Penn State (14-7, 4-5 Big Ten) hosted Illinois Sunday following a loss to Indiana on the road last Monday. The Illini (8-14, 3-6 Big Ten) haven’t won a game on the road this season and leave Happy Valley with their away losing streak extended another day as the Lady Lions defeated Illinois 82-66.
How It Happened
Penn State got off to a quick start from the field, making 5-6 of its opening looks and taking an early 12-6 lead. Solid defense and a full-court press led to multiple steals for fast break points from Sierra Moore in the first five minutes. After coming out cold, the Illini went on a 7-0 run in the final few minutes of the first to close the quarter at 21-18 Penn State.
After more than a two-minute long cold streak, bleeding over from the first into the second quarter, Teniya Page ended the silence by sinking a three and rallied the team. Illini guard Brandi Beasley gave the Lions headaches for the majority of the first half — scoring 12 points and snagging four rebounds. Good ball movement by Illinois seemed to rattle the Lions momentarily, but as the half wound down the Lions extended their lead to 46-39.
Both the Lady Lions and Illini shot 52% from the field and 100% from the foul line in the first half. Penn State’s bench scored 20 of its 46 points with forward Kaliyah Mitchell contributing 11 of those points herself.
Penn State started off hot again early in the second half with good shooting from Page and completed an and-one play by Moore. Brandi Beasley continued to have her way with the Lions defense — just too fast for Penn State to pick up before she drove to the bucket on multiple occasions. A few fast breaks again let the Lady Lions maintain their lead over the Illini, pushing their lead to 63-53 at the end of the third.
The pace of the game slowed down significantly in the fourth quarter with Penn State adding another ten points to the lead in the first three minutes. The Illini did not score at all as the lead grew to 73-53 Penn State with six minutes left. The Illini would not get within ten points of the Lions as Penn State held on to its lead and finished the game 82-66.
Player Of The Game
Sierra Moore | Guard | Redshirt Senior
Moore finished with 19 points — a season-high and career-best for a Big Ten game.
Next for the Lady Lions is a matchup on Wednesday at 7 p.m. with the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus.