Lady Lions Coast Past Youngstown State 68-51, Break Four-Game Losing Streak
The struggling Lady Lions and Head Coach Coquese Washington, coming off a 101-79 defeat against USF, returned home to the Bryce Jordan Center and took on the undefeated Youngstown State Penguins in an attempt to break their four-game losing streak. Even though the Lady Lions struggled to convert on a lot of high-percentage shots, a strong showing by forward Kaliyah Mitchell bolstered Penn State to a 68-51 victory.
How It Happened
Youngstown State won the tip and what seemed like immediate momentum, as it put seven points on the board relatively quick. While the Lady Lions were tough on the boards, it took them until the 6:40 mark to score, with Kaliyah Mitchell hitting a much-needed three from the top of the arc to break the Penguins streak. After a series of choppy offensive blunders ending in turnovers, Penn State found its rhythm in easy points off the glass underneath. The Lady Lions were also aggressive, finding themselves at the line a number of times. A couple of steals later, and after an impressive 10-0 run, Penn State closed the first quarter with a 19-9 lead, and momentum finally shifted in its favor.
The second quarter started a little rough. The Lady Lions missed badly on their first slew of shots, having them ricochet hard off the basket and backboard. However, that cold streak ended on and and-one make by Mitchell, who put her team up by 11 and reached double-digits in scoring on the play. Youngstown State made a valiant effort in boxing out, and though it was mostly successful, a lot of fouls were called away from the ball, not pleasing Head Coach John Barnes. Sure enough, the high-percentage shots off the block and mid-range jumpers bricked hard off the rim again and countless Lady Lions botched easy layups. Penn State, even with a 35-21 lead heading into halftime, couldn’t seem to pull together any consistent offensive production.
The Lady Lions opened the third quarter with aggressive play, resulting in a lot of and-one scoring opportunities that got finished at the foul line. Thanks to Youngstown State’s guards opting for tons of shots behind the arc (and missing most of them), as well as Penn State showcasing constant, tenacious defense, the Lady Lions raised the Penguins turnover total to eight and the lead to 43-32. Unfortunately, Penn State still couldn’t get away from its bad habit of missing easy shots, and continued to struggle down low. What served as its saving grace was how often the Penguins were fouling, sending Penn State to the line tons of times during the quarter.
The fourth quarter was very similar to the first three. The Lady Lions maintained their double-digit lead with a lot of easy made shots on the block, finally ending their embarrassing streak of typical bad misses. Youngstown State had no answer for Penn State offensively. The Penguins were spotty from mid-range, sinking a few impressive shots, but ultimately couldn’t catch up to the dominant Lady Lion lead. The game closed out with Penn State creating a lot of successful fast-break scoring opportunities off of steals, and it winning 68-51.
Player Of The Game
Kaliyah Mitchell | Forward | Junior
Kaliyah Mitchell’s effort was irrefutably great all game and one of the main reasons the early Youngstown State momentum shifted in the Lady Lions’ favor. That capture of momentum was then secured by her teammates following in her footsteps for the remainder of the game, and rallied them to establish a lead that the Penguins couldn’t break. Mitchell was seemingly undeniable in her scoring efforts, racking up 16 points.
The Lady Lions travel to New York to take on non-conference opponent St. Bonaventure Saturday, December 12. Tip-off is set for 1:30 p.m.