Penn State (19-10, 9-7 Big Ten) fell in its first game of the Big Ten Tournament to Minnesota (15-15, 5-11 Big Ten) 70-64 despite a historic day from Teniya Page, who scored 35 points and hit a milestone in the action.
The Lady Lions had no answers for Carlie Wagner, who led the Golden Gophers to a quick start and finished with a double-double.
How It Happened
Minnesota came out firing on the offensive end with five from three-point range in the first quarter. Wagner, after one of her weakest performances of the season against Penn State in early February, started with three of those from beyond the arc and 11 points in the opening quarter of play to give the Golden Gophers a 26-17 lead after 10 minutes.
Page was a huge help in keeping the Lady Lions in the game early — scoring 15 of her team’s first 19 points. Minnesota wasn’t as prolific from the field in the second quarter, and despite a dominant performance on the offensive boards, let its 12-point lead slip away toward the end of the half — ahead just 33-29 at the break.
A 9-2 run helped Penn State take its first lead of the game with just more than three minutes to go in the third quarter, but that’s the last taste of the lead it would get in this one. Outside of Page, the Lady Lions could not get their shots to fall — hitting just 23% of their attempts.
Wagner helped Minnesota get to this point with 26 points, but Kenisha Bell pushed the Golden Gophers over the edge. Her 13 points, most of which came down the stretch, closed out the Lady Lions after they managed to cut a double-digit deficit down to two. It was Bell’s three-point play that ended the 8-0 Penn State run late. The Golden Gophers held off the rest of the way, going on to win 70-64.
Player Of The Game
Teniya Page | Guard | Sophomore
Page hit a milestone to start the day. With her first bucket of the game, the Penn State star reached 1,000 points in her career — just the fourth Lady Lion in history to do so in their sophomore year.
She went on to have a big game as well, scoring 35 points for the third-highest points total ever in a Big Ten Tournament game.
Nothing’s official, but it’s almost certain the Lady Lions won’t be heading to the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight year. Penn State could possibly secure a spot in the WNIT, which would also be announced during Selection Monday on March 13.