Lemont Furnace, PA - The young Penn State women's basketball team stepped up in terms of the level on conference competition over the weekend as they hosted the top two teams from the PSUAC East division.
Unfortunately, Fayette (9-5 overall, 6-3 PSUAC) dropped both games as it fell to Penn State Brandywine (10-6, 7-3) Friday night, 88-66, and to Penn State Lehigh Valley (8-8, 6-3) Saturday, 61-58.
Fayette kept it close early against Brandywine as it trailed 17-16 after the first quarter and 43-36 at the half.
However, the third quarter was a big difference as the guests outscored Fayette 32-13 to take control of the game.
The other difference was Fayette being cold from the floor. It only shot 29% (24-84) while Brandywine shot 56% (37-66).
"We did not shoot well at all Friday and did not play defense," said head coach Scott Hillen. "We just played a bad game against a good team."
Fayette turned Brandywine over 17 times, but it couldn't overcome its cold shooting, Brandywine's 52 points in the paint or the 25 points from the bench for the guests.
Kaitlyn Riley (Charleroi, PA/Charleroi HS) recorded a double-double as she led Fayette with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Brooke Poling (Perryopolis, PA/Frazier HS) and Dae-lin Burnsworth (Monarch, PA/Connellsville HS) also hitting double figures with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Brandywine's Nikki Velez led all scorers with 29 points.
Saturday's game with Lehigh Valley was close throughout as neither team led by more than eight points.
"Saturday, we played well on defense but had another bad shooting night," Hillen said. "We missed crucial free throws late and had good looks at the end of the game, but we just didn't finish."
Riley tied the game at 58-58 with 0:50 left, but Lehigh Valley hit three of four free throws down the stretch to close out the game.
Riley (19 points and 11 rebounds) finished with her second double-double in as many days while Anaejah Harris (Uniontown, PA/Albert Gallatin HS) also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds while Taylor McCormick (Laurel, MD/Eleanor Roosevelt HS) also hit double figures with 13 points.
Jah'nel Oliver led four Lehigh Valley players with 16 points.
Fayette's stellar defense turned Lehigh Valley over 25 times, but it struggled from the floor again as it shot 26% (20-76) while Lehigh Valley shot 34% (19-56).
With a week off, Fayette returns to action this coming weekend with a two-game road trip.
Friday night, Fayette plays at Penn State Schuylkill (5-8, 5-3) and at Penn State Hazleton (4-7, 3-4) Saturday.
Both PSUAC games start at 6 PM.
For more information on the women's basketball team, go to https://www.psfathletics.com/sports/wbkb/index or follow us on Instagram @fayetteathletics.