Lady Lions Fall to Wisconsin at Ninth Annual Pink Zone Game
With the Bryce Jordan Center decked out in pink, the Lady Lions rallied from a 10-point first half deficit but couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 62-56 to Wisconsin in front of a season-high 9,270 fans on Sunday.
However, the most important number of the day didn’t appear on the scoreboard or the stat sheet. The Lady Lions honored 657 breast cancer survivors during a halftime ceremony, celebrating the lives of those who successfully fought the disease. To help those still fighting, the preliminary fundraising total for this year’s Pink Zone is $169,525, which supports young researchers at the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute through the Lady Lion Basketball Breast Cancer Research Endowment. Over the past eight years, the Lady Lions have raised more than $1.135 million for breast cancer research.
How It Happened
Wisconsin was able to build an early lead thanks to some hot shooting from beyond the arc, as Wisconsin’s Nicole Bauman sank a pair of triples to help the Badgers move ahead 9-4. Not to be outdone, Penn State answered with a 6-0 run to take a 10-9 lead with 13 minutes left in the first half with baskets from Tori Waldner, Kaliyah Mitchell, and Sierra Moore.
The Badgers would respond in dominating fashion, scoring the next since points to begin a 24-10 run over the next 11 minutes to build a commanding 16-point lead with 1:35 left in the opening frame. The Lady Lions were able to stop the bleeding with a 6-0 run to make it 36-26 at the break.
Penn State started the second half playing inspired basketball, sprinting to an 11-2 run to cut the lead to just one point, 38-37. After the Badgers pushed their lead back to six points, Moore scored back-to-back baskets and assisted on a Waldner layup to knot the score at 45-45 with 9:27 to play. Wisconsin quickly dashed any hopes of a comeback, scoring the next eight points to build a 53-45 lead. Despite a packed BJC willing Penn State to victory, the Lady Lions couldn’t pull closer than four points the rest of the way, falling 62-56.
Player of the Game
Sierra Moore. The sophomore led the team in scoring with 17 points, and added a double-double with a team-high 14 rebounds. Moore performed her best in crunch time, scoring eleven of her 17 points in the second half and adding eight rebounds and three assists over the final 20 minutes.
Tweets of the Game
Surrounded by breast cancer survivors, Grammy-nominated singer and Philadelphia native Kathy Sledge gave an emotional halftime performance.
— Lady Lion Basketball (@PennStateWBB) March 1, 2015
All 657 survivors on hand were recognized by the BJC crowd for their bravery.
Even the football team came out in support of the cause, with Kyle Carter and Adam Breneman trading in their traditional blue and white for shades of pink.
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) March 1, 2015
Quote of the Game
After the game, head coach Coquese Washington praised the Pink Zone for providing an opportunity where sports and community can collide.
“Competing at any level of sports, we are often role models and what we do [in competition] inspires people, but Pink Zone is a day where we get to be inspired,” Washington said. “We get to be inspired by what we see and the fight that we see from the survivors. When you have all of that energy in the arena, it almost doesn’t matter what happens with the game. It’s just a big celebration of surviving and a celebration of fighting.”
The Lady Lions head to the Big Ten Tournament at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois with No. 13-seed Penn State facing No. 12-seed Indiana at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4.
Photo: Mark Selders/GoPSUsports.com