Penn State Women’s Basketball Stumbles to Northwestern in Play4Kay Game
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Coming into Sunday’s matchup with Northwestern, the Penn State Lady Lions hadn’t won a game in 18 days. Their last victory was against these same Wildcats. The blue and white hoped to repeat history in front of a sea of pink at the Bryce Jordan Center, celebrating survivors of breast cancer.
Despite the festivities, it was the visiting Wildcats who got the better of the Lady Lions, 77-72, sealing Penn State’s sixth consecutive loss.
Things started about as well as the Lady Lions could have hoped in the first quarter, mounting a 28-18 lead.
The opening period was marked by fast, efficient offense by Penn State, shooting 11-for-17 on field goals. There wasn’t much defense to be found for either side, but Northwestern left points on the board with some offensive miscues.
The Wildcats settled in during the second quarter, drawing within two points, 37-39. The Northwestern defense held Penn State to 11 points while forcing seven turnovers.
Offensively, the 3-pointers started to fall in for the visitors, shooting 3-for-7 from outside the arc in the second period. The Lady Lions didn’t put much pressure on their opponent, hitting just four shots during the quarter.
Northwestern set the tone in the second half, beginning with an 8-0 scoring run. Following a timeout, the Lady Lions answered back with a relentless 25-point onslaught to take the lead, 62-55.
The key adjustment in the third quarter for Penn State was the switch to an aggressive press defense that forced the Wildcats to make quick decisions, resulting in eight turnovers.
The fourth quarter saw Northwestern regroup and reclaim the lead, 71-68, during a 13-2 scoring run. There was no shortage of opportunities for the blue and white to come back, but their shots could not find the net.
Three-for-12 on field goals, 0-for-4 on 3-point attempts — Northwestern’s defense clamped down on the Lady Lions in the final period and cemented a second straight victory.
Penn State was outscored 23-10 in the final quarter, with the offense struggling to muster the baskets they desperately needed to stay in the game.
“I thought our shot selection was very poor,” coach Carolyn Kieger said. “We missed a lot of layups there in the fourth quarter — a lot of open shots.”
Kieger added that her squad needs “a floor general” to help put players in the right spots and create plays while minimizing errors.
Despite the losing effort, junior guard Makenna Marisa looked to be the future leader that Kieger was searching for, putting up 25 points, four assists and three rebounds.
“[Kieger] mentioned directing, and it’s something I’m working on,” Marisa said. “I’m going to go back, watch, get better and just figure out what went wrong.”
“We had a lot of communication breakdowns,” Marisa said. “It led to some of those 3-pointers for them, so that’s something we really have to hone in on and practice on to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Sam Woloson is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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