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Lady Lions Fall Short To Nebraska 87-72 In Fourth Straight Loss

Penn State women’s basketball (8-11, 5-10 Big Ten) picked up its fourth straight loss in a 87-72 defeat to Nebraska (11-9, 9-8 Big Ten) Sunday afternoon.

Despite the outcome, Maddie Burke and Makenna Marisa shined for the blue and white all game. The freshman-sophomore duo combined for 41 points (tallying 20 and 21, respectively) and nine three-pointers.

How It Happened

Marisa opened scoring roughly a minute into the contest by knocking down a pair of free throws. One possession later, Niya Beverly buried a three-pointer to help the Lady Lions jump out to a 5-2 lead.

Nebraska answered the call with a three-ball of its own, quickly tying the score. The Cornhuskers then went on a quick 5-0 offensive run to take their first lead of the ballgame in what was an early stretch of back-and-forth basketball.

Burke and Marisa quickly erased the Cornhusker lead by hitting back-to-back threes. Both teams then entered a bit of a scoring drought, but at the end of the quarter, Marisa nailed another three to give Penn State a 17-15 advantage.

In the second quarter, Burke capitalized on an open look from three to extend the Penn State lead to 20-15. As a team, the Lady Lions entered the game shooting an impressive 5-of-6 from beyond the arc — an area where they have proven to be inconsistent at certain times this season.

Nebraska managed to answer back after each Penn State bucket, as the two teams exchanged leads several times in an overall high-scoring, offensively dominant performance. There were a total of eight ties and nine lead changes in the first half alone.

Another Burke three gave Kieger’s squad its biggest lead of the game — four points — with just under four minutes to go in the half. However, the Cornhuskers didn’t seem phased. They went on a 12-2 run — led by Annika Stewart — in a little over a two-minute time frame to regain a 40-34 lead at halftime.

Unsurprisingly, the third quarter kicked off with Burke sinking another three-ball. On the next possession, Cash made a crafty spin-move inside the paint for a layup, to help Penn State creep back to within three points of the Cornhuskers.

Nebraska seemed to give Penn State a little taste of its own medicine by notching back-to-back threes and extending the lead to nine with just under five minutes to go in the quarter and forcing Carolyn Kieger to call a timeout.

Following the break, Marisa transferred some momentum back to Penn State by driving to the paint and successfully converting a three-point play. The Nittany Lions forced a steal on the next possession, but weren’t able to capitalize with any points on the offensive end.

And just like that, Nebraska made Penn State pay for it by proceeding to go on a 10-3 offensive run over the next two minutes of play, extending the lead to 64-51. By the end of the quarter, that lead extended even more, and the Lady Lions faced an intimidating 16-point deficit heading into the final quarter.

The Lady Lions continued to pressure Nebraska in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 11 with just under four minutes to go in the ballgame. However, the Cornhuskers always had a response and were able to ultimately cruise to a 87-72 victory.

Takeaways

  • Niya Beverly, Makenna Marisa, Johnasia Cash, and Maddie Burke combined for 69 of the team’s 72 points on Sunday. I repeat, 69 of the 72 points. While these four players served as the sole source of offensive production the entire game, their teammates Anna Camden, Shay Hagans, Tova Sabel, and Kaci Donovan struggled to get involved. Clearly, this team can’t win if it isn’t going to play as a well-oiled unit. We saw a prime example of that day. We also saw how much the team misses and needs Kelly Jekot, who went down with an injury earlier this season.
  • Burke stayed HOT from three against Nebraska. The freshman sharp-shooter notched a total of six threes (on 46% shooting) throughout the ballgame, making it look easy at times. Her performance was definitely one of the silver linings in this loss and it’s clear she has a lot of potential to succeed at Penn State in the upcoming years.

What’s Next

The Lady Lions return home Wednesday, February 24 for a showdown against No. 15 Ohio State. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.

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About the Author

Rory Pelella

Rory is a senior from Binghamton, New York majoring in Spanish and journalism. She's been bleeding blue and white ever since her older siblings decided to create a family dynasty in Happy Valley in 2006. So, as you can imagine, she loves absolutely everything Penn State (especially the Cheese Shoppe downtown). She's also a die-hard Yankees, Knicks, and Giants fan (it's brutal), and would do anything for a good old fashioned New York slice. Feel free to email her at [email protected] or follow her on twitter @rorypelella.

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