Lady Lions pick up second straight conference win

Story posted January 25, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by Tyler Zulli

The Bryce Jordan Center crowd collectively held its breath as the Northwestern Wildcats (14-5, 4-4 B1G) ran the floor as quickly as they could, the clock working against them. As Lydia Rhode’s shot from just inside the arc knocked off the front iron and was collected by Alex Harris, Penn State fans erupted, as they’re Lady Lions (5-15 overall, 2-7 Big Ten) picked up their second consecutive Big Ten victory of the season.

It wasn’t the prettiest of wins for the Lady Lions, but it was one the head coach Coquese Washington will happily take. It was, however, a game that looked like it could come down to the wire from the outset.

Back and forth the Lady Lions and the Wildcats went in the first twenty minutes of play, trading leads, and more importantly, runs, as both teams saw spurts of offensive dominance through the first half.  In fact, the largest Penn State lead in the first half, eight, came on the strength of a 23-10 run. That run came after the Wildcats jumped out to a 15-8 lead, knocking down a pair of threes on their first two possessions.

Those two three pointers, however, were the highlight of the first half shooting for the Wildcats, who went cold from beyond the arc, hitting just three of their next 11 three pointers. The shooting woes followed Northwestern inside the paint as well, as they shot just over 30 percent from the field as a team in the first half.

Northwestern was led by guards Chrisen Inman and Maggie Lyon, who scored 12 and 10 points respectively in the first half. Lyon led all scorers in the game with 20 points. Inman, however, was far more successful from the field in terms of shooting percentage, knocking down four of her first nine shots from the field.

Despite the Lady Lions holding opponents to a low shooting percentage, Washington still believes her team can do a better job without the ball.

“I still think we can do a better job of holding our opponent’s points production down,” Washington said. “I think a lot of that comes from the free throw line. I think we’re giving them too many points.”

The Lady Lions closed out the first half shooting significantly better from the field, as they knocked down nearly 52 percent of their shots. They were paced by Sierra Moore, who scored nine points in the first twenty minutes on three of eight shooting. Moore finished the day as the leading scorer for the Lady Lions, picking up 18 points.

The second half was more of the same from the two teams that, despite being separated by 9.5 games in the win-loss column, battled throughout, continually swapping leads.

The Wildcats took the lead with six minutes remaining, and looked to grab a certain amount of momentum, playing solid defense, forcing the Lady Lions to commit 18 turnovers in the contest, including nine from normally sure-handed Lindsey Spann and Sierra Moore.

The Lady Lions, however, motivated by the grit and determination by Alex Harris, who recorded a double-double, dominating the glass, picking up 10 rebounds and adding 11 points, stormed back and took the lead for good with just seconds left in the contest.

All in all, the Lady Lions had five players finish in double figures, and Coquese Washington was more than pleased with spreading the wealth.

“When you have the ability to score points, and get in the seventies, you’ve got a chance,” said Washington.

The Lady Lions will be back in action Wednesday, as they head to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers.

Tyler Zulli is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email Tzull34@gmail.com.