ERIE, Pa. – Jen Papich ripped off a season-high 26 points as No. 10 Gannon rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit to post a 71-62 victory against No. 21 Edinboro on Wednesday in front of 1,052 fans at the Hammermill Center.
The victory was Gannon’s first in the all-time series since an 81-67 win during the 2010 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) quarterfinals, snapping a five-game losing streak against Edinboro in the process. More importantly, the Lady Knights held onto sole possession of first place in the PSAC West, extending their lead against the two-time defending conference champion to two games with four regular-season contests remaining. The squad can clinch a first-round bye and a PSAC quarterfinal home game with a victory on Saturday against Clarion.
Wednesday’s victory was Gannon’s fourth in five games against top-25 teams this season.
Trailing 28-16, Gannon scored 11 of the first half’s final 15 points. Papich ignited the run with back-to-back lay-ups. Kelley Sundberg followed with a three-point play. After an Edinboro basket, Mollie Sebald cut the deficit to 30-26 with a 3-pointer. The Edinboro lead eventually sat at 32-27 after the first-half horn sounded.
The second half belonged to Gannon. The Lady Knights shot 56 percent (14 of 25) while out-scoring the Fighting Scots 44-30 during the final 20 minutes.
Edinboro stretched its lead to 39-31 two minutes and 46 seconds into the second half. Gannon then went on a 40-23 run the rest of the way. Brittany Batts began an 11-2 streak with her first triple of the evening. A Sundberg free throw and a Jennie Thies basket knotted the contest at 42 with 11:24 remaining.
The two teams traded blows for the next three minutes before Gannon pulled away. The Lady Knights turned a 48-47 deficit into an eight-point lead with nine consecutive points. Papich netted the final seven points of the run, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Edinboro tried to respond by cutting the deficit to 56-52, but Gannon went on an 8-1 rally. The big play was a Doriyon Glass cross-court layup while being fouled.
Papich added another layup while being fouled to give Gannon a 67-60 lead. The Lady Knights then converted 5 of 7 free throws during the final 1:36 to seal the victory. Papich led all scorers with a season-high 26 points and six rebounds.
Gannon shot 49 percent (24-for-49) from the field, 54.5 percent (6-for-11) from three-point range and 73.9 percent (17-for-23) from the free throw line.
Samantha Blazetic headlined the Edinboro offensive attack with 22 points, hitting 9 of 11 attempts. Darche’ Jackson and Kiara Brown added 17 points each.
Edinboro shot 38.2 percent (21 of 55) from the floor, 25 percent (3-12) from behind the arc and 94.4 percent (17 of 18) from the charity stripe.