Cash, Burke Lead Lady Lions Past Wisconsin 98-74

Story posted February 8, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew McLaughlin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Super Bowl Sunday, the Penn State Lady Lions proved the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t the only team capable of dropping points on an opponent, dominating the Wisconsin Badgers in a 98-74 win on Sunday afternoon to pick up their fourth straight victory.

From the opening tip, Penn State pressed and made Wisconsin flustered in the early going, which paid off dividends in the second and third quarters. Overall, Wisconsin coughed up 22 turnovers compared to only three from Penn State, and that was just the surface of an outstanding team effort.

On the offensive end, the Lady Lions were swinging the ball at such a high efficiency that it was reminiscent of the old Magic Johnson-led “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers teams or the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls squads running the triangle offense. In transition, the Lady Lions racked up 33 fast-break points (only eight for the Badgers) and poked away the ball for 15 steals (as opposed to just two for the Badgers).

When Penn State gets out on the break and squeezes the life out of opposing offenses, this team transforms into one of the most dangerous squads in the Big Ten, but it can do damage down low too.

Johnasia Cash dominated the low post yet again. Coming into this match, she was averaging 22.8 points per game and 14 rebounds per contest over the last three games, and Sunday saw her put up 18 points, grab four rebounds and rack up four steals in just 16 minutes of action.

While that’s not an eye-popping statline compared to her averages over the last three games, Cash stepped up again and provided great offensive efficiency down the stretch to help the Lady Lions slow down the offensive tempo when needed.

As for Niya Beverley, the senior guard provided a huge spark on defense and facilitated the offense to perfection, dishing out five assists with no turnovers. But this game had a little more meaning for her than just another W in the win column. The former Wisconsin guard could not wait to face her former school and expressed to the media postgame how supportive her teammates and coaches were.

“It meant everything to me, my teammates and my coaches were just amazing and my teammates had my back the whole game,” Beverley said. “I felt I struggled in the first half but they told me to keep my head up.”

Meanwhile, Maddie Burke was on fire from 3-point range, hitting five of her eight attempts from downtown. Anna Camden elaborated on why it’s impossible to stop Burke when she gets hot.

“With Maddie Burke, she has such a quick release it is almost impossible to guard,” Camden said. “So when she gets going, it is 100 percent ‘get Maddie the ball.’”

As a result of the win, Penn State elevates its record to 8-7 overall and 5-6 in conference play while Wisconsin drops to 4-13 overall and just 1-13 within the Big Ten.

Although the rebounding numbers are something to be wary of (Wisconsin outrebounded Penn State 44-24), the transition opportunities generated via defensive pressure combined with the sharpshooting and efficiency of key players such as Burke, Cash and Camden could lead to this team dancing long into the warm March night.

 

Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mem6936@psu.edu.