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Lady Lions Defeat Purdue 80-70 For Second Consecutive Victory

Penn State women’s basketball (6-7, 3-6 Big Ten) took down Purdue (6-8, 3-7 Big Ten) 80-70 on the road Sunday afternoon for the team’s second straight Big Ten win.

Johnasia Cash terrorized the Boilermaker front court early and often, as the senior center finished the contest with 28 points and 12 rebounds despite starting the game on the bench.

Hot shooting from deep was also a major factor in a decisive victory for the visitors. The Lady Lions shot a superb 43.5% from the three-point line, good for their best three-point field goal percentage in a conference matchup this season.

How It Happened

Purdue began the game on an efficient 5-0 run propelled by mid-range shooting success. Lady Lion sophomore point guard Makenna Marisa stalled the hot Boilermaker stretch with a two-pointer of her own to put Penn State on the board.

After over two minutes of scoreless play from both quads, Purdue found continued success in its half-court offense, contributing to an early 10-2 lead for the home team.

The Lady Lions fought back behind the busier-ball mentality from Johnasia Cash. The SMU transfer scored back-to-back layups late in the quarter in the low post to give Penn State a much-needed boost on the offensive end. Despite the closing effort by Cash, the Lady Lions entered the second quarter trailing 19-9.

Following a sluggish shooting start to begin the game, Penn State finally began to find its rhythm in the half court. Newly implemented starter Niya Beverly began the hot-shooting spree with a timely three-pointer on an asset from Anna Camden less than a minute into the second quarter.

The Purdue lead stayed around the double-digit mark for the first three minutes of the quarter, but several Lady Lion role players pitched in to stop the bleeding. Freshman guard Nan Garcia nailed a pivotal jumper to cut the lead to eight, proving the value of Carolyn Kieger’s depth in her coveted freshman class.

Towards the end of the first half, Cash continued to take advantage of Purdue’s weak post defense by finishing several pro-level post plays on the low block. Her efforts in the paint helped the Lady Lions kick off an array of conversions from deep to end the second quarter. Camden and Maddie Burke both nailed three-pointers within the final minute of the half to give the Lady Lions much-needed momentum. Despite the slow start, the Lady Lions entered the second half tied 32-32.

Both teams started the second 4-for-4 from the field in a track-meet-esque stretch of opening minutes. Nearly three minutes into the quarter, Marisa nailed another huge three-pointer for Penn State to take the first lead of the game.

The common theme of limited defense continued throughout the third quarter, as both teams thrived in transition for much of the period. With just over two minutes left in the quarter, tied at 48-a-piece, Maddie Burke lofted and nailed a deep three-pointer on an asset from Niya Beverly to regain a three-point lead.

Burke’s massive shot lead to an instant Purdue timeout. Although Coach Sharon Versyp of the Boilermakers attempted to slow Penn State’s hot-shooing freshman phaeton, Burke continued to hoist from beyond the arc. With just over a minute in the third quarter, Burke hit yet another three pointer, extending the lead to six points. Additionally, Beverley casted a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the quarter, which fell once again for the Lady Lions. Entering the fourth quarter, Penn State boasted a 57-50 lead.

Johnasia Cash kicked off the fourth quarter with another savvy move on the low block. Cash’s combination of patience and toughness on the low block proved to be too much for the Boilermakers all afternoon, as the senior finished with eight points in the fourth quarter alone.

The high scoring affair continued for the Lady Lions, as Kieger’s team continued to shoot at an elite level from deep. Beverley picked up in the fourth right where she left off, as she hit yet another three-pointer at the midway point in the second half. Penn State scored 15 points in less than five minutes of play in the final quarter, which outpaced Purdue at a rapid rate.

Propelled by a fantastic 23-point quarter of play as a team, Penn State won the game 80-70 in convincing fashion behind the inside-out combo of Cash in the low post and poised shooting from the backcourt.

Takeaways

  • Johnasia Cash played bully-ball all game against the Boilermakers. The star-studded senior carried the Lady Lions with another stellar double-double performance, with 28 points and 12 rebounds.
  • The Lady Lions shot the ball at an impressive 43.5% rate from deep against Purdue. In six wins this season, Penn State is shooting over 35% from beyond the arc, which would be good for first in the Big Ten.
  • Penn State finished with nine total turnovers, the lowest amount of such this season. Kieger’s talented guards took care of the ball and accounted for 21 assists on the stat line.

What’s Next

The Lady Lions will return to the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday, February 4 against Nebraska. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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