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Lady Lions Exposed In 80-51 Loss To Nebraska

Penn State women’s basketball (11-6, 2-4 Big Ten) fell to Nebraska (11-6, 3-3 Big Ten) on Wednesday night by a wide margin of 80-51.

The Lady Lions’ offense struggled all night and the defense couldn’t control the game underneath the net. Penn State was outplayed from the opening whistle and struggled to rebound throughout the contest.

How It Happened

In typical Lady Lions fashion, a steal led to the game’s first points. A snatch from Chanaya Pinto allowed Alexa Williamson to score on a layup in the first minute of play.

The two teams traded points on the next two possessions, but the scoring slowed down from there. After four minutes, the score was just 4-3.

However, both teams’ offenses exploded from there. Over the next 90 seconds, Penn State and Nebraska combined for 13 points and the Cornhuskers led 12-8. After brief struggles, Nebraska’s three-point shot began to fall, and while the two teams were tied in made field goals, the Cornhuskers were simply winning off the deep ball.

After a timeout with four minutes remaining in the first quarter, Nebraska took the game over. After less than a minute, its lead was increased to 16-8. Penn State didn’t cut that deficit down for the rest of the quarter, and a late three-point play gave Nebraska a 21-10 lead going into the break.

Things didn’t improve much for the Lady Lions in the second quarter. While Penn State struggled to shoot (it shot just 32.3% from the field in the first half), it also struggled to hold back Nebraska on defense. Nebraska started the quarter with a 9-4 run in the first four minutes, while the Lady Lions just looked uncomfortable on offense.

Halfway through the quarter, the Cornhuskers held a 33-14 lead over Penn State. A three-and-a-half-minute scoring drought was broken by a Makenna Marisa three-pointer, but it wasn’t able to fire up the Lady Lions’ offense.

Penn State was eventually able to steady itself but struggled to cut into Nebraska’s lead. An eight-point run brought the score to 38-25 with over a minute left, but when both teams traded three-pointers at the end of the half, they entered the locker rooms with Nebraska leading 41-28.

Penn State’s offense looked smooth to start the third quarter. A set play allowed Marisa to score in the opening seconds, but Nebraska responded well. The Cornhuskers matched Penn State’s two points with five of their own and shut down the Lady Lions on the next three possessions.

Penn State continued to fail to stop the Cornhuskers’ offense. A shot clock-beating hook shot from Maggie Mendelson gave them a 52-32 lead with 5:25 left in the half. Nebraska had figured out the Lady Lions’ full-court press and was shooting exceptionally well to open the half.

Despite poor free-throw shooting, the Lady Lions were able to pull the score back to a 15-point difference over the next three minutes. That difference wouldn’t hold through the end of the quarter, and Penn State entered the final 10 minutes of the game down 58-38.

The Cornhuskers shut down any belief in a comeback early in the fourth quarter. A quick six points made the score 64-38 after just over a minute of play. A few minutes later, they had a 72-38 lead, and Penn State continued to look flustered on the court.

With six minutes left in the game, the Lady Lions put the reserves in the game to close it out. The bench held down the game well, but didn’t make a dent in the gap between Penn State and Nebraska, as the game finished 80-51 with a wild half-court shot from Nebraska’s Kendall Moriarty.

Takeaways

  • Penn State struggled heavily under the rim in the first half. After the first 20 minutes of play, Nebraska had secured 14 offensive rebounds and 15 defensive rebounds. In that same time frame, the Lady Lions had just 15 total rebounds.
  • While head coach Carolyn Kieger’s full-court press worked well to start the game, eventually it became stale and Nebraska adapted. As soon as the Cornhuskers figured out how to avoid the press, they took over the game.
  • While the Lady Lions did not perform well against Nebraska, they have looked good as of late. At this point, it’s best to take this as a one-off performance where the team struggled to get shots to fall, but it isn’t necessarily a symptom of a larger issue.

What’s Next

The Lady Lions will stay on the road to face No. 12 Iowa at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 14.

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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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