Lady Lions Turn On The Jets To Take Down Fighting Illini 65-56
The Lady Lions (7-11, 2-5 B1G) evaded historic blizzard Jonas and headed out to Champaign, Illinois to take on a Fighting Illini squad that’s eerily similar to Penn State. Illinois came into the matchup with an 8-10 (1-6 B1G) record, but despite the number in the loss column, Illinois brings it each time it takes the hardwood. The Lady Lions’ resiliency has been put on full display game in and game out this season, and the late efforts helped the team take this one 65-56.
How It Happened
The Lady Lions came out in the first half struggling to hit shots, but grabbed boards and made multiple clutch stops down the stretch. The guards, more specifically Teniya Page, played stellar basketball throughout, but still left the Lady Lions down by seven at halftime. Page, who led all scorers on the day, seemed to be the only player from either team who could hit a shot. The Illini guards, although normally productive, seemed to be in a funk in the first half as they continued to turn the ball over and miss shots. Penn State took advantage of the Illinois mistakes, but couldn’t seem to execute and build a lead.
The second half was all Page as she recorded five boards, two assists, a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line, and a 53 percent clip from the field. With or without the ball in her hands, Page is an electric guard with the ability to score from anywhere — something she displayed in scoring 17 points in the second half alone, totaling 27 on the day. The Illini struggles continued, and the pressure from physical forwards Kaliyah Mitchell and Peyton Whited on defense proved to be effective in a small ball lineup. The Lady Lions came out of the gates blazing once the third quarter began, and never their foot off the gas from there, taking a double digit lead by the mid point of the fourth quarter. The final score, after free throws and fouling, turned out to be 65-56.
Up next for the Lady Lions is Big Ten rival Maryland, currently ranked No. 5 in the country. The showdown will be in the Bryce Jordan Center on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.