Lady Lions Can’t Complete Comeback Against Iowa, Lose 80-76

Penn State women’s basketball (14-11, 5-7 Big Ten) couldn’t complete a late comeback against Iowa (19-6, 7-5 Big Ten) that saw the Lady Lions down by as much as 15 at halftime. Unable to get anything going from its forwards despite them grabbing plenty of rebounds, Penn State was forced to rely on its perimeter players for most of the game and dealt with streaky shooting the whole night.

How It Happened

The Hawkeyes got rolling early as their star forward Megan Gustafson made her presence felt early, assisting on the first play and scoring a quick seven points to push Iowa to a ten point lead at the end of the first. Propelled by Gustafson and fellow forward Chase Coley, Penn State found itself bullied in the interior, unable to defend down low. Tight defense from Iowa kept Penn State from making much of anything go right on offense.

This trend continued into the second and third quarters, with Penn State down 15 at the half but clawing back to an eight point deficit in the third quarter. Unable to solve their situation down low, Jaylen Williams and De’Janae Boykin proved ineffective the entire game, each only scoring two points. The Lady Lions were forced to rely on their mid-range game along with drives from their guards. The trio of Amari Carter, Teniya Page, and Jaida Travascio-Green were the only Lions to score over ten, with Page getting to 23 on 9-22 shooting. Siyeh Frazier and Alisia Smith were active on the bench with Smith being the only forward to get any momentum going, finishing with nine points and eight rebounds.

Stats-wise, it was a game that didn’t see the Lady Lions buried in a majority of the statistical categories. Iowa turned the ball over 20 times compared to Penn State’s 9 turnovers and only had a lead of three in rebounds. But poor shooting plagued Penn State, shooting 30-73 to Iowa’s 31-56. Both teams shot poorly from three – though Penn State led by shooting 30%, it wouldn’t make too much of a difference on the scoreboard.

The fourth quarter proved to be a different story than the rest of the game. After sneakily closing the gap to just eight points at the end of the third, the trio of Carter, Travascio-Green, and Page got going. Threes came in spurts and aggressive drives resulted in layups and free throws. A pair of Page free throws made it a 73-75 game with Penn State within a hair of completing  a comeback. But a serious of sloppy plays that weren’t able to capitalize on multiple defensive stops and Iowa turnovers prevented Penn State from running away with it. A Page three would make it 76-78 with 35 second left, but a Gustafson layup and a missed Page three sealed the deal as the clock came winding down.

Player Of The Game

Megan Gustafson | Junior | Forward

The Iowa forward was one of the biggest reasons why Penn State lagged so far behind. 33 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists is a lot for a defense to handle.

What’s Next?

The Lady Lions continue on their road trip as they go up north to Minnesota to take on the Gophers. The game will be on February 11 at 4 p.m.

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About the Author

Matt Paolizzi

Since graduating from Penn State in 2021, Matt is (hopefully) manning a successful job and (hopefully) living a happy life by now. In a past life, he was a writer for Onward State and remains a proud alumnus of the best student publication in the country. Check out Podward State too, Onward State's official podcast, that he co-founded alongside Matt Ogden and Mitch Stewart in 2019. It's his baby, give it a wave and make sure it's doing okay. Thanks to da king Sam Brungo and everyone who follows, it most definitely is.

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