Penn State (17-8, 7-6 Big Ten) pulled away from Purdue in the fourth quarter with a dominant effort from the foul line in a 79-73 win on senior day at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Boilermakers (15-11, 6-6 Big Ten) had know answers for the Lady Lions on the drive — who earned 34 trips to the line and hit 79% of their attempts. Penn State’s seniors played a big role in the win on their day with each finishing in double figures.
How It Happened
For the first time this season, all three seniors — Peyton Whitted, Kaliyah Mitchell, and Sierra Moore — were in the Lady Lions’ starting five. They tallied 14 of the team’s 24 points in the first quarter, but it was hot shooting late in the opening period that helped the finish with a two-point lead.
Purdue was pretty successful from the field as well in the first half — Going 53% shooting and knocking down five attempts from three-point range. Peyton Whitted’s team-high 11 points in the first half weren’t enough to give the Lady Lions a halftime lead as Purdue went into the break ahead 42-38.
Penn State went on a 7-0 run at the beginning of the third quarter to regain some control of this clash. The Lady Lions went back and forth with the Boilermakers for the rest of the period, but tenacious play from Moore helped Penn State finish strong.
The senior guard did much of the team’s dirty work — creating a presence on the low post and getting to the free throw line on the final two trips down the floor to take Penn State into the fourth leading 56-53.
The Lady Lions opened up a lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter by driving and earning trips to the foul line. Between Moore, Teniya Page, and Ashanti Thomas getting buckets in the paint as well as getting to the free throw line, Penn State opened up a double-digit lead with less than four minutes remaining in the game.
Penn State edged out the Boilermakers down the stretch to secure a third-straight win 79-73.
Player Of The Game
Penn State’s three seniors were essential on the day, but have also been crucial in the changing of guard within a young team. Moore, Mitchell, and Whitted helped the program through a pair of tough years to get back to being a team in postseason contention. Their leadership has been key in progressing along a team with several underclassmen stars.
“They represent what we want a true student-athlete to represent,” coach Coquese Washington said. “Tey get after in the classroom and then they come on the practice court and give their all, give the best that they have to give on the athletic fields.”
Against Purdue, all three scored in double figures. Mitchell finished with a double-double, Moore was all over the court, and Whitted was big on the defensive end to help the team grab an impressive win.
The Lady Lions go back on the road Tuesday to take on Illinois. Tipoff in Champaign is at 8 p.m. and can be seen live on BTN Plus.