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Lady Lions Fend Off Toledo 60-59 At Daytona Beach Invitational

Penn State women’s basketball (6-0) kept its winning streak alive by taking down Toledo (3-2) by a score of 60-59 Friday afternoon. Shay Ciezki led the way with 16 points but Leilani Kapinus’ clutch free throws were the difference maker.

Penn State led for nearly the entire game before squandering its lead with seven seconds left. But, the Lady Lions had ice in their veins to retake the lead at the buzzer.

How It Happened

Makenna Marisa, Shay Ciezki, Leilani Kapinus, Chanaya Pinto, and Alexa Williamson got the start for the Lady Lions. This marked Pinto’s first start in the blue and white after she transferred in from Oregon.

Penn State won the jump ball but Toledo was first to get on the board after Sammi Mikonowicz split a pair of free throws. Pinto striked right back with a three-pointer from the top of the key, giving the Lady Lions an early 3-1 lead.

Makena Marisa got hot early and scored six consecutive points for Penn State, stretching its lead to 9-3. A Johnasia Cash jumper made it 11-3 in the Lady Lions’ favor by the time the first media timeout rolled around.

The Rockets came out firing out of the break but Pinto answered with an ice-cold trey — her second of the contest — to put Penn State up 14-7. Toledo called a timeout after Penn State’s Taniyah Thompson extended the lead to 16-8 with a fast-break layup off a beautiful steal and feed from Ali Brigham.

Toledo’s Quinesha Lockett hit an and-one jump shot at the buzzer to cut the Rockets’ deficit to 18-13 at the end of the first quarter. Penn State was shooting a cool 61.5% after the first 10 minutes of play.

Ciezki opened up scoring for Penn State in the second quarter but Toledo quickly went on a 6-0 run, cutting the Lady Lions’ lead to 20-19 and forcing Carolyn Kieger to call a timeout.

Pinto converted an and-one layup out of the layup to stabilize things for Penn State, bringing her up to nine points on the afternoon. Brigham added four consecutive points for the Lady Lions, stretching their lead to 29-25.

Marisa couldn’t score on Penn State’s final two possessions of the half and the Lady Lions led 29-25 at halftime. Pinto led the way with nine points, going 2-for-3 from deep. The squad’s field goal percentage dropped to 35.3% after going four-for-21 in the second quarter.

Pinto opened up the second half with a heat check trey, but it didn’t fall. Both teams took a while to find their footing, only adding two points a piece in the first three minutes

Penn State eventually broke the drought with an avalanche of nine points in 1:12 of play, forcing a Toledo timeout. Ciezki added seven of those nine quick points, giving Penn State a 40-27 edge.

A three-pointer from Toledo’s Khera Goss and a pair of free throws from Lockett helped the Rockets chip away at the lead. Penn State failed to score in the final 3:15 of the third quarter but still held a 42-37 when the whistle blew.

A Cash layup opened up scoring for Penn State in the second half to give the Lady Lions a seven-point lead. But, three free throws and a Sophia Wiard trey brought Toledo’s deficit to 44-43 with eight minutes to play.

Alexa Williamson got on the board in a timely fashion by adding four consecutive gritty points for Penn State, padding its lead to five points near the seven-minute mark. The Lady Lions still led 51-47 at the final media timeout.

Justina King’s jumper cut Penn State’s lead to 51-49 with four minutes to play and she added two free throws to tie things up with 3:19 left. Marisa gave the Lady Lions the lead back with a timely two right after.

Pinto and Ciezki added quick buckets after a Kieger timeout, but Mikonowicz immediately responded with a Toledo triple with 1:05 to play. Lockett then had an and-one opportunity to tie things up for the Rockets but couldn’t sink it.

But, Wiard was given an opportunity at the line after being fouled by Williamson with seven seconds left. She sunk both of them to give Toledo its first lead since the first quarter.

Penn State ran a last-chance play with two seconds left and couldn’t find Nylon, but Kapinus was fouled and made two clutch free throws with one second on the clock, giving the Lady Lions a 60-59 victory.

Takeaways

  • Chanaya Pinto made her presence felt in her first start for Penn State. She finished five-for-nine from the field and added two triples. The Oregon transfer also set a season-high with 13 points and made more treys than the rest of the season combined.
  • The Lady Lions were streaky throughout the matchup and that was on full display in the third quarter when Shay Ciezki & Co. added nine points in just about a minute of play. Ciezki finished with a game-high 16 points, largely thanks to her seven-point avalanche.
  • Penn State is learning to win games in a variety of ways. After a huge comeback against Syracuse, this was more of a methodical win. The Lady Lions took the lead early and fiercely defended it from some mighty Toledo attacks all afternoon.
  • Leilani Kapinus is ice cold. She had just three points on the night, but two of them were Penn State’s most important of the night. Her buzzer-beating free throws gave the Lady Lions the one-point edge they needed.

What’s Next

The Lady Lions will round out the Daytona Beach Classic against Fresno State at 11 a.m. Saturday. The game can be streamed live on FloHoops or listened to on the Penn State Sports Network.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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