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Lady Lions Can’t Keep Up With Northwestern, Fall 78-72 In Annual ‘Play4Kay’ Game

Penn State women’s basketball (9-13, 3-9 Big Ten) couldn’t get past Northwestern (13-8, 5-5 Big Ten) this Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center in a 78-72 loss.

The Lady Lions have now dropped their sixth straight game. Makenna Marisa paced Carolyn Kieger’s team in the losing effort with 25 points and four assists and Leilani Kapinus put up 15 points and seven boards.

How It Happened

The Bryce Jordan Center was filled with pink in its annual ‘Play4Kay’ game Sunday. The event honors former NC State women’s basketball coach, Kay Yow. All the pink benefits for the PA Pink Zone’s Kay Yow Cancer fund and to honor those who have survived or are still fighting breast cancer.

For the Lady Lions in pink, Kieger went with a small ball starting line up.

Penn State won the tip and Tova Sabel hit an easy lay-up to get this game started. After the first bucket, the rim seemed to be big for both teams as both the Lions and Wildcats shot over 60% in the first five minutes. However, Penn State put the pedal to the metal and quickly went on a 14-0 run, keeping the Wildcats scoreless for four straight minutes. Melannie Daley was able to end the scoreless streak, but Northwestern still remained down 18-9.

The Wildcats tried going on their own run towards the end of the quarter, outscoring Penn State 9-5, but a last-second three ball from Anna Camden kept the group up by double digits headed into the second quarter.

Jillian Brown knocked one from beyond the arc to get the Wildcats going early in the second quarter. On the very next possession for Northwestern, Veronica Burton hit another three. However, Leilani Kapinus came up with a huge steal and coast-to-coast finish to put an end to the early three-point shooting clinic.

After trading buckets early in the second, it went three minutes with no basket for either squad. Marisa finally knocked in a lay-up to end the scoring drought, which brought her total up to 15 for the night. However, it was the Wildcats who finished the quarter strong after finishing the final two minutes on a 6-2 run led by Daley. Penn State was up two at halftime.

Brown hit a step-back three to start the third and give Northwestern its first lead since the first quarter. Marisa answered quickly with a lay-up, but Laya Hartman answered with another three to keep the lead for the Wildcats.

Shay Hagans hit her first bucket of the game, which turned into an and-one bucket. That basket ended a 13-4 run for the Wildcats. On the next defensive possession, it was Hagans again with a huge block that set up an Ali Brigham lay-up. However, Northwestern remained up two entering the final half of the third quarter.

Kieger opted in for the full-court press and it quickly began to pay off. Marisa, Camden, and Hagans all notched in steals and Penn State was able to re-capture the lead with two minutes left in the third. With the help of the press, the Lady Lions finished the quarter on a 12-3 run and held a 62-55 lead headed into the final ten minutes of action.

Both teams continued to battle to start the final quarter, and despite some big shots from Lauryn Satterwhite and Burton, Hagans and Brigham kept the lead in Penn State’s favor. In Northwestern’s next two possessions, Laya Hartman and Satterwhite both hit shots from beyond the arc to regain the lead for the Wildcats.

In just the final two minutes of play, Northwestern remained up by five, thanks for a pair of free throws from Burton. After some missed shots from Marisa and Hagans to bring this game back to a one-possession game, Brown hit two free throws to increase the lead to seven. However, Marisa quickly answered with a lay-up to keep hope alive for the Lady Lions.

Burton went on to hit another pair of free throws, and it was Marisa again with a lay-up answer. (Did somebody say deja vu?) Penn State was forced to foul and Satterwhite made one free throw to extend the lead by six. Hagans found an open lane, but was unable to make the lay-up. Camden then fouled Burton, but it was too little too late for the Lady Lions as they fell to Northwestern, 78-72.


  • Penn State was able to win the first and third quarters today, out-scoring Northwestern 51-36 during those two quarters, respectively. However, the second and fourth quarters haunted the Lady Lions as they were outscored 42-21 during that span.
  • Northwestern shot the ball well today. The Wildcats shot 47% from the field, but an even more impressive 47.6% from beyond the arc. Laya Hartman led the way shooting 3-for-4 from three.
  • Basketball aside, the Pink Zone game was awesome today. Penn State and Northwestern both wore breast cancer inspired jerseys, the crowd was filled with energy, and Bryce Jordan Center took the time to recognize all the powerful women who kicked breast cancer’s ass at halftime. No matter who you are, this is one of the best traditions at Penn State.

What’s Next?

The Lady Lions will travel to West Lafayette to take on Purdue this Wednesday, February 9. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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About the Author

Tobey Prime

Tobey is a senior studying broadcast journalism from Lancaster, PA. He is a major Pittsburgh sports fan and Miami Heat fanatic. When Tobey isn't writing for Onward State, you can catch him looking at photos of his pugs. Send your best insults to [email protected] or sports takes to @tobey_prime on Twitter.

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