WBB: Lady Lions Defeat Big Ten Opponent 82-66
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – The Lady Lions (14-7, 4-5 Big Ten) defeated Illinois (8-14, 3-6 Big Ten) Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center behind a season high 19 points from senior forward Sierra Moore. Penn State moves to 11-1 at home this season after the 82-66 victory over their conference rival.
Coming off of a loss to Indiana away from home on Monday night, Penn State looked to get back to their winning ways in the friendly environment of the Bryce Jordan Center. The Lady Lions took the first lead of the game after two made free throws from Sierra Moore, who would finish 7-9 from the charity stripe.
Illinois looked to get back on track after losing 94-49 on Thursday night to the outright leader of the Big Ten, Maryland (21-1, 9-0 Big Ten). The Illini responded to Moore’s opening free throws with two unanswered buckets to take their only lead of the game.
Employing the full-court press to start the game, the Lady Lions forced 12 first-half turnovers, creating easy points on the offensive end.
“We wanted to be aggressive defensively and we wanted to have active hands to try to speed the game up…and get out in transition,” Penn State Coach Coquese Washington said after the game.
Leading the push and setting the pace on offense for the Lady Lions was red-shirt freshman Amari Carter, who finished the game with 8 points and led all players with 8 assists.
In somewhat of a down game for Penn State’s leading scorers Teniya Page and Lindsey Spann, it was the front court that stepped up in the scoring and rebounding departments. Senior forward Kaliyah Mitchell, who was recently replaced by Sierra Moore in the starting lineup, provided instant offense off the bench and led the Lady Lions in points and rebounds at halftime. She would finish the game with 16 points and 6 rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
“I thought our offensive execution in the first half left a little to be desired,” Coach Washington said. “At halftime I really challenged our post players to have a presence out there, to have a bigger presence than they did in the first half.”
Starting center Ashanti Thomas only logged 3 minutes of action in the first half, but came out in the second half with something to prove. She set up shop in the post and attacked the offensive glass, snatching a few rebounds and getting to the free throw line. Thomas would finish with 5 points and 6 rebounds in 12 minutes of play.
Despite her team’s sub-par performance Sunday, Illini guard Brandi Beasley put on a show not to be overlooked. Playing every minute of the game, the speedy point guard dropped 28 points on 10-21 shooting and shot a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line. Beasley added 5 assists and tallied 7 rebounds, but turned the ball over 7 times.
From here the Lady Lions will travel to Columbus, Ohio to face the Buckeyes (19-5, 9-1 Big Ten) on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
Bobby Brown is a junior broadcast journalism major. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.