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Lady Lions Outpaced By No. 23 Iowa In 107-79 Loss

Penn State women’s basketball (9-9, 3-5 Big Ten) hardly stood a chance in a 107-79 loss to No. 23 Iowa (13-4, 7-1 Big Ten) at the Bryce Jordan Center on Tuesday night.

Despite a 32-point effort from Makenna Marisa, the ranked Hawkeyes’ three-point shooting and strong offense overwhelmed head coach Carolyn Kieger’s lineup.

How It Happened

Kieger rolled out a common starting five against Iowa. Anna Camden, Tova Sabel, and Maddie Burke each made their way into the game off the bench to contribute to the Lady Lions’ effort against the Hawkeyes.

The Lady Lions got things rolling by winning the tipoff, but the Hawkeyes found the basket first. Leilani Kapinus was the first Nittany Lion to notch the scoreboard and the true freshman didn’t slow down.

Kieger’s squad struggled to convert layups in the first minutes of the game. Both Ali Brigham and Camden each fumbled their early basket opportunities. Sabel entered the game and quickly broke this bad streak with some energy and assisted Camden under the basket.

The Lady Lions generated some offensive momentum and showcased a consistency that hadn’t been seen yet from the Bryce Jordan Center. After six consecutive points, a three-point attempt from Sabel got caught between the rim and the glass of the basket, forcing the game to break for a media timeout.

Luckily for Penn State, the energy remained high out of the break and several points from Marisa kept the game competitive. However, Iowa’s entire lineup was contributing more consistently and began to create a slight lead. The Hawkeyes held the lead at 25-17 after the first quarter.

Marisa was hot out of the break and combined with Ali Brigham for a three-pointer. On the next possession, Sabel sunk a quick three from deep to complete a 6-0 run in less than a minute. Things began to look up for the Nittany Lions against ranked Hawkeyes as the squad managed to close a once 12 point lead to just one point.

Kelly Jekot and Kayla Thomas provided a much-needed burst of energy off the bench and helped the Lady Lions rack up some quick points. However, the Hawkeyes’ man-on-man defensive strategy hindered much momentum.

Iowa moved the ball around extremely efficiently at the end of the half. Seemingly in an attempt to run out the clock, the Hawkeyes held onto possession as long as they could, leaving Penn State with just three seconds. Camden closed out the quarter with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from deep to close out the half at 52-47 in favor of Iowa.

The Hawkeyes came out of the locker room and completed a 7-0 run against the Lady Lions. Marisa did her best to respond to Iowa, but the Hawkeyes outpaced Kieger’s lineup as they started to pull away on the scoreboard in the second half.

Fouls, illegal screens, and travel calls started to plague the Lady Lions at the end of the third quarter, allowing Iowa to take advantage offensively. The Hawkeyes rarely missed an opportunity to increase their lead and used every free throw or turnover to tire out the Nittany Lions.

Marisa and the Lady Lions only managed to put up seven points during the third quarter compared to the Hawkeyes’ 27. Kieger and Penn State headed into the final quarter trailing 79-59.

Kapinus demonstrated her importance to the team throughout the fourth quarter. Despite a large Iowa lead, the freshman continued to force turnovers and maintain a productive pace on the floor. Similar to Kapinus, Jekot offered the same energy throughout the long quarter.

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, Monika Czinano, and McKenna Warnock each contributed upwards of 20 points against the Lady Lions, showcasing the Hawkeyes’ offensive talent. While Marisa put up an impressive 32 points, it seemed minuscule compared to Iowa’s offensive consistency across its lineup.

Ultimately, the Hawkeyes controlled the game from the opening tip-off and overpowered the Lady Lions from the get-go en route to a 107-79 win.


  • Tova Sabel is a serious game-changer off the bench, folks. What can’t she do? Sabel provided the Lady Lions with a lot of momentum and energy that the lineups lacked. Off the bench, she contributed 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including three three-point shots. Every team needs a super sub, and Tova Sabel is just that.
  • Makenna Marisa posted 32 points against Iowa. Penn State’s next-closest scorer? Sabel, who had 12 points. While having a player as consistent and productive on the floor as Marisa is great, where is her help? The Lady Lions could stand a much stronger chance in games if they had another consistent weapon or two.

What’s Next?

The Lady Lions will remain in Happy Valley and face Michigan State on Thursday, January 27. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on BTN+.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a sophomore journalism major from Richmond, Va., and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She also talks sports on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese, naps, and Kevin Jonas. If you would like to discuss the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @lammkeeley. Please direct all hate mail to her email [email protected]

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