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First Quarter Struggles Doom Lady Lions In 89-68 Loss To Virginia

Penn State women’s basketball (7-1) lost to Virginia (9-0) Wednesday night by a score of 89-68 to suffer its first loss of the season.

The Lady Lions struggled early on in their first loss of the season, shooting at a 13.3% clip in the first quarter. From there, the team was unable to recover against the Cavaliers.

How It Happened

While Virginia scored five points on its two opening possessions, Penn State’s offense started off sluggish. The Lady Lions began 0-4 from the field and only scored their first two points from a breakaway layup from Makenna Marisa.

When head coach Carolyn Kieger called a timeout four minutes into the game, Penn State had given up three straight field goals to go down 11-2.

Marisa gave the Lady Lions three points coming right out of the break, but that would be all the offense Penn State would see for the next few possessions. A Leilani Kapinus airball while unguarded served as a summary of the team’s shooting thus far into the game, as Penn State was down 15-5.

It took the Lady Lions nearly five minutes after Marisa’s three-pointer to score again, a drought that included two missed free throws from Shay Ciezki. Eventually, Ali Brigham drained two shots from the line to bring the game to 20-7.

The Cavaliers scored once more before the end of the quarter, and the Lady Lions entered the huddle down 22-7. They had made 2-of-15 shots from the field while allowing Virginia to win 14-of-16 rebounds from Penn State’s shooting.

Brigham led off the scoring for Penn State in the second half, which was the Lady Lions’ first made field goal in nearly six minutes. Two possessions later, Alli Campbell brought the score to 28-12, while Ciezki made it 28-14 as the Lady Lions showed signs of life.

Two more points from Kapinus forced the Cavaliers to call a timeout after three and a half minutes, as the Lady Lions outscored the visitors 9-6 early in the second quarter.

Both teams had plenty of energy coming out of the break. Virginia opened up the action with a basket from beyond the arc, while Kapinus made a Zion Williamson-esque effort on the next defensive possession to race across the court to block a Cavalier shot.

Meanwhile, Penn State’s offense was settling in. Ciezki made two three-pointers to continue to narrow Virginia’s lead. With three minutes left in the quarter, the Cavaliers were up by just 11 points.

If anything was slowing Penn State down in the second quarter, it was the team’s foul trouble. While the offense started scoring down the court, the defense gave up five fouls on the other side, giving Virginia a five-point boost that let it maintain a bit more of a lead entering the half.

Going into the locker room, Penn State was down 44-29 after giving up points late. Despite the deficit, the Lady Lions clearly made a greater effort in the second quarter and controlled much more of the game.

Both offenses came out firing, scoring a combined 14 points in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Those baskets didn’t necessarily fall for the Lady Lions, however, as Virginia established a commanding 53-33 lead.

Penn State’s scoring struggles started to reemerge midway through the third quarter, as the team missed five straight field goals during a scoring drought that ran over three minutes.

Ciezki broke the drought with a three-pointer, while Taniyah Thompson and Marisa followed with threes of their own. Still, the Cavaliers’ lead held steady as Penn State struggled to make a dent.

With one quarter left, Penn State was down 68-48, while hopes of a comeback slipped further away. The Lady Lions had been outscored in all three quarters, while Virginia covered every statistic other than three-point percentage.

Penn State was still unable to cut into Virginia’s lead in the fourth quarter, but it was able to hang with the Cavaliers bucket-for-bucket.

The Lady Lions’ biggest highlight of the fourth quarter was a buzzer-beater from beyond the arc by Anna Camden, but with three minutes left, Penn State was still down 81-62. It wasn’t much effort for Virginia to close out the game as Penn State lost 89-68.

Takeaways

  • Brutal is an understatement to describe that first quarter. The Lady Lions simply couldn’t get anything to fall. All the same, credit goes to the team for not allowing that form to carry over into the second quarter.
  • As the competition has gotten more difficult, Penn State’s weaknesses have been exposed. While Kieger’s crew has cleaned up its turnover rate that hurt them early in the season, the Nittany Lions’ problems with scoring against the Cavaliers will be staring them in the face ahead of Big Ten play.

What’s Next

The Lady Lions will play Minnesota on the road at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, as they open up Big Ten play on the second away trip of the season.

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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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