Schuylkill Haven, Pa. - The Lady Lions won their third straight game on Wednesday night and improved their conference record to 5-7 with a 74-40 victory at Penn State Schuylkill. Spurred on by senior Mckenzie Prutsman (Jasper, Ny.) and sophomore Lauren Pataki (Hazleton, Pa.), Hazleton used a 23 point second period to build a healthy cushion and take firm grasp of the game, cruising through the second half to maintain their hold on third place in the Penn State University Athletic Conference's Eastern Division.
Schuylkill ended the first quarter on a 9-0 run to close the gap until Hazleton regained momentum in the second quarter. Prutsman and Pataki would combine for 21 of the Lions' 23 points in the pivotal period, connecting on 12-of-17 shots between the two to give Hazleton all the separation they would need in this one. The Lions would end the game shooting over 38 percent from the field as a unit compared to just 25.8 percent shooting for Schuylkill. Ultimately, the real victory came in the turnover department. Hazleton gave up the ball just eight times while forcing 29 miscues from their opponent, converting those turnovers into 34 points on the offensive side.
Prutsman continued her hot streak in the scoring column, totaling a game-high 34 points on the night. The senior knocked in a season best, four triples on the night, ending the game 14-for-28 from the field and surpassing the 30 point mark for the fourth consecutive game. Prutsman added eight steals and five assists in the winning effort.
Two other Lady Lions topped double-figures in the win, including Pataki and sophomore Devon Keiper (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.). Pataki finished the game 8-for-20 shooting for 19 points, adding 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season while Keiper registered 13 points, six assists and five steals.
Next up: The win keeps Hazleton in the hunt for one of the final two remaining playoff spots in the Eastern Division. With five games remaining, Hazleton will test themselves at a pair of Western Division foes over the weekend beginning with a 6:00 p.m. game at Penn State Beaver on Friday, February 8.