Michigan Comeback Hands Penn State a Loss in Play4Kay Game

posted February 11, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Jake Starr

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- The Penn State Nittany Lions dropped a thriller to Michigan, 66-62, on Sunday afternoon.

A very nice crowd filed into the Bryce Jordan Center as Penn State hosted its annual Play4Kay game benefitting Pink Zone. Pink shirts and pink shakers were aplenty as the Lady Lions basketball team raised both money and awareness for breast cancer.

“This is probably our favorite game to play because we know the energy in the building and the support the community brings to our Pink Zone game,” Penn State head coach Coquese Washington said.

Penn State senior Teniya Page was honored for hitting the 2,000-point milestone prior to the game, and Page got things started for the Nittany Lions as she hit their first shot of the day.

The Nittany Lions continued to fire on all cylinders early on as a 12-0 run in the first quarter helped lead to a 16-12 lead after the first frame. It was 16-7 with just less than two minutes to go, but a 5-0 Michigan run to end the quarter made the score a bit closer.

Domination continued as Penn State came out of the gate in the second quarter with four straight points, all by Alisia Smith, to take a 20-12 lead. With Penn State up 23-14, Michigan went on a 6-0 run to cut the Nittany Lion’s lead to five. Page was able to make her way to the free throw line to stop the bleeding. After hitting both shots, Penn State was back up 27-20.

Two Hailey Brown three’s for Michigan in the final two minutes of the first half helped cut the Penn State lead to 30-29 as Brown was 4/4 from deep in the first half. As Penn State continued to struggle, Michigan took advantage, ending the half up 31-30. The Nittany Lions failed to hit a field goal for the final five minutes of the first half.

The big story surrounding Michigan early on in the game was turnover troubles, as they had 13 in the first half. They were able to clean it up on offense towards the end of the half and that was a big reason why they went into the half with the lead.

“I thought we had really good ball pressure, especially on the perimeter and I thought our perimeter defense, in terms of pressuring the ball, kind of frustrated them and forced them into some turnovers we were able to capitalize on early in the game,” Washington said.

Junior guard Siyeh Frazier played a big part in forcing those early Michigan turnovers.

“I just do what my coaches tell me to do, pressure the ball, keep her in front and contain,” Frazier said.

Following an incredible tribute to 409 breast cancer survivors at halftime, Page scored four straight points to put Penn State back in front, 34-33. The first half of the third quarter was back and forth with both teams trading one-point leads.

With the game tied at 38, a wide-open Amari Carter three put Penn State up 41-38, that led to a 5-0 run that was quickly stifled by Michigan to put the score to 43-41 at the midway point of the third. Brown then hit another three for the Wolverines to put them back in front, 44-43.

Lauren Ebo could not convert on two layup opportunities as time ran out in the third quarter. Michigan led 46-44 as the game’s final quarter got underway.

An Amari Carter jumper from the free throw line got the scoring started in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 46. Following that, Michigan went on a 7-3 run to jump ahead 53-49, leading to a Penn State timeout.

Page and Frazier quickly stopped the Wolverine’s run with back-to-back baskets to tie the game at 53, as the fourth quarter hit the midpoint. Michigan took a 55-53 lead, but Carter and Frazier combined, quickly responded with a corner three and layup, respectively, to give put Penn State up 58-55.

With Penn State up two with just under two and a half to play, Naz Hillmon spun her way to two points for Michigan, but could not convert the 3-point play to tie the game, 60-60. Hillmon then converted two free throws just seconds later to put Michigan up, 62-60.

Page was then fouled hard and went to the line for Penn State, she hit both to tie the game again, this time at 62.

Michigan jumped ahead, 64-62, and Penn State got the final possession after a Wolverine airball. The Nittany Lions chucked up two rushed shots that did not convert and Michigan corralled the rebound.

Nicole Munger was fouled and went to the line. The Doylestown, Pennsylvania native hit both free throws to put Michigan up four. A late Frazier three did not drop and the game ended with a 66-62 Michigan win.

“We didn’t finish the game,” Washington said. “We got a good look at the end to try to send the game to overtime, [we need to] keep working and figure out we can get those one or two possessions to close these games out.”

The Lady Lions are back in action Thursday night at Northwestern, tipoff is set for 8:00 p.m.


Jake Starr is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jas7954@psu.edu.