Lady Lions Breeze Past Long Island 85-66 In Season Opener
Penn State women’s basketball (1-0) moved past Long Island University (0-1) 85-66 Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. After nearly two years without fans, Penn State gifted its supporters with an easy win over the Sharks to start the season.
Ali Brigham was the star of the game, as she totaled 20 points and nine rebounds to start the Lady Lions’ season on the right foot.
How It Happened
Carolyn Kieger started this season with a lineup full of veterans. Niya Beverley, Anna Camden and Makenna Marisa all got starts, while Leilani Kapinus, who missed all last season with a knee injury, and sophomore Ali Brigham filled out the rest of the starting five.
Long Island won the opening tip and just like that, basketball season was back in Happy Valley, folks! After a first possession block, Brigham found herself at the line and sank both to score the first two points for the Nittany Lions this season.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the first quarter, but no one could pull away as the score was tied at nine through the first five minutes of play. Just moments later, the threes started to fly for Penn State as Shay Hagans, Kelly Jekot, and Marisa each sank one to give the Nittany Lions a 18-12 lead. After a few made free throws from both squads, Penn State finished the first quarter with two easy lay-ups to increase the lead to 23-14.
Penn State started the second quarter strong, scoring six easy points. Brigham quickly became the first player to reach double digits in scoring. With 10 points, she and the Nittany Lions had a 29-15 lead.
Long Island was finally able to get its offense going as it picked apart the Nittany Lions’ zone defense to bring this game within single digits. Penn State started to slowly pull away, but as the second quarter began to close, the offense began to heat up for Long Island. Kiara Bell made it look easy and scored six straight points for the Sharks. However, it was Marisa who put on the handles and hit a jumper at the buzzer to give Penn State a 41-30 lead going into the half.
The second half started with both teams trading possessions, but not finding any luck putting the ball in the bucket. Camden finally got the points going as she splashed the Nittany Lions’ sixth three of the game. Bell quickly answered with a lay-up, but Marisa and Brigham answered with buckets of their own to give Penn State a 14-point lead.
Both teams traded buckets to continue the third quarter, but Penn State remained up 53-36 halfway through the third quarter. Long Island started to find its offense with Tayra Eke and Bell finding themselves easy lay-ups in the paint. The Sharks outscored the Nittany Lions 10-5 in the final five-and-half minutes of third-quarter play, but remained down by double-digits.
Marisa sank two free throws to get the final quarter started for Penn State. Just one possession later, Beverley sank a corner three for her first field goal of the game. Long Island quickly answered back by scoring eight straight buckets. However, thanks to a three from Beverley, momentum shifted back to Penn State.
Both teams began trading threes after a Penn State timeout mid-way through the final quarter of play, but the Nittany Lions kept their lead. Emaia O’Brien hit a high-arching three for the Sharks as the game entered into the final few minutes of play. Marisa quickly marched down the court and found herself an easy lay-up to give herself 19 points on the night.
In the final minute of action, it was raining threes in the Bryce Jordan Center. O’Brien went down and sank a three, Sabel answered, but O’Brien answered right back. However, Penn State remained up 81-64. Both teams continued to trade buckets, but it was Penn State who came out on top with a final score of 85-66.
- It feet good to be back in Bryce Jordan Center, folks. For the first time in 624 days, fans were allowed back to cheer on the Lady Lions, and you could feel the energy before the game even started.
- Although there is plenty of season left to play, Ali Brigham looks like she will be a very important piece to this Nittany Lions squad. Tonight, she racked up 20 points, snagged nine boards, and even put up three blocks. Get used to hearing her name a lot this season.
- Despite a great performance from Brigham, the whole squad had themselves a solid show out. In total, the team had 13 steals and four blocks on defense, but their offensive play was even more impressive. The Nittany Lions shot 45.5% from the field and 35.5% from three. If Penn State can play like this for the rest of the season, look out, folks!
Penn State will stay at the Bryce Jordan Center to take on Rider University this Thursday, November 11. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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