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Lady Lions Narrowly Defeat Norfolk State 67-61 In Season Opener

Penn State women’s basketball (1-0) took down Norfolk State (1-1) on Wednesday night, by a margin of 67-61.

Despite a late push from the Spartans, the Lady Lions avoided a collapse at home to secure the first win of the season. Makenna Marisa was the leading scorer for the Lady Lions, with over 20 points on the night.

How It Happened

After scrappy possessions on both sides of the court, Marisa found Penn State’s first basket of the season, as a corner shot put the Lady Lions up by three. Two more threes from Anna Camden and Taniyah Thompson kept Penn State hot through the first three minutes.

The Spartans were able to work two baskets back, benefitting from some momentum after a timeout. They weren’t able to hold that advantage for long, as free throws from Chanaya Pinto and a layup from Marisa pushed the Lady Lions to a 13-8 lead to end the first quarter.

Both sides came out firing in the second quarter, scoring a combined 14 points in the first four minutes. The Lady Lions continued to extend their lead over the visitors, scoring nine points and lengthening their lead to 22-12.

The game slowed down after a timeout with six minutes left, as Penn State’s only points came from two free throw shots while missing six straight from the field. Kierra Wheeler led the Spartans as they kept the deficit from slipping any further.

Both sides took advantage of the last few seconds, as Penn State dropped two in transition while Norfolk State scored four points. The two teams went into the locker room with a 28-22 in favor of the Lady Lions.

Three points for each side kept the difference even for both sides through the first two minutes, but Penn State soon won the momentum battle. Decisive offense and tight defense quickly bumped the Lady Lions’ lead to ten points.

The two teams worked back and forth for several minutes. Norfolk State worked the score back to five points at one point, while Penn State held an eight-point margin toward the end of the quarter.

Marisa boosted Penn State’s lead in the final seconds, as five points to close the quarter boosted the Lady Lions to a nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

Norfolk State and Penn State traded blows in the opening minutes of the final quarter. While the Spartans knocked down eight points in under five minutes, they struggled to significantly dent the Lady Lions’ lead.

Miscommunications by Penn State allowed the Spartans to slowly work the deficit back to just four points with under three minutes left in the game. Suddenly, the Spartans were just one point behind with under two minutes left.

Two successful free throws from Thompson pushed Penn State three points ahead with a minute and a half remaining. A charge taken by Leilani Kapinus put the ball back in the Lady Lions’ hands and into the basket as they made a late-game push.

Two free throws drawn by Pinto secured that push, as she sunk one and increased Penn State’s lead to four points with under 20 seconds remaining. One last steal and layup by Marisa closed out the match, with a 67-61 win.


  • Despite the late-game struggles, Penn State controlled the lead for the entirety of the competition. Consistency was key for the Lady Lions to avoid a single deficit.
  • Just two days ago, the Spartans dropped 125 points against a Division I – South opponent while allowing just 19. Penn State flipped the script against Norfolk State, winning against a team that already had the confidence of a big win behind them.
  • “Massive” is an understatement for Marisa’s performance on Wednesday night. The senior dropped over 20 points as the leading scorer for the Lady Lions and was undoubtedly the best player on the court.

What’s Next

Penn State will stay at home for a matchup against Fairfield at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 11 at the Bryce Jordan Center.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a sophomore journalism major at Penn State. He enjoys yelling into the Twitter void over various sports items that don't really matter. If you ever want to meet him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Find (and disagree with him) on Twitter (Joe_Lister21) or by email ([email protected])

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