Lady Lions Outclassed by Conference-Leading Northwestern, Despite Impressive First Half

Story posted February 2, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Sean Barron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Women’s Basketball hosted the No. 23 team in the country and Big Ten opponent Northwestern. The previous matchup between the two teams resulted in an 85-59 loss for the Lady Lions. This afternoon’s matchup did not end any better for the Lady Lions as they lost their 10th conference game by a score of 82-59.

Penn State was locked in a tight battle in the first quarter as it took a 19-17 lead following the first 10 minutes. The Lady Lions continued their tough defensive play in the second quarter and held onto a 38-37 lead going into the half. Their first half success came from the ability to knock down three-point shots, as they connected on 66% of shots from behind the arc.

Penn State’s first half surge came from junior Kamaria McDaniel, who finished the half with 10 points. Along with McDaniel, freshman guard Makenna Marisa scored 8 points including shooting 2/2 from three.

The Lady Lions found themselves in a tight battle until Northwestern went on a 17-1 run in the third quarter. Led by guards Lindsey Pulliam and Veronica Burton, Northwestern took a 66-45 lead heading into the final quarter. Penn State was outscored 29-7 in the third quarter, partially due to its high numbers in turnovers.

The Lady Lions battled in the 4th quarter, but could not overcome the deficit created by a poor third quarter.

Penn State turned the ball over 16 times, which helped Northwestern take control of the game down the stretch. The main difference in the game was shooting percentage, as Northwestern converted on 50.8% of its shots while, Penn State only made 36.9%. McDaniel was the Lady Lions leading scorer with 16 points, while Northwestern was led by Pulliam and Burton, with each scoring 19 points.

Coach Carolyn Kieger discussed what is important in the rebuild process the Lady Lions find themselves in.

“It’s all about culture, in the first half we had it, second half we didn’t,” Kieger said. “Obviously, they’re not going to just become miraculously better basketball players overnight, but they can fix the culture overnight.”

The Lions fifteenth loss of the season comes on the afternoon that Penn State honored the 2000 Final Four Lady Lions team. The team was honored at halftime with a video montage detailing their historical run to the Final Four. The 2000 team had the opportunity to speak with the current Lady Lions prior to their game today.

“We were able to celebrate the 2000 final four team,” Kieger said. “They came in and fired our team up before the game and it was one of the most special moments, I’ve been a part of. We have a legacy here as a Lady Lion and we have to uphold it.”

Coach Kieger seemed very optimistic on the growth of her team and is looking forward to seeing her team have better success next season.

When it comes to the 2019-2020 season, the Lady Lions are 7-15 with seven games remaining on their schedule. Their next matchup is a Big Ten game at Rutgers on Feb. 6.

Sean Barron is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email stb5311@psu.edu.