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Lady Lions Fall To Iowa 96-78, Drop Third Straight

Penn State women’s basketball (8-10, 5-9 Big Ten) lost to Iowa (12-6, 8-6 Big Ten) 96-78 on Thursday afternoon in Iowa City.

After jumping out to an early lead behind a spree of three-pointers, the red-hot Lady Lions scored a season-high 52 points in the first half to take an 11-point advantage into the locker room. Despite playing a complete opening 20 minutes, the youthful bunch crumbled down the stretch behind fantastic guard play from the Hawkeye backcourt.

Maddie Burke led the way in scoring for Penn State with 20 points on 7-for-17 shooting. Additionally, three other Lady Lions finished with double-digit scoring efforts, but the individual performances weren’t enough to counter a 55-point second half from Iowa.

How It Happened

Following a combined 0-for-5 start from the field from the Lady Lions and the Hawkeyes, Shay Hagans scored the first basket of the game after two offensive rebounds from Penn State.

The Hagans floater sparked a 9-2 run in favor of the Lady Lions to take an immediate 11-2 lead in just over two minutes of play. Vicious defensive possessions, including a pivotal swat from Maddie Burke, opened opportunities Penn State’s transition attack to outpace Iowa in the early going.

After a Hawkeye timeout, the home team regrouped by turning defense into immediate offense. Iowa’s front court trapped Lady Lion Johnasia Cash in the corner for an aggressive steal, which turned into a converted jumper on the other end to cut into the early deficit. Iowa kept the offensive momentum humming by turning to 46% three-pointer shooter McKenna Warnock to cut the Lady Lion lead to two points.

In the first quarter alone, Penn State shot 12 three-pointers, a product of out-rebounding the Hawkeyes by an outstanding 16-9 margin. The high shot volume catapulted the visiting underdogs to a 23-17 lead in the opening ten minutes.

Penn State picked up in the second quarter right where it left off from a nailed Anna Camden three-point to extend the lead to three possessions. On the next two offensive series, another deep ball from Maddie Burke coupled with a Camden lay-in stretched the Lady Lion advantage to 31-19.

Turnovers plagued the Lady Lions after a much-needed Iowa timeout. The Hawkeyes flashed spurts of excellent ball movement, leading to a 5-0 run, including a momentum-shining three-point-play.

In resounding fashion, the Lady Lions answered the call with an 8-0 run of their own behind two additional three-point conversions. After a trading baskets following the run, Burke continued to fire away, and hitting, from deep. In less than a half of play, the sweet-shooting freshman shot 5-for-10 from beyond the arc, contributing to a career-high 15 first-half points.

The offensive explosion continued to blossom for the Lady Lions, as the squad of young shooters scored a season high 52 points in the first half behind 40% shooting from deep. Penn State entered the locker room up by 11 points following its most complete half of the year by a wide margin.

In the second half’s opening 20 seconds, both teams picked up exactly where they left off by each burying a three-pointer to keep the margin at 11 points. After the Lady Lions came up empty on their second half-court set, the Hawkeyes returned the favor with another deep conversion to bring the home squad within striking distance.

Iowa continued to fire away, as the Hawkeyes made the Lady Lions pay by embarking on a 6-0 run, cutting the Penn State lead to 58-53 and forcing a Carolyn Kieger timeout. The stoppage was able to calm the young visiting squad, as the Lady Lions extended the slim lead on a 15-foot jumper from Burke for her first two-pointer of the contest.

Despite the Lady Lions’ attempt to hold onto the once-large halftime lead, the Hawkeyes dropped the Penn State advantage to two-points after Iowa guard Kate Martin hit a pivotal three-pointer at the quarter’s midway point.

With 2:12 remaining in the third, Iowa’s momentum hit a game-high after Big Ten freshman sensation Caitlin Clark converted a three-pointer of her own to take the first lead of the game for the Hawkeyes. Behind a disappointing, and eerily familiar, third quarter, Penn State entered the final period trailing 69-67 after surrendering six three-pointers to the explosive Iowa backcourt.

Clark, the conference’s leading scorer and former five-star recruit, continued to torch the Lady Lions early in the fourth quarter by hitting another crafty floater to extend the Hawkeye lead to four points. The tough shot kickstarted a 6-0 Iowa run, contributing to a 75-67 Hawkeye advantage.

Shooting struggles form the Lady Lion backcourt moved Penn State’s offensive mindset to the low-post and Johnasia Cash. Despite scoring three straight points by herself, Iowa’s shooting proved to be too potent for the Lady Lion counterparts. Once again, Clark continued to display her dazzling talent by hitting yet another deep shot to extend the Iowa lead to 11 points.

Once again, the Lady Lions were unable to weather the storm late in the quarter, as the Iowa lead climbed to as high as 20 points. Clark, the Iowa superstar, finished the game with 32 points and seven assists, which helped the Hawkeyes capture an impressive 96-78 victory.

Takeaways

  • Once again, a fantastic opening half of play from Penn State was overshadowed by an underwhelming 15-point third quarter performance. The Lady Lions surrendered six made three-pointers in the 10-minute span, which transformed their once 11-point lead into a two-point deficit.
  • The Lady Lions pressed the Hawkeyes on the glass from the opening possession, leading to countless second-chance opportunities in the half-court. In the first half alone, Penn State shot an astounding 25 three-pointers by out-rebounding Iowa 32-14, leading to its largest scoring half of the season with 52 points.
  • Despite the late-game implosion, Maddie Burke shined all afternoon. The quick-trigger freshman finished the contest with 20 points behind 6-for-15 shooting from beyond the arc.

What’s Next

The Lady Lions will continue their road-strech in a matchup against Nebraska on Sunday. Tipoff from Lincoln is set for 3 p.m.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a freshman from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania majoring in journalism. 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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