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Lady Lions Outplayed By Minnesota, Drop Regular-Season Finale 94-83

Penn State women’s basketball (11-17, 5-13 Big Ten) lost its regular-season finale to Minnesota (14-16, 7-11) 94-83 Sunday afternoon on Senior Day at the Bryce Jordan Center

The Lady Lions were simply outplayed all forty minutes during the afternoon matchup. Makenna Marisa led the squad with 28 points, with Tova Sabel and Ali Brigham also notching 19 and nine points of their own, respectively. The two seniors, Kelly Jekot and Niya Beverley, finished with two and nine points, respectively, too.

How It Happened

For Sunday’s Senior Day game, Kelly Jekot and Niya Beverley got the nod to start in their last Penn State home game. Leilani Kapinus, Makenna Marisa, and Anna Camden filled out the rest of the starting five.

Minnesota won the tip, but it was Beverley with a steal and a fast-break layup for the first bucket of the game. The Gophers made up for the score and hit two easy layups on their next two possessions. Then, Jekot was able to find Camden in the paint for an easy backdoor layup. However, Minnesota started to control the pace of this game and jumped out on a 11-2 run.

After the first media timeout of the half, Penn State broke out the full-court press and scored six unanswered points, but Sara Scalia sunk a corner three to end the Lady Lions’ run. Kapinus and Ali Brigham put on the post moves that brought this game back within four. Just as time was expiring, Laura Bagwell Katalinich grabbed her own rebound and sank a layup before the first buzzer sounded. With that bucket, she was the first player to reach double figures in the matchup.

Scalia drained one from beyond the arc to get things started in the second quarter. The Gophers kept Penn State scoreless through the first four minutes and extended their lead to 13. Marisa ended the drought with two points from the charity stripe, and she showcased her ball-handling skills and scored two more buckets. However, Scalia, and her jump shot, kept the lead for the Gophers.

The full-court press started to work out for the Lady Lions, as they finished the quarter on a 6-2 run after a few steals from Tova Sabel and aggressive play from Shay Hagans. However, as the buzzer sounded for halftime, Minnesota held a 38-28 lead.

Kadi Sissoko scored an easy jumper for the Gophers to start the second half. Scalia hit back-to-back three pointers, which brought her point total to 17 at this point. Gadiva Hubbard joined in on the three party as the Gophers reached 50 points. Finally, Marisa stopped the 12-0 run with back-to-back buckets, and Sabel drained a three, which was the first three-pointer to fall for Penn State.

The Lady Lions slowly started to chip away at the lead as they cut the deficit to nine after two free throws from Camden with just over two minutes left in the third. However, three straight buckets from Sissoko to end the quarter kept the lead in favor of the Gophers by 12.

Some free throws from Brigham and Hagans got things started in the final quarter of action. Marisa found buckets from the charity stripe and the paint, but Scalia answered with back-to-back threes from way downtown to bring her three-point total to seven.

Sissoko scored six unanswered points of her own before Brigham answered with an and-one play. Scalia marched down and sank her eighth three-pointer of the game. As we entered into the final stretch, both teams traded free throws, but Minnesota kept its double-figure lead.

With just a minute-and-a-half left, Sabel was fouled after a made layup, but couldn’t convert the and-one try to bring this game within ten. Sissoko sank two free throws, which Marisa answered with two jumpers of her own. Minnesota decided to dribble the clock out to end the game, and it escaped with a commanding 94-83 win.

Takeaways

  • Sunday’s game marks the end of the 2021-2022 regular season (Sad!). The Lady Lions finished with a 7-6 record when playing at the Bryce Jordan Center.
  • The Lady Lions were quite simply outplayed by the Gophers today. Sloppy passes, blown defensive coverage, and not hitting easy jumpers was the story of Penn State’s woes today.
  • Scalia was making it rain in the Bryce Jordan Center today. She finished the night with 32 points, while shooting 8-of-13 from downtown. She even hit a few from the logo, folks.

What’s Next

The Lady Lions will participate in the Big Ten Tournament, which starts next on next Wednesday, March 2. Seeding and matchups have yet to be announced.

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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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