Lady Lions Hold Off Northwestern 67-59 For Much Needed Win
Penn State women’s basketball (15-12, 5-8 Big Ten) was able to earn a crucial conference win against Northwestern (9-18, 2-11 Big Ten) on Valentine’s Day.
Freshmen Alisia Smith got the start after a series of impressive performances have put her above Sam Breen and Kamaria McDaniel as Coach Washington’s freshmen of choice. Some of the men’s basketball team’s players were in attendence, with Mike Watkins, Lamar Stevens, and a few others cheering on their fellow ballplayers and advertising for the upcoming white out game against Ohio State.
How It Happened
The first quarter was a hard fought, physical affair that saw both teams struggle to get any points on the board. While Penn State only shot 38% from the field, this was good enough to best a 13% shooting Wildcats team. Northwestern would go on a five minute scoring drought in the last half of the quarter as well as a near six minute stretch with no field goals, going 0-9. The Nittany Lions would rally themselves with an 11-3 run and end the quarter with a 15-7 lead. Despite not getting the start on the night in favor of Smith, Jaylen Williams nabbed herself five rebounds in the first quarter while Smith led both teams in scoring with six.
Northwestern was able to fight back in the second quarter. The Wildcats were able to improve their shooting to 34% and thanks to a Penn State scoring drought which saw Penn State go one for its last seven field goals, were able to tie the game up at 26 by the half. 11 turnovers by the Lady Lions didn’t help them keep their lead by any means either. Penn State’s rebounding remained a strength. Smith and Williams continued to pull them down and helped the Lady Lions lead with 25 rebounds to 16 for Northwestern. This of course wasn’t enough for Penn State to keep its lead from the first quarter, with the score knotted at 26.
The Wildcats started to take control in the third quarter. Forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah for Northwestern was able to be a presence in the post for her team despite Penn State maintaining a clear lead. She was the first player to score over ten with 15 and had eight rebounds to boot. The field goal percentages switched, with Northwestern finding their groove and the Lady Lions faltering down the stretch. Turnovers continued to be a massive thorn in Penn State’s side. An almost six minute field goal drought for the lady lions towards the end of the quarter allowed Northwestern to build a 12 point lead, but some last minute Penn State buckets broke that awful stretch and made it a 45-37 Northwestern lead at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Penn State came roaring back. The duo of Amari Carter and Teniya Page started to get going, going from being down by six to being up by three in three minutes. But Northwestern would easily let up. Kunaiyi-Akpanah continued to star for the Wildcats, getting a double-double and finishing the game with a 21 point, 14 rebound performance. But the calvary came in for Penn State though, as Siyeh Frazier, De’Janae Boykin, and Jaida Travascio-Green began scoring for the Lady Lions including a huge three by Travascio-Green with three minutes to go. Penn State kept their turnover number at 17 while Northwestern began racking up their own long list of loose balls. This sudden righting of Penn State’s ship helped keep Northwestern at bay thanks to tough defense and clutch scoring from Carter and Page, earning themselves a 67-59 victory.
Player Of The Game
Teniya Page | Junior | Guard
22 points, on 7-11 shooting along with a perfect 7-7 night from the line helped Page lead her squad to victory. Three steals helped, too.
The Lady Lions head out on for their final regular season road game of the year as the venture to Lincoln, Nebraska to play the Cornhuskers. The game is on February 22 and tip-off is at 8 p.m.