Keisha Hampton, DePaul End Penn State’s NCAA Tournament Run
It was a wild and entertaining game between the Penn State women’s basketball team and DePaul on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Both teams made big shots and both deserved to win the game. It just so happened that DePaul’s Keisha Hampton was the last player to make a big shot with 4.9 seconds left to secure a 75-73 victory.
“This was one of the most fun basketball games I’ve ever been a part of,” Penn State coach Coquese Washington said. “Unfortunately, someone had to come out on the losing end.”
That team ended up being Penn State after Julia Trogele’s last-second heave missed the basket. DePaul fought back from a 14 point deficit in the second half to eventually take the lead with 3:27 left in the game. The Lady Lions retook the lead on an Alex Bentley layup and stayed ahead until Hampton hit a jumper to tie the game with 1:30 left. Penn State’s Maggie Lucas scored her only basket of the game with 56 seconds remaining, but China Threatt tied the game up again. Hampton got fouled while taking a 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left and made two free throws to win the game.
“I shot the ball with confidence and made some shots,” Hampton said. When asked what was running through her head while taking those final free throws, she answered, “I can’t let our season end like this!”
Hampton finished with 26 points, 19 of which came in the second half. She hit several clutch 3-pointers to keep DePaul in the game. Felicia Chester was also dominant for DePaul on the inside, scoring 16 points on 70 percent shooting. DePaul worked their inside game after shooting just 3-of-20 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Penn State’s production was opposite to DePaul’s. In the first half, the Lady Lions got 12 points from Nikki Greene and nine from Trogele as part of 26 overall points in the paint. The Lady Lions shot 56.7 percent en route to a 38-29 halftime lead. In the second half, DePaul stopped Penn State’s inside game, and the Lady Lions had to rely on Alex Bentley for a majority of their offense. Bentley finished with 21 points, but the team shot just 38.7 percent in the second half.
Overall, it was a hard-fought, high-quality and emotional contest that was fitting for the NCAA Tournament. Nowhere was this more apparent than when a teary-eyed Trogele stepped onto the podium after her last game at Penn State.
“We fought extremely hard to the very end,” Trogele said. “I’ve been proud to be a Lady Lion.”