Deja Vu For The Lady Lions, Blown Out Again By Ohio State 89-64
Penn State women’s basketball (15-14, 6-10 Big Ten) couldn’t help a repetition of their last meeting with the No. 14 Buckeyes (24-6, 13-3 Big Ten). Despite Penn State’s home-court advantage and its annual Pink Zone game, Ohio State and its superstar senior Kelsery Mitchell proved to be too much for Penn State to handle.
How It Happened
It seemed to be a close one towards the start of the first quarter, with Penn State even taking a 3-2 lead after an Amari Carter layup. But despite continued scoring from Jaida Travascio-Green and Teniya Page, the Big Ten-leading Buckeyes took control. Mitchell would score 7 quick points and assist on another three pointer as Ohio State started to bury Penn State. Points from Page and De’Janae Boykin kept the growing Buckeye lead from getting any bigger, but at the end of the first quarter Penn State trailed 23-12.
The Lady Lions would make a short run at the start of the second quarter with big threes from Travascio-Green and Kamaria McDaniel, but another Ohio State three would give it a 26-18 lead. One of Ohio State’s strengths was dominance in the post, a weakness that many teams have exploited in the Lady Lions this season.
Leads in both rebounds, blocks, and points in the paint helped the Buckeyes take control again for the remainder of the second quarter. Crushing defense by Ohio State also crippled any potential to try and get the Lady Lions back in the game. Despite continued efforts from Page and Travascio-Green, Ohio State took a 42-27 lead into halftime.
There was more of the same in the third quarter for both teams. Ohio State continued its utter domination, as the highest scoring trio in the country in Mitchell, Stephanie Mavunga, and Linnae Harper were the ones who spearheaded the Buckeye lead. Mauvunga established herself as the inside terror against Penn State. She’d finish with 14 rebounds and 21 points. Harper would also get to ten rebounds despite being a guard, with 17 points to go along with that. Mitchell, who passed Britney Griner as the 3rd highest scorer in NCAA history during the game, had 22 points as well. With this three-headed dragon going up against them, Penn State had no answer for the onslaught of scoring they faced. Inconsistent and poor shooting for the Lady Lions didn’t help either as the third quarter ended with a 66-40 lead.
Penn State was able to put up 24 points in the fourth quarter with Page finishing the game with 19 points and Travascio-Green finishing with 17. But Ohio State played like the No. 14 ranked team in the country despite letting up a late run by the Lady Lions. Behind its big three, Ohio State shot 48.6 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three. Penn State could only muster 37.9 percent from the filed and 30 percent from three. But Ohio State was sloppy with the ball towards the end of the game, finishing with 15 turnovers and giving the Lady Lions that chance for a late run. But it was too little too late for Penn State as Ohio State took the win 89-64.
It was a poetic end to the season for the Lady Lions, as the promising freshmen trio of Sam Breen, Alisia Smith, and Kamaria McDaniel scored the last three buckets for Penn State. Only time will tell if the youngsters can develop into Penn State’s own big three.
Player of the Game
Kelsey Mitchell | Senior | Guard
Mad respect to the Buckeyes all-time great. Being the Big Ten’s all-time leading scoring and passing Britney Griner as the 3rd highest career scorer in NCAA history hasn’t given her an ego at all. The humble, soft talking Cincinnati native torched the Lady Lions with 22 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Hopefully all the Lady Lions were taking notes.
Penn State will be heading to the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis in an attempt to make some sort of splash to at least make the WNIT. Their first match up is TBD, both for time and opponent, but the game will be on February 28.