Lady Lions Upset No. 14 Northwestern 79-72 On New Year’s Eve
The Lady Lions (5-6) kicked off Big Ten conference play with a showdown against the No.14 Northwestern Wildcats, a team that’s dropped only one of 12 total games this season. Despite a rough go-ahead in non-conference games, the Lady Lions put together a complete game on both ends of the floor to send the Wildcats packing empty handed after winning 79-72. The hot hand of Teniya Paige played an integral role in the victory, as did stifling defense on the part of Penn State’s frontcourt.
How It Happened
The first half opened up with the two teams battling neck and neck, helping to swing the score back and forth like a pendulum until the Lady Lions captured a lead midway through the second quarter. The Penn State defense ran a sort of responsive defensive set, alternating between zone and individual coverage while utilizing the full court press., Although the Wildcats held a rebounding edge, the Lady Lions were able to hold Northwestern to 25 percent from the field.
Brianna Banks again finished as one of the game’s leading scorers with 25 points, and constantly found herself at the charity stripe in the first half. Paige continued to flash her development as a scorer with 13 first half points and a 60 percent shooting clip from behind the arc. The half ended with a buzzer beater to give the Lady Lions a six point lead.
The second half opened up with a quick Lady Lion run, extending their lead to double digits. While they worked to keep the lead, Nia Coffey quietly posted a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. The Wildcats managed erase the deficit to mere bucket midway through the fourth quarter, but the Lady Lions remained unfazed. Payton Whited and Candice Agee both played a strong second half with relentless effort, collectively grabbing 25 rebounds. Paige’s stellar first half play spilled over to the second half, where she helped maintain the Lady Lion lead with a career high 27 points. The Lady Lions defeated the Wildcats 79-72 after withstanding a late charge, adding another loss to a mostly unblemished Northwestern record.
Player Of The Game
After a career afternoon, Teniya Paige couldn’t have ended 2015 on a better note. Paige shot 50 percent from behind the arc en route to 27 points, flashing some stellar ball handling and shooting in the process.
The Lady Lions will head to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday, Jan. 3 at 3 p.m.