Lady Lions Upset By Wisconsin 69-57

Penn State women’s basketball (9-8, 3-4 Big Ten) fell to the Wisconsin Badgers (5-13, 2-6 Big Ten) 69-57 in Madison on Sunday afternoon.

As a heavy favorite against Wisconsin, the Lady Lions fell stagnant on offense and weren’t able to combat the three-point shooting clinic put on by the Badgers.

How It Happened

Penn State and Wisconsin traded blows for the first four minutes, with most of the damage coming from Makenna Marisa, and then Julie Pospisilova for Wisconsin. The Madison, Wisconsin native Leilani Kapinus hit a three to give her hometown fans something to cheer about, too. 

With the score knotted at seven a piece, Anna Camden drained another three-pointer to break the tie. Marisa would tack on another four to put Penn State on top 9-7. Both teams struggled to score for the next three minutes until an and-one by Kapinus gave Penn State the 17-11 lead to conclude the first quarter.

Pospisilova kicked things off in the second quarter for the Badgers with a bucket, and Shay Hagans got in on the action with the answer a possession later. It was Penn State that began the game on fire from beyond the arc, hitting three straight. But, the Badgers decided that they’d take a turn hitting three in a row, two coming from Katie Nelson, to climb out to a 22-21 lead.

A possession later, Sydney Hilliard poked the ball away from Kelly Jekot and found Nelson on the fast break. Nelson’s eight straight points had Wisconsin out to its biggest lead of the night at 24-21 to force a Penn State timeout.

Both teams traded blows for the next four minutes until a Marisa three would open up a four-point lead for Penn State that would stick going into the halftime.

Shay Hagans missed a shot to open up the second half for the Lady Lions, but Ali Brigham was there to clean up the glass and score the second-chance opportunity. Hagans wouldn’t miss a moment later, creating a steal and going coast-to-coast to put Penn State up 35-27 to force an early Wisconsin timeout.

That timeout would prove a pivotal turning point in the game. Brooke Schramek and Pospisilova hit back-to-back threes coming out of it, and it seemed like the Badgers had began to found something with their long-ball.

Pospisilova and Marisa would trade blows on offense again until it become the Katie Nelson show, as the graduate senior scored 10 points to end the quarter to give Wisconsin a 52-43 lead entering the final frame of action. 

Turnovers plagued the Lady Lions over the brutal offensive stretch in the second quarter, and it continued in the third, as the Lady Lions coughed it up eight times.

The 10-point deficit for Penn State stuck until Marisa pulled up and hit from three to bring Penn State within five. But, Nelson wasn’t done just yet. She responded with a layup to put Wisconsin up 61-54, and the Badgers wouldn’t look back.

Who but Nelson sunk the free-throws to put the icing on the cake for the Badgers.


  • The Lady Lions struggle when they turn the ball over. A total of 23 turnovers, with 13 in the first half for the Lady Lions, proved too much to overcome. Wisconsin was able to capitalize with points on turnovers to make them sting even more.
  • Makenna Marisa led all scorers with 26 points on 8-of-15 shooting, making some fearless three-pointers to keep her team in the game. But, she also turned the ball over eight times.
  • The Badgers shot 10-of-22 (45.5%) from three-point land, and outside of Marisa, the Lady Lions didn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up.

What’s Next

The Lady Lions return back to the Bryce Jordan Center for a three-game homestead, beginning with a standoff against Iowa at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 25.

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About the Author

Zach Donaldson

Zach is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a writer for Onward State and serves as an editor for Penn State’s CommRadio. He hails from Downingtown, Pa., or in other words "just outside of Philly." When he's not watching or ranting about Philly sports, you can probably find him at the gym. If you like sports tweets, follow him on Twitter @zachdonaldson_ and all inquiries can go to [email protected].

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