Lady Lions Fall Short In 78-70 Defeat To Rider In Home Opener
Penn State women’s basketball (1-1) couldn’t match the pace or intensity of Rider (1-1) on Sunday, falling short 78-70 in its first home game of the season. The Lady Lions trailed for all but 1:25 of the game, as Rider provided a response every time the Penn State offense went on a promising run.
Four of the starting five tallied double digits in the loss — including Kamaria McDaniel, Makenna Marisa, Siyeh Frazier and Lauren Ebo. McDaniel led the group with 15 points, while Alisia Smith came off the bench and posted a team-high 12 rebounds.
How It Happened
Lauren Ebo opened up scoring for the Lady Lions 20 seconds into the game, making a layup in the paint look easy. A few possessions later, Kamaria McDaniel added some points to the scoreboard, committing a steal and following through with a layup. Things looked extremely promising, but this wouldn’t last long.
As a team, Penn State went a disappointing 3-for-15 from the field in the first quarter. Several minutes of missed shots and scoreless play erased any sort of momentum head coach Carolyn Kieger’s squad had to start the game. A missed layup by McDaniel with seconds winding down on the clock summed up exactly how the first quarter went, with the Lady Lions trailing 21-9 by the end of it.
Things quickly turned around in the second quarter when freshman Makenna Marisa scored seven points in a row to ignite a much-needed spark under the Nittany Lion offense that culminated in a 12-3 run. And just like that, the Lady Lions were back in the ballgame and ready to battle.
A long shot from behind the arc by freshman Shay Hagans cut the deficit to three with four minutes to go in the second. Marisa stayed in the game as she met the net with another layup, but she missed a wide-open look a few minutes later. After some back-and-forth action, Rider responded and extended its lead to 35-28 by halftime.
A third quarter battle started off with turnovers and steals from both sides. Rider finally capitalized on a layup, but Penn State would be slower to respond. The Nittany Lions notched just 12 points — eight of which came from free throws — compared to Rider’s 20 throughout the third quarter.
Overall, the third quarter of Sunday’s game was a little chaotic. Players were forcing unnecessary shots in the paint rather than actually taking the time to set up and coordinate offensive plays. Missed layups particularly cost the Nittany Lions any chance of taking the lead in the third.
Towards the end of the fourth, Penn State finally got their momentum back. They went from being down 12 to McDaniel, Hagans and Smith finding the backboard and cutting the deficit to five.
Rider was quick respond, hitting two jump shots in a row and bringing their lead back up to eight. With the pressure on, Penn State eventually crumbled even though it finished the fourth quarter with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
- Missed layups hurt the Lady Lions on Sunday, as they seemed to miss one easy opportunity to score after another. Whether it was on a fast break or the result of a perfectly executed play, Kieger’s squad struggled to put the ball in the net when they were standing right under the basket.
- Makenna Marisa continues to impress on the court. She notched 13 points, four rebounds, and three assists, and her play helped spark the offense at times when the Lady Lions needed it the most.
- Alisia Smith didn’t start again, but she played 26 minutes during the game. That’s another encouraging sign for her season — especially considering she’s battling back from an achilles injury.
The Nittany Lions will host another home game Wednesday, November 13 against non-confrence opponent Fordham. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., and you’ll be able to stream the game on BTN+.
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