Lady Lions Fall To Wisconsin 82-62, Lose Third Straight
In the fourth game of the Big Ten conference season, the Lady Lions (6-9, 1-3 B1G) went on the road and traveled to Madison, Wisconsin in hopes of snapping their two-game losing streak and earning their second conference win in a matchup against the Badgers (6-8, 2-2 B1G). It was also an interesting meeting for redshirt senior Brianna Banks as her and past teammate from UConn, Michala Johnson, went toe-to-toe in their first meeting since playing together under Head Coach Geno Auriemma. But led by senior guard Dakota Whyte’s 23 points, Wisconsin rolled over the Lady Lions 82-62.
How It Happened
Wisconsin’s Michala Johnson opened up the first frame with six quick buckets for her team inside the paint, collecting all of the Badger’s points in the first five minutes. Her versatility and consistency was something Penn State came into this game aware of, but it was tough going trying to stop her. As momentum lightly swung in the Badgers’ favor, shots had trouble falling for both teams, as Penn State and Wisconsin shot a combined 4-20 from the field with 4:30 left in the quarter.
Aside from Penn State’s strength on the boards, positive production was hard to come by, especially on offense. The Lady Lions tried using a high ball screen to try and stir up some tenacity, but it worked to no avail –that is, until Lindsey Spann drained a sweet three off of a nice kick-out pass from her center Candice Agee. As the final seconds of the first quarter ticked down, Penn State scratched its way back to within three with the help of Spann’s hot hand and trailed the Badgers, 12-15.
Freshman star Teniya Page sunk a three for the Lions 10 seconds into the second quarter, and Penn State went on a 10-2 run to take the lead. The streak was stopped automatically with a couple speedy baskets from Wisconsin that ended Penn State’s short favor. Johnson, the Badgers’ leading scorer so far, also managed to rack up two fouls and earned a seat on the bench.
In a span of several minutes, both teams traded threes and brought excitement into the Kohl Center. Wisconsin gained a three-point advantage with 2:57 left in the half. Wisconsin was 6-0 in games it led entering the locker rooms at halftime, which proved worrisome for the Lady Lions since they trailed by 11. The Badgers’ Dakota Whyte was also a concern for Penn State. She knocked down a couple triples just before the buzzer sounded, and Coach Washington’s team seemed visibly dispirited.
Penn State’s initial possession turned sour with the one-two punch of a costly turnover and pair of triples by none other than Wisconsin’s Dakota Whyte. Whyte was 5-5 from behind the arc coming into the second half of play, and her phenomenal rhythm outmatched the defensive effort by Penn State. At the 4:43 mark, the Lady Lions lagged along, carrying a 26-55 deficit, and showed no evidence of a plan to stop Whyte or the rest of the rolling Badgers.
In a desperate attempt to create a fruitful offensive possession, Penn State’s Teniya Page drove to the charity stripe only to get stripped by Whyte, who laid in an easy two at the other end. This score tacked on another point to Wisconsin’s 15-7 run, but Candice Agee never backed down for the Lions. After fighting hard down on the block all game, she created enough space to kiss her tenth point off the glass and cut the Badgers’ lead to 24. Wisconsin had the upper hand, 69-45 at the end of the third.
The fourth frame sported much of the same perfect offense by Wisconsin. Dakota Whyte sunk her sixth from downtown and added a chunk more inside the arc. To add more salt to the wound, freshman center Ashanti Thomas left the game with an apparent knee injury, while Penn State continued to allow Whyte to score a few more times, boosting the Badgers’ lead to more than 20. The Lady Lions were exhausted by the middle of the final quarter, and that fact elevated Wisconsin to a 82-62 victory.
Player Of The Game
Candice Agee | Senior | Center
Despite Wisconsin’s unrelenting offense, Agee was determined to keep the game from becoming an embarrassment for Penn State. Agee’s efforts were noticed as she racked up 16 points, six of them all in the third quarter, and nine total rebounds. She was the only Penn State player that really stayed consistent throughout the contest, and made an impact on both sides of the ball.
The Lady Lions will continue Big Ten conference play as they return to the Bryce Jordan Center to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers Wednesday, January 13. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.