. Grant then stole the ball on a tough pass to the post and passed the ball up court to Rogers who was fouled on the drive. Rogers made both free throws. Grande added two more foul shots to extend the lead to six with 38 seconds to play.
Penn State-Abington (9-15, 7-10 NEAC) attempted a final rally, with Trish Watson shooting back-to-back 3s, watching one fall through and the second deflected off the back iron, as the Nittany Lions were unable to find the tying score.
O’Dell finished with eight points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and six steals. Grant and Grande finished with 14 points apiece. Rogers completed the game with 12 points and three rebounds. The Screaming Eagles shot 31.9 percent (22-of-69) from the field, but forced 24 turnovers with 16 steals, which were converted into points.
Four Nittany Lions posted double digits as senior guard Trish Watson led Abington with 16 points. Junior forward Jaclyn Vandiver and sophomore forward Jessica Schmidt each posted double-doubles with 13 points and 12 rebounds along with 12 points and 15 rebounds, respectively. Abington shot 32.8 percent (20-of-61) from the field and 18.2 percent (4-of-22) from 3-point range in the game. Abington won the rebounding battle 49-45.
Abington shot 13-of-29 (44.4 percent) in the first half, and was 8-of-10 (80 percent) at the stripe. The Screaming Eagles benefited from seven second-chance points.
The Eagles, who are nearing a second consecutive NEAC postseason berth, close out the regular season Saturday at home against Lancaster Bible where the athletic department will honor two seniors, Kelly O’Dell and Noelle Grande, prior to the 1 p.m. start.