Lady Lions Upset by Sharpshooting Iowa
A top-ten ranking puts a target on your back.
A target on your back calls for the opponent’s best shot.
In their first game after climbing to No. 9 in the AP poll, their highest ranking of the season, the Penn State Lady Lions (17-5, 8-2 Big Ten) fell to the Iowa Hawkeyes (18-6, 6-4 Big Ten) 73-70, Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center in front of a crowd of 4,033.
“To come into No. 9 in the country and beat them on their home court is another whole task,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said.
To pull the upset, Bluder’s Hawkeyes shot 50 percent from the field while digging in defensively holding Penn State just shy of 39 percent. Freshman Ally Disterhoft led the way for Iowa with 24 points, shooting 8-for-9 on field goal attempts, 3-for-3 from behind the arc.
Penn State did not go without a chance at pulling out the victory as with 8.7 seconds to play the Lady Lions had one final opportunity. Trailing 73-70, Dara Taylor, trying to wiggle through the defense to hoist a game-tying 3, was fouled with less than two seconds remaining on the clock and before she established a shooting motion.
Taylor went to the line shooting one-and-one. Any opportunity for a tip-in and the tie, after a purposely-missed second attempt, was lost when Taylor couldn’t convert the first foul shot.
The 73-70 result was a back-and-forth affair that provided 12 lead changes.
Iowa made its final charge when trailing by five with less than five minutes to play. A layup by Theairra Taylor, followed by a Samantha Logic steal of Ariel Edwards, and a 3 by Disterhoft tied the score 68-68.
“We didn’t matchup in transition well, and they just spotted up and hit a couple of open shots,” said Maggie Lucas (21 points) of the final minutes.
Penn State led momentarily with 1:41 on the clock after Ariel Edwards buried a jumper to make it 70-69. However, just shy of 30 seconds later, Bethany Doolittle nailed a shot from the top of the key to put the Hawkeyes ahead for good.
“I thought when we lost the lead in the second half, we kept believing, we stayed confident, we stayed composed,” Bluder said.”
The loss snaps a six game win-streak for Penn State, five straight wins against Iowa.
Phil Constantino is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email PhilipBConstantino@gmail.com.
Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)