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Lady Lions Fall To Minnesota 85-65 In First Round Of Big Ten Tournament

Penn State women’s basketball (7-23, 1-17 Big Ten) fell to Minnesota (16-14, 5-13 Big Ten) 85-65 in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, bringing the team’s season to an end.

The Nittany Lions got off to a decent start, and even led at the half. However, a classic third quarter collapse was enough for Minnesota to blow by Penn State and into the second round of the tournament.

Penn State was led by Kamaria McDaniel, who finished the night with 22 points. Her effort wasn’t enough to avoid a fifteenth straight loss for the Lady Lions.

How It Happened 

Minnesota got off to a great start, going 5-for-6 on field goals en route to a 13-3 lead. Carolyn Kieger was forced to call timeout just three minutes in to the contest, as the Nittany Lions scored on just one of their first six attempts.

Penn State woke up after the timeout, and began to manage the lead. Four free throws from Kamaria McDaniel spurred a 9-1 run for the team to reduce the early gap.

A high scoring first quarter finished 22-19 in the favor of the Golden Gophers following a positive and energetic stretch from Penn State.

Two consecutive buckets from Mya Bembry and Siyeh Frazier reduced the Golden Gopher edge to just one point, forcing Minnesota to call a timeout of its own with 8:26 left in the second quarter. A Shay Hagans’ three pointer out of the timeout gave Penn State its first lead of the game.

From this point, the Lady Lions began to heat up. Anna Camden came off the bench to hit an impresive three straight from beyond the arc. In the first half, Kieger’s team shot an impressive 6-for-10 from distance, good for a 42-37 halftime lead.

The second half began much the same as the start of the game: a high tempo battle favoring Minnesota.

Led by Taiye Bello, the Golden Gophers won a dismal third quarter for the Nittany Lions 30-13. A late game surge by the opposition once again led to the downfall of Penn State.

The one bright spot for Penn State leading into the fourth quarter was the consistent production from McDaniel, who recently landed on the first-team all-Big Ten roster. The junior reached 20 points for her fourteenth game this season during the third quarter.

Any chance Penn State had to stage a fourth quarter spurt was snapped with yet another Minnesota run.

Alisia Smith scored off of an offensive rebound in attempt to chip away at Minnesota’s lead, but the Gophers held a 79-64 edge with just 3:22 to play. Minnesota began to take its time on the offensive end, limiting the opportunities for Penn State to cut into the lead.

Clinical finishing from Minnesota completed the first round victory 85-65, knocking the Nittany Lions out.

Takeaways

  • The Nittany Lions were in danger of letting things get away from them within the first three minutes of the game. However, Penn State looked like the stronger team from after Kieger’s timeout until the break. In the end, a gritty and hard-fought first half sealed Penn State’s fate. Once again, a groggy Nittany Lion team failed to play a full 40 minutes, and Minnesota was able to win the war of attrition.
  • Wednesday’s game was an exciting game of runs, and Minnesota was on the right side of timing. A solid start and impressive third quarter were enough to offset any last push Penn State had to offer.
  • Four Golden Gophers scored double digits, which will prove critical as they continue in the Big Ten tournament. McDaniel and Frasier were the only real threats from Penn State. As the game progressed, the two Nittany Lion leading scorers were stifled, and Minnesota were able to solve the Lions.

What’s Next

Penn State’s exit from the Big Ten tournament spelled the end of the 2019-2020 season. Kieger’s young squad will try and take away positives from this season, and try to put together a run next year.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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