Lady Lion’s Defense Plays Key Role in Win Against Rutgers

Story posted December 10, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Walker Wiest

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions  came away with the win against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 52-48 and snapped their four game losing streak in a defensive showdown at the Bryce Jordan Center.

“We showed a lot of toughness. We battled, obviously it wasn’t pretty but the sign of a team that is maturing is being able to win in different ways. Our offense wasn’t there tonight but our defense was and as we continue Big Ten play we are going to need to find unique ways to win,” head coach Carolyn Kieger said.

Penn State’s defense forced the Scarlet Knights to turn over the ball 22 times and held them to 48 points which is the fewest that has been scored against the Lady Lions all season. The Lady Lions also managed to score 18 points off turnovers and led in fast break, second chance and off the bench points against Rutgers.

“Our defense led to a lot of energy and made us more confident on the offensive end. We had 29 points coming off the bench which was huge. A lot of credit to our team, we don’t win without Tova Sabel coming off the bench the way that she did and Shay Hagans. I thought they were the spark, they were the reason for the W,” Kieger said.

The three key players that came off the bench to help generate the win were Ali Brigham who had 13 points and six rebounds, Tova Sabel with 10 points making 3-4 free throws and Shay Hagans with six points and three assists.

“We went into this game knowing we had to pull that dub out. Like coach said, our offense wasn’t exactly there but we had our defense to rely on. We worked so hard on defense the last few practices and honestly this whole entire year so the fact that we could rely on that to get us through, we won so it worked out for us,” Brigham said.

Overall what won the game for the Lady Lions was their perimeter defense only allowing 2-13 3-pointers to fall and their scrappiness on defense to generate so many turnovers that led to transition runs and second chance points.

Shay Hagans said defensively she brings aggressiveness and that is something she would like to continue to do from here on out.

“A few games before I wasn’t all over the ball but coach told me in practice when I get aggressive and get over the ball it's gonna help out the team and bring that spark, so I listened to her the past two days and have been up on the ball practicing and it led to this win with the defense,” Hagans said.

The Lady Lions are now (5-5, 1-1) on the year and remain unbeaten at home. This Sunday at 2 p.m. they will go up against an undefeated Youngstown State (8-0, 4-0) who is sitting at the top of the Horizon League conference.

Walker Wiest is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email