Over the course of a 40- minute basketball game, the slightest swing of momentum can be the difference.
That was the case over a six-minute span on Wednes-day at the Adler Gym in an Allegheny Mountain Colle-giate Conference battle between the Mount Aloysius and Penn State Altoona women's basketball teams.
Leading 7-5 with 13:54 remaining in the first half, the Lady Mounties went on a 25-3 run that proved to be the difference as Mount Aloysius defeated the Lady Lions, 73-57.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Penn?State Altoona’s Kelsey Heller tries to drive past Mount Aloysius defender Alexis Restori.
The Mount improved to 14-8, 9-6 in the league, while Penn?State fell to 2-21, 2-14 in the league.
"Starting slow has been typical for us this season," Penn State Altoona coach Donna Kling said. "By the time we get going we're already behind."
It was freshman guard Becky Bard that keyed the Mount's run, as she scored 13 of the Lady Mounties 25 points during the run, including three 3-pointers.
"Becky shot well and didn't miss," Mount Aloysius coach Kristi Little-Kaack said. "When she gets hot she can get to the basket and can be very hard to guard. For a freshman, she plays like a veteran and can be special."
Bard finished with a game-high 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while teammate Lindsy Sammarco chipped in with 13.
"She's like the energizer bunny," Kling said. "She never stops and once she gets going it builds her confidence."
Penn State Altoona's bright spot was its forwards, Tamara Thomas and Moira Corrigan, who combined for 24 points, 31 rebounds and six blocks.
"With Thomas and Corrigan inside, it creates an advantage for us," Kling said. "Thomas has some nice quick moves and Corrigan can be a wall inside."
After the Mount's run, it settled down to hold a double-digit lead at half, 41-24.
"It is mentally exhausting to look at the scoreboard and see the deficit," Kling said. "I am proud of how we hung in there."
The Lady Lions did just that, as they outscored the Mount in the second half, 33-32.
While Penn State Altoona is looking to improve, the Lady Mounties are working towards achieving a playoff spot, and Kaack said they will take the typical approach.
"We just need to focus on one game at a time," Kaack said. "Sometimes we can compete with the No. 1 team in the conference and other times we struggle with the last-place team, so we can't look forward."
The game aside, both coaches realize that a basketball contest can mean little compared to battles others are facing, proven by Penn State Altoona's Pink Zone event that was held during the game.
The event kicked off with a ceremonial tip-off by Valerie Brumbaugh, Kling's friend, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last October.
The program raises money to donate to the Altoona Regional Health System's digital mammography department, through T-shirt sales, raffles and all proceeds from the ticket sales of Wednesday's game.
"The Pink Zone initiative is more important than any basketball game," Kling said. "If we can win and make progress with cancer research, that's what is important."
"Sometimes we can take the game too seriously," Kaack said. "We have to take a step back, realize it's just a game and there are more important things to deal with."
Over the past six years, the team has donated nearly $24,000 to the cause.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday, as the Lady Lions host D'Youville while the Mount welcomes Pitt-Bradford.
MOUNT ALOYSIUS (73): Bard 6-16 4-5 18, Restori 4-9 2-2 12, Burkett 2-5 1-2 5, Sammarco 3-17 6-8 13, Rupp 1-9 2-2 4, Lechner 1-1 0-0 2, Bender 2-4 0-0 6, Tellish 1-5 0-0 3, Colmer 0-1 0-0 0, Brosnihan 2-5 2-2 7, Cox 0-3 0-0 0, Barto 0-0 0-0 0, Roop 1-6 1-4 3. Totals - 23-81 18-25 73.
PENN STATE ALTOONA (57): O'Toole 4-13 5-9 14, Hoffman 2-4 0-0 4, Seasoltz 2-6 1-2 5, Corrigan 4-10 0-0 8, Thomas 7-19 2-2 16, Heller 0-1 1-2 1, Stunz 0-0 0-0 0, Fissel 1-2 1-1 3, Strouse 2-8 2-5 6, Renteria 0-0 0-0 0. Totals - 22-63 12-21 57.
Halftime: Mount Aloysius, 41-24. 3-point goals: Mount Aloysius 9 (Bard 2-3, Restori 2-3, Bender 2-3, Sammarco 1-3, Tellish 1-3, Brosnihan 1-3, Colmer 0-1, Rupp 0-2); Penn State Altoona 1 (O'Toole 1-4, Seasoltz 0-1, Strouse 0-2). Rebounds: Mount Aloysius 55 (Roop 12); Penn State Altoona 53 (Corrigan 19). Assists: Mount Aloysius 17 (Restori 5); Penn State Altoona 17 (Seasoltz 7).
Records: Mount Aloysius (14-6; 9-6 AMCC); Penn State Altoona (2-21; 2-14 AMCC).