Although plagued with foul trouble and a struggle from the perimeter, the #8 Lady Lions beat #23 Michigan 59-49 in Ann Arbor on Monday night.
The game began with a 5-0 run from Michigan after turnovers kept the Lady Lions from connecting on offense. This would be Michigan’s biggest lead of the game, though, as an and-1 play from Mia Nickson and a 3-pointer from Maggie Lucas led to a tie at 8 points.
Alex Bentley, who finished with 16 points despite going 0-for-7 from behind the arc, gained the lead for Penn State with a steal and a breakaway to push to 10-8.
Penn State converted multiple turnovers into buckets, gaining a lead of 32-24 at the half.
The second half brought about foul trouble for the Lady Lions, with three different players with four fouls early on. Sloppy play from Penn State gave Michigan a chance to catch up, and gain the lead at 35-34 with 14:45 left in the game.
Penn State went on a 12-0 run in 5 minutes and 30 seconds, starting with a jumper from Gizelle Studevent and ending with a breakaway from Bentley.
“We’ll take this ugly win and learn from it,” said head coach Coquese Washington. “One of the positives [from this game]is going on the road and being able to hold a team to under 50 points.”
Lucas, realizing that Penn State finished 16 points under their average offense, said, “We just gotta get back to our brand of basketball.” Lucas recorded 19 points of her own.
The Lady Lions are now 5-0 in the Big Ten (15-2 overall) and remain the only unbeaten team in conference play. They take on Minnesota this Thursday in the Bryce Jordan Center.