Servello leads Mount past Lady Lions
Women's College Basketball: Mount Aloysius 80, Penn State Altoona 56
CRESSON — After starting her academic and collegiate playing career at Shippensburg, Lexi Servello wanted to transfer closer to her home in Hollidaysburg. Her choice came down to Mount Aloysius and Penn State Altoona.
Thankfully for Mount Aloysius, Servello elected to play for one of her role models in Kristi Kaack, who coaches the Mounties.
Servello, now a senior, poured in 16 points for Mount Aloysius in its 80-56 win over Penn State Altoona Thursday.
“It was a pretty easy decision,” Servello said. “I knew Coach Kaack; growing up she was my role model. I wanted to have that off-campus life too, so I knew this would be a good atmosphere.”
As appealing as having independence can be as a young adult, it’s all about finding the right fit when it comes to finding the correct coach to play for.
“We have a unique relationship because we’re both point guards, so we’ve had that bond from the beginning,” Kaack said. “I think the growth she’s had in four years has been amazing. As a point guard getting to coach a point guard like her, it’s been a lot of fun.”
In a game that Mount Aloysius never trailed, the Mounties started off with an 8-2 run — forcing Penn State Altoona to call a timeout just 2:35 into the contest. From there, the Mount pushed out a 9-3 run as the Mounties possessed a nine-point lead after the first quarter.
“We fouled a lot, but we were trying to get after it on the defensive end,” Kaack said. “We’re going to live with some fouls because we like to be intense on the defensive end of the floor. I thought we changed the way (Penn State Altoona) wanted to play on offense with our defense.”
The second half started off similar to the first. The Mounties raced ahead even further with a 10-3 run — forcing another Penn State Altoona timeout. Mount Aloysius led by 20 heading into the final stanza en route to its win to improve to 13-2 in conference play. The Mounties forced 23 turnovers — all while garnering 17 steals, thanks to a 2-2-1 full-court press.
“It’s my favorite; I love to play man and that’s when we’re at our best,” Servello said. “If you look back at our season, most of our points come off steals when we play that up-tempo defense.”
On the other side for Penn State Altoona, Brianna Polites had a team-high 12 points off the bench, while Alexis Cannistraci of Tyrone notched a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
The Mounties have now won four straight with three games remaining in the regular season. The final game happens to be home against Hilbert on Feb. 17.
If both teams win out, the Mounties could clinch a share of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference regular-season championship with a win over the Hawks.
“Every game that we play is our national championship,” Kaack said. “That’s what we’re calling it right now because no game is for sure in this conference. The idea that we could have Hilbert at the end (of the season) and end up hosting (the conference tournament); we would make school history. It would be amazing but we have to get there first.”
PENN STATE ALTOONA (10-10, 6-9 AMCC): Polites 5-9 2-2 12, Cannistraci 4-9 3-3 11, Burk 2-11 2-2 8, Zimmerman 2-9 3-4 7, Christine 3-11 0-0 7, Strittmatter 2-8 1-2 6, Laster 2-8 1-4 5, Fernandes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-65 12-17 56.
MOUNT ALOYSIUS (15-5, 13-2 AMCC): Kendrick 5-10 6-8 17, Wright 6-14 2-2 17, Servello 8-22 0-0 16, Bracken 5-10 0-0 10, Sammarco 3-4 0-0 8, Cordell 2-2 0-0 4, Parisi 1-2 1-2 4, Kulick 1-7 0-0 2, Robinson 0-8 2-2 2. Totals 31-79 11-14 80.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Penn State Altoona…..11 16 11 18–56
Mount Aloysius…………20 20 18 22–80
3-point goals–Penn State Altoona 4-22 (Burk 2-9, Strittmatter 1-4, Christine 1-5, Laster 0-4), Mount Aloysius 7-20 (Wright 3-7, Sammarco 2-3, Parisi 1-2, Kendrick 1-3, Kulick 0-1, Bracken 0-1, Servello 0-3). Fouled out–Penn State Altoona-None, Mount Aloysius-None. Rebounds–Penn State Altoona 49 (Cannistraci 14), Mount Aloysius 47 (Kulick 13). Assists–Penn State Altoona 11 (Strittmatter 5), Mount Aloysius 14 (Wright 3, Bracken 3, Kendrick 3). Total fouls–Penn State Altoona 14, Mount Aloysius 20. Technical fouls–Penn State Altoona-None, Mount Aloysius-None.