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No. 1 IUP women fall to Cal U | TribLIVE.com
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No. 1 IUP women fall to Cal U

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Down goes No. 1.

IUP, the top-ranked WBCA Division II women’s basketball team in the nation, was handed its first loss of the season, 61-56, against No. 13 Cal U.

Cal also knocked off the then-No. 2 Crimson Hawks last January, 62-53.

With Wednesday night’s home loss, IUP (15-1) is now tied with Cal (16-1) atop the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference standings at 10-1.

IUP was seeking its 16th straight win, which would have tied it for the best start in program history (1999-2000).

Redshirt senior Seairra Barrett (Central Valley) had 18 points and 10 rebounds, senior Jiahna Flood-Francis (West Mifflin) added 17 points, five rebounds and four steals, and junior Gina Vallecorsa (Bishop Canevin) had 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals for Cal.

With IUP ahead, 30-23, late in the second quarter, the Vulcans scored 12 consecutive points to take a 35-30 lead into halftime.

IUP cut the deficit to 44-41 on a runner from senior Carolyn Appleby (Greensburg Central Catholic) with 2:16 left in the third, and it was tied 46-46 heading to the fourth.

IUP, which battled significant foul trouble, led for a large portion of the final frame, but Cal U fought back to take a 56-53 advantage with just 26 seconds left.

Cal put it away at the foul line, making 17 of 26 attempts, despite senior Ana Hollen connecting on a 3-pointer for IUP to cut it to 57-56 with 14 seconds to play.

Brittany Robinson finished with a team-high 16 points for IUP.

Hollen added a season-high 11 points off the bench.

IUP gave away a season-high 21 turnovers.

Cal is the only PSAC opponent to have a winning record against IUP coach Tom McConnell (4-10).

Appleby became the fifth player in IUP history to top 1,400 career points as she finished with nine in the loss.

Bill Beckner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at [email protected] or via Twitter @BillBeckner.