Penn State Women’s Basketball Comes to Life Offensively in Rout of Illinois

Story posted January 17, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Daniel Maiorana

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State snapped a two-game losing streak and got back on track with a commanding 90-72 victory. Makenna Marisa and Shay Hagans led the way for the Lady Lions.
Penn State is now 8-7 on the year, heading to Northwestern to take on the Wildcats on Thursday.
Illinois fell to 6-9 on the season as it now heads back to the State Farm Center where it takes on Purdue on Thursday.
Hagans and the Lady Lions hit the ground running, as they got off to a first-quarter lead against the Fighting Illini. The full-court press proved to be effective as it kept the high pace going on both sides of the floor.
Marisa was on fire from 3 including a first-quarter buzzer beater. Her off-ball movement kept defenders guessing and left her open one-too-many times in Sunday’s contest. Twenty-plus points in nine straight games has made her a force to be reckoned with for opposing squads.

De’Mylah Brown did all she could on the offensive side, scoring a team-high 19 points, including three 3-pointers on the day.

Marisa had a game-high 25 points where she was money from 3. She was 4-8 from behind the arc, and got the crowd going on a chilly day.

Playing in all-but three minutes of the game, the Fighting Illini were not able to keep their mind off the red-hot shooter.

Kendall Bostic had 19 rebounds, with 12 coming from the second half alone. There were too many missed opportunities throughout the game for Illinois, giving Penn State lots of comfort in the paint.

Illinois saw some positives in the fourth quarter, as Jayla Oden and Brown knocked down a couple of 3’s to keep the Lady Lions on their toes. The lead was as low as 14 when it was once 30, making fans in the stands stress in the final minutes of the game.

The 3-2 zone defense of Penn State was proven to be effective, as the Illinois’ ball handler seemed to always be under great pressure. Playing almost the whole game in a full-court press, the Lady Lions kept finding ways to get easy buckets time and time again.

The Lady Lions seemed to take their foot of the gas in the fourth quarter, committing some ill-advised fouls. They did a good job of slowing the pace down and milking the clock so Illinois had no chance to come out with a win.

Illinois had 15 offensive rebounds, which is something coach Carolyn Kieger may note to the squad after the game, but the star of the show was Hagans.

“Shay set the tone early in the game,” Kieger said.

When asked about the full-court press, Kieger touched on their transition success.

“We had 45 points in transition which I call primary, and I know the girls love to play that way,” Kieger said.

Maddie Burke touched on Hagans two-way play.

“Her defense led to her offense today which was great to watch. It shows how much we have been working on our defense in practice,” Burke said.

Defense leads to offense, and offense is what the Lady Lions had in a commanding victory over Illinois.

Daniel Maiorana is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email