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Lady Lions End Losing Streak With 69-57 Win Over West Virginia

Penn State women’s basketball (8-3, 0-2 Big Ten) took down West Virginia (7-2) on Sunday afternoon, 69-57.

It was the Lady Lions’ first win in four games and featured three players scoring over ten points. Shay Ciezki dropped 14 points, while Leilani Kapinus scored 15 to lead Penn State to victory.

How It Happened

Both teams started slow on offense. While Penn State scored on its first possession, it failed to do so on the following three, despite running down three shot clocks on the second possession. Meanwhile, West Virginia took nearly three minutes before it knocked down a three-pointer.

However, the Mountaineers knocked down a second shot from beyond the arc a minute later, and head coach Carolyn Kieger used her first timeout to give her team a reset down 6-2.

Johnasia Cash sank one of two free throws for the Lady Lions coming out of the break, though Penn State was still warming up on offense. While the defense was creating problems for the Mountaineers, the Lady Lions had only scored five points in the opening six minutes of play after a Taniyah Thompson layup.

The Lady Lions doubled that total in the next 90 seconds, with a Makenna Marisa jumper and an impressive three-point play from Leilani Kapinus. With two minutes remaining in the first quarter, the game was tied at 10 points apiece.

Those final two minutes were a struggle for the Lady Lions, as they went 1-7 from the field. However, they went into the break losing by just one point, 14-13.

Kapinus opened up the scoring for Penn State in the second quarter, scoring five points in 73 seconds to give Penn State an 18-14 lead.

On the other side of the court, the Lady Lions’ full-court press was on display. West Virginia failed to score in the opening three minutes of the second quarter, in great part to Penn State’s aggressive defense that forced three quick turnovers.

Two three-pointers from Shay Ciezki gave Penn State some life, including one to beat the shot clock. Thompson and Marisa sunk shots from beyond the arc soon after, and Penn State took a quick 30-18 lead with just over four minutes left in the half.

However, as Penn State was warming up, so was West Virginia. The Mountaineers scored seven points in just under two minutes and worked to score back to a three-point deficit with two minutes left.

The Lady Lions worked back five points just before halftime, capped off by a buzzer-beating layup from Ali Brigham. Penn State went into the locker room with a 39-31 lead.

In the opening three minutes of the second half, both sides traded points before an officiating timeout, and Penn State held its nine-point lead while up 42-33.

Both teams went back and forth for the next few minutes, but a pair of three-pointers helped West Virginia slightly trim down the deficit to seven points with four minutes remaining in the third quarter.

While West Virginia showed signs of a third-quarter comeback, Penn State turned on the offense late. A combined five points from Ciezki and Thompson in the last minute gave the Lady Lions a 58-47 lead going into the last ten minutes.

Penn State took over early in the fourth quarter. In two minutes, the team scored seven points and continued to expand its comfortable lead. As the clock ticked down, it looked like the Lady Lions could coast to its first win in four games.

When West Virginia called a timeout halfway through the quarter, Penn State still held a 12-point lead. While up 67-55, the Lady Lions just had to close out the dying minutes.

Penn State did just that and picked up its first win since November 26, winning 69-57.

Takeaways

  • Over the last three games, Penn State was killed by its field goal percentage, most notably, the team shot 35.9% from the field against Indiana. Sunday’s matchup was a whole new look for Kieger’s squad, which shot 49% from the field.
  • Need a buzzer-beating three? Ciezki’s got you. Penn State has been looking to the freshman when it needs a tough shot, and she’s delivering. Against West Virginia, two of her four three-pointers fell through the net as the shot clock expired.
  • If nothing else, this was a great game for Penn State’s morale. After a three-game skid, the Lady Lions were able to control a tough game against a respectable team.

What’s Next

Penn State breaks up its home stand with a trip to Drexel on Sunday, December 18 at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on FloSports.

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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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