Penn State (18-9, 8-7) shot its NCAA Tournament hopes in the foot after blowing a 19-point lead on the road against Michigan State. Lady Lions guards Teniya Page and Sierra Moore led the team with 23 and 19 points, respectively, but it wasn’t enough in the 73-64 loss.
The Spartans (19-9, 9-6) turned it around on senior night with star Tori Jankoska leading the charge after a poor first half.
How It Happened
After a tight opening few minutes, the Lady Lions went on a 19-5 run starting at the end of the first quarter and continuing into the second period of play. The Spartans’ offense stalled out during that stretch, hitting just 1-9 as the game started to get away from them.
Penn State offensive production in the first half mostly came from two sources. Senior Moore and sophomore Page each tallied 13 points of 6-9 shooting through the first 20 minutes of play. The duo helped out on the boards as well in the first half, leading the team with five rebounds each.
Jankoska, Michigan State’s leading scorer this season with 22.8 points per game and the Spartans’ lone senior, couldn’t break down Penn State’s defense and finished the first half without a single point as the Lady Lions went into the break with a 40-26 lead.
Penn State started the second half by jumping out to a 19-point lead, but it quickly vanished as the Spartans went on an 11-0 run. Penn State coach Coquese Washington was forced to call timeout to stop the bleeding, but it only momentarily slowed down Michigan State.
The Spartans pulled within a possession after a 10-0 run to end the quarter.
Back-to-back buckets pushed Michigan State into the lead as the run continued to start the fourth. A jumper from Moore finally ended the Spartans’ 17-0 run and Teniya Page nailed a three-pointer to put the Lady Lions back up by one, but that was the last taste of the lead they had.
Jankoska led her team all the way back as Penn State missed shot after shot, taking many bad looks along the way, and just had no answers defensively once the Spartans got going. Michigan State was the more composed team down the stretch, registering a 73-64 win.
Player Of The Game
Tori Jankoska | Guard | Senior
She didn’t have the start to senior night that she wanted, but Jankoska was lights out in the second half — powering the Spartans to a huge comeback win with 21 points after not getting on the board in the first half.
The Lady Lions close out their regular season at home with the Pink Zone game against No. 25 Michigan. The game tips off from the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday at 2 p.m. live on BTN.