The Bryce Jordan Center was packed full with brightly-clad fans on Sunday for the Pink Zone game as Penn State (19-9, 9-7 B1G) was hoping to send the crowd home with a victory and managed to storm back in the fourth quarter, finishing up its regular season by edging out No. 25 Michigan (22-8, 11-5 B1G) by the score of 76-75.
The Lady Lions trailed by as much as eight in the fourth quarter, but managed to claw and fight their way back for a win over the ranked Wolverines after Kaliyah Mitchell’s made free throw with under six seconds left broke the deadlock.
How It Happened
Michigan jumped out to an early 9-2 lead, but the Lady Lions clawed back as the quarter progressed to jump out to their first lead since the opening minute — going up 15-14 after the end of one period.
The Lady Lions got off to a fast start at the beginning of the second, but Wolverines battled back — heading into halftime down 37-35. Lindsey Spann knocked down three from beyond the arc in the first half to lead all scorers with 13 points.
Ashanti Thomas poured in seven of her eleven points on the day during a three-minute spurt for the Lady Lions to help them stretch the lead out to as much as 10 points early on in the second half.
Back-to-back three pointers from the Wolverine’s second all-time leading scorer Katelynn Flaherty and a dead ball technical foul against Peyton Whitted after her flailing arm hit the face of a Michigan forward helped the Big Blue get themselves back in the ballgame. The Wolverines channeled ther newfound momentum en route to firing off an 18-6 run to take a 58-56 lead into the final quarter of play.
Michigan continued its success to begin the fourth — pushing the lead out to 64-57 before Coquese Washington called a timeout for the Lady Lions with eight minutes remaining.
Penn State managed to cut Michigan’s lead to one with 2:45 remaining following a mid-range jumper by Page, but Sierra Moore missed a pair of free throws to give the Lady Lions the lead with 1:04 left on the clock. With a 75-72 deficit facing the home team with less than a minute to go, Amari Carter buried a game-tying three-pointer with 32.9 seconds to go. Michigan’s Nicole Munger missed a wide-open layup and Kaliyah Mitchell was fouled after getting the rebound with six seconds left.
Mitchell hit her first attempt to give the Lady Lions a 76-75 advantage, but missed the second. Following a successful rebound and outlet pass, Michigan had a late shot attempt by freshman starlet Kysre Gondrezick. Yet, the Lady Lions got back on defense and made sure the shot never had a chance to escape with an important win heading into this week’s B1G Tournament.
Player Of The Game
Ashanti Thomas | Center | Sophomore
The 6’4 center was perfect from the field, shooting 5-for-5 on her way to an 11-point day. To go along with her efficient shooting, the Lexington, Kentucky-native tallied three blocks and three rebounds, while Michigan’s star center Hallie Thome ended up fouling out.
The Lady Lions head to Indy for the Big Ten Tournament starting Thursday. Seeds are still up in the air, but Penn State has a bye through to the second round of games, which it will likely be the higher seed for.