Lady Lions Get Another Conference Win After Taking Down Illinois 68-59 At Home
Penn State women’s basketball (13-8, 4-4 Big Ten) earned their third straight conference win against Illinois (9-13, 0-8 Big Ten) on Tuesday. After a miraculous finish against Rutgers on January 18, Penn State kept up its momentum against an Illinois team that has struggled in conference play this season.
How It Happened
The Illini were the one’s to get hot early on, getting a quick five points off a three pointer and a jumper before Penn State was forced to use one of its timeouts to stop the bleeding. And stop it they did.
Free throws form Amari Carter, a three from Teniya Page, and layups from Siyeh Frazier and Jaylen Williams helped bring the score to 11-9 with 3:31 in the first quarter. Illinois would go scoreless for the rest of the quarter, suffering through an 0-9 field goal stretch. A layup from Jaida Travascio-Green knotted it up at 11 with three minutes still to play, and then the Lady Lions would go on a scoreless streak of their own. Both teams kept turning the ball over or missing easy buckets in a sloppily played quarter before Page hit a three on Penn State’s final possession that would send them into the second, the owners of a 14-11 lead.
Penn State would continue to try and push its lead with Teniya Page splashing another bomb from beyond the arc early on. But Illinois soon discovered that the basket was indeed meant for balls to enter into and soon the Illini were finding their touch around the basket. The second quarter proved to be rough and tumble. A strict, defensive affair were as physical basketball was played by both sides.
The score was locked at 19-17 with Penn State up for a good chunk of the second quarter, but the Lady Lions soon broke through with a three pointer by Kamaria McDaniel and layup from Williams to make the score 24-17 with 2:30 to go in the second. Penn State would continue breaking through the Illini defense, with Frazier and Carter bringing the Lady Lions an eleven point lead. A small Illinois run to end the first half would close the gap to just seven points, but Penn State kept a 30-23 lead as the second quarter drew to a close.
A three pointer from Illinois would open the third quarter and close the gap to four points, but back-to-back threes from Carter and Travascio-Green, plus a layup from the later, pushed the lead back up the double digits. Illinois would start to comeback once again, going 4-5 on field goals and cutting the lead back to just five points. But Penn State still had multiple advantages on their side.
The Lady Lions had just 4 turnovers on the night while Illinois had 13 at this point. A 15-4 offensive rebounding lead also helped Penn State stay in control with multiple second-chance buckets coming from Williams and De’Janae Boykin. Penn State would keep rolling through the third, an 8-0 run bringing the lead to 13 points. Two jumpers from the Illini would drop it to just nine points, but the Lady Lions were still in control, 39-48 entering the final quarter of play.
It would take until the 5:37 mark for Illinois to sink it’s first bucket of the final quarter, as Penn State had built the lead up to 15 before then. Both teams were shooting 35% form the field, but Penn State was 22-62 compared to 15-43 for the Illini. The lead would stay around 15, but a late run from Illinois would start to cut into the Penn State lead. By 1:38 it was at nine and, before long, down to seven. But this late run proved to be too little, too late for the Illini as free throws from Carter brought things back up to nine with 58.9 seconds remaining. A couple more free throws for each time dragged the fourth quarter on until the clock finally trickled down, leaving the Lady Lions in possession of a 68-59 victory.
Player Of The Game
Teniya Page | Junior | Guard
The Chi-town native dropped 18 on her home state’s university, with six rebounds and four assists to boot.
The Lady Lions will take their talents to West Lafayette, Indiana for a matinee matchup against Purdue. The game will be on January 28 at 12 p.m.