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Lady Lions Avoid Loss To North Dakota With Another Late Comeback

Penn State women’s basketball (4-1) once again forged a second-half comeback — as it has in all of its wins this season — to grab a 75-68 victory over North Dakota.

The Fighting Hawks (1-3) let their 11-point lead slip away in the final minutes as the Lady Lions embarked on a 16-0 run to avoid the loss.

How It Happened

The Lady Lions appeared like they would run away with it from the get-go, opening up a double digit first quarter lead thanks to a 21-5 run to end the period. But a slow second quarter — Penn State scored just six points after going 3-11 shooting and turning the ball over nine times — helped keep North Dakota in striking distance, down just 32-27 at halftime.

Penn State came out of the break just as poorly as it finished off the first half. The Fighting Hawks went on a 15-2 run at the beginning of the third quarter to open up a lead that would be extended to double digits midway through the fourth quarter.

North Dakota senior forward Lexi Klabo was primarily responsible for the damage. The 6-foot-2 low post presence was dominant in the paint, but also troubled Penn State from the perimeter — knocking down three-of-four from three-point range. She finished with a double-double, tallying 27 points and 10 rebounds. 

As has been the case throughout the season, the Lady Lions wouldn’t go down without a fight. Penn State started a 16-0 run after the final media timeout to take the lead with less than two minutes remaining. After quiet games from the two Penn State stars, Teniya Page and Amari Carter tallied 11 of the points on the late run — equaling the 11 they combined for in the first three-and-a-half quarters.

After taking the lead, Penn State was near perfect in the final minute from the free throw line — closing out the 75-68 win. 

Takeaways

  • North Dakota has some size, so Penn State mostly went with a two-forward setup — Alisia Smith and either Lauren Ebo or Bexley Wallace. This might be something we see more toward Big Ten play compared to the four-guard setup we’ve seen against some of the smaller mid-major teams Penn State’s faced off with in the non-conference stretch.
  • Penn State’s defense was once again clutch when it needed to be. It forced 23 turnovers on the day, allowing the Lady Lions to score 37 points off turnovers. It also held North Dakota scoreless for most of the final five minutes of the game to make the comeback possible.

What’s Next

The Lady Lions are back in action Sunday at home against Stony Brook (3-1). Tipoff in the Bryce Jordan Center is at 2 p.m. and can be seen live on BTN.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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