Lady Lions Unsuccessful in Comeback Attempt Against Rutgers
Coming off of a statement victory over No. 15 Ohio State, the Penn State Lady Lions looked to secure another victory over a top-25 ranked team in their matchup against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. In a hard fought game for Penn State, the Nittany Lions came up just short, losing to Rutgers by a score of 60-55.
In a brutal first half for the Lady Lions, they shot just 22% from the field while turning the ball over 12 times. Their 17 points in this half was their lowest total in a half all season.
At this point, the game looked all but over. However, a stellar 24 point third quarter from Penn State, which put them in the lead at one point, had them down by just one point heading into the fourth. This effort was led by guards Shay Hagans and Makenna Marisa, who seemed automatic from behind the arc.
The fourth quarter was very back and forth between both teams, until Rutgers went on a 7-0 run and never let go after that.
At about the four minute mark, standout Penn State center Johnasia Cash, who had a double-double in this game, rolled her ankle and was unable to play during the final stretch. This injury proved to be a costly one as the absence of a true threat in the paint was clear.
After the game, head coach Carolyn Kieger was unable to give a concrete answer on Cash’s status moving forward, saying, “I think she’ll be okay, but we gotta make sure that we assess that later.”
A potentially extended absence for one of Penn State’s most consistent players could be a massive blow and significantly hurt their chances in the Big Ten Tournament.
In the final seconds, another Shay Hagans three pointer brought Penn State to within three points, but star backcourt duo of Diamond Johnson and Arella Guirantes iced the game at the free throw line for the Scarlet Knights.
Even though Penn State fell short, their second half turn around was incredibly impressive and something they can for sure build off of in their rematch against Rutgers on Tuesday.
What was the main difference from the first half to the second? “Confidence,” said Kieger. She said the team “looked scared out there in the first half,” but played “fearless” in the third quarter.
The matchup against Rutgers on Tuesday will be the final regular season game for the Lady Lions as they look to head into the Big Ten Tournament with some momentum.
Jakob Schnur is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at email@example.com.