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Lady Lions Advance to Championship Game in Junkanoo Jam

The Lady Lions have joined the men’s basketball team in advancing to the championship games of their respective Thanksgiving weekend tournaments. Currently ranked 14th in the nation, the Lady Lions faced off against Oregon State last night in Freeport, a town on the island of Grand Bahama, defeating the Beavers 61-56 in the first round of the four-team Junakajoo Jam Championship tournament.

While the score would lead you to believe that it was a relatively close game, Penn State dominated after going down by as many as 9 points late in the first half, going on a 22-3 run that carried into the second half and gave the Lady Lions a lead that they would hold on to for the remainder of the matchup.

Seniors Maggie Lucas, Dara Taylor, and Ariel Edwards led the offense for the Lady Lions. Lucas had a game-high 17 points along with five rebounds and a steal on her 22nd birthday. She was followed by Taylor who had 10 points, six assists, and three steals while Edwards added 10 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.

At the start of the game, both sides went back and forth until Oregon State took control, posting an 8-0 run to bring the score to 13-5. Candice Agee answered with two straight shots to cut the deficit in half with twelve minutes left in the first half, but the Beavers went on an 8-3 run and looked to have Penn State’s number in the early going.

The Lady Lions regrouped and fought back at the end of the first half. Lucas scored five points off of a three-pointer and a pair of free throws. Talia East followed with a rebound and a put-back and Edwards made one of two free throws to bring the score to 25-24 in favor of Oregon State. Lucas scored another two free throws to give the Lady Lions a lead, but it was short-lived as the Beavers hit a shot as time expired to enter the half with a 27-26 advantage.

Penn State kept the momentum going, opening the second half with a 12-1 run to take a ten-point lead in less than three minutes. The Beavers answered by cutting their deficit to just five points with 15 minutes left to play. Oregon State continued to chip away, getting within a basket of the Lady Lions at one point before Kaliyah Mitchell hit four consecutive free throws to extend the lead to six.

Oregon State just wouldn’t go away, cutting the lead to just three points with 3:38 to go after scoring five straight. Lucas hit a huge three-pointer and Edwards scored a basket of her own to extended the lead to 61-53 with 2:15 left. The Beavers could not close the gap and lost the game 61-56.

The Lady Lions advanced to the championship game and will play tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. The team returns home to the Bryce Jordan Center on December 4 to face Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m.

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