Lady Lions top Hoosiers for first Big Ten win
The Penn State Lady Lions (4-15, 1-7 Big Ten) finally notched their first Big Ten win, defeating the Indiana Hoosiers (12-6, 2-5 Big Ten) 79-75 Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. Five Lions, led by Kaliyah Mitchell with 20 points, scored in double figures as Penn State used a balanced attack to close out what was their most complete performance of the season.
“I liked it,” Penn State head coach Coquese Washington stated simply in her post game presser. “I think we’re a better team when we can get good performances from multiple players. This team has got a lot of players who can contribute in a lot of different ways.”
Penn State gained significant contributions up and down the lineup in Thursday’s contest. Sierra Moore cashed in 15 points as well as a team high seven offensive rebounds. Candice Agee was a force inside and accounted for 13 of the Lady Lions’ points. Peyton Whitted and newly healthy Lindsey Spann scored 12 and 11 points respectively for the Penn State.
Not only were Penn State’s scoring efforts better than they have been all season, but their rebounding was superb this game, especially on the offensive side, accounting for 23 offensive rebounds.
“We were really focused on [offensive rebounds] in this game,” said Whitted. “We worked in practice on going to the ball, jumping to the ball and not just letting the ball come to us and I felt like that helped us tonight because we got there first.”
Penn State was able to exploit Indiana’s lack of size throughout the whole game and that was one of the keys to their success. The size advantage showed in the box score as Penn State attempted 22 more shots than Indiana.
“I thought that their post presence was terrific and Mitchell had a terrific night for them, she’s a tough one to defend for us,” said Indiana head coach Teri Moren.
Penn State was up 36-29 going into the second half and used an early spark from Agee to control their lead. The Lady Lions increased the lead to as much as 13, but the Hoosiers started to chip away when they got into the double bonus with roughly six minutes left to play.
Alexis Gassion, who led the Hoosiers with 18 points, contributed 16 free throws down the stretch to get the game to as close as two points, but once again, Penn State used their presence on the offensive boards to stave off a last ditch rally.
“It was tough at first [to close out the game], but after the timeout we knew this was the time we had to be the aggressors and we were poised at the end of the game,” said Moore.
With the win, Penn State finally gets the monkey off their back in Big Ten play. The team had seen a long stretch of road games, but the Bryce Jordan Center seemed to provide the cure for their ailing play.
“I think some of it really is playing at home,” said Washington. “We’ve been on the road so much and played well, but there is just something about playing in front of our fans that helps you close out games.”
The Lady Lions take the court again this Sunday at home against Northwestern, with tip set for 2 p.m.. The game can be heard live on ComRadio.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Abby Drey)
Jack Milewski is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.