Lady Lions Top IUP in Exhibition
Despite up and down play for most of the game, the Penn State Lady Lions defeated IUP 75-71 in their season opening scrimmage at the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday. The Lions were led by Sierra Moore, the transfer from Duke, who scored 18 points in the victory.
The game had its fair share of turnovers and the Lady Lions fell into foul trouble early and often in the first half. IUP put a scare into the team shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc, and trading the lead with Penn State for most of the second half. However, the Lady Lions were able to ride a 12-2 run late in the second half and used it to secure a win in their season opener.
The Lady Lions, who are only returning one player, had a surprising output on the offensive end, with four players registering double digit points. Along with Moore, Lindsey Spann (14), Kaliyah Mitchell (12) and Jenny DeGraaf (11) led the 75-point total. For a team who saw many of its top players leave, finding scoring depth is key, and maybe something that they didn’t expect to find so early on in the season.
“That’s another pleasant surprise of this team, we don’t necessarily have that one player we have to rely on but we can get production from a lot of people,” said head coach Coquese Washington.
Although the game was up and down, Penn State found consistent play on the boards, especially the offensive boards. Penn State had 48 rebounds, 18 of which came offensively.
“Well I think we can be a pretty good rebounding team,” said Washington. “I think we can use our size to impact the boards.”
Penn State came out strong in the first half, causing IUP to turn the ball over numerous times and an early 17-7 lead after the first seven minutes of play. After that the tables turned as IUP used their three-point shooting to claw their way back into the game. The costly fouling of Penn State also helped IUP close the gap and the Lady Lions took a 37-33 led into halftime.
IUP actually grabbed a brief lead at the beginning of the second half, but Penn State slowly wore them down and ended the game with the collective strong play of Spann and Moore, both of whom sat out last season for different reasons.
“It was a great feeling to finally get out there,” said Spann. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been out there but for it to be my first college game it was a great experience and I enjoyed it.”
Although exhibitions usually don’t produce major story lines, this one had a fairly large one built in as Penn State great Kelly Mazzante made her return to the Bryce Jordan Center as an assistant coach for IUP. Mezzante was honored during the first half and received a warm welcome from the 3,327 in attendance.
“We were in the middle of talking to the kids so I didn’t have a chance to enjoy [the welcome] but I loved my career here and it was nice to be back,” said Mezzante.
Penn State has almost two weeks off until their season opener against Towson on Friday, November 14th. The game is set for a noon tip-off and will be played at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Jack Milewski is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.