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Lady Lions Secure Late 74-69 Win Over Wisconsin

Penn State women’s basketball (12-8, 3-6 Big Ten) took down Wisconsin (6-14, 2-7 Big Ten) in a 74-69 thriller on Sunday. Senior Taniyah Thompson led the way with 27 points in a massive conference victory.

The Lady Lions snapped a three-game losing streak in their fifth game in a row with 10 or more steals. The win was the twelfth of the season, the highest total that head coach Carolyn Kieger has reached since she took the job in 2019.

How It Happened

Penn State won the opening tip after a brief scuffle, but Wisconsin took the game’s first lead. While the Lady Lions’ offense struggled outside of a Makenna Marisa three-point conversion in the opening minutes, Wisconsin took a quick 10-3 lead before Kieger called a timeout.

Penn State’s defense took a moment to adjust coming out of the break, but eventually, fierce and physical coverage generated turnovers. When the team’s offense scored 10 points in three and a half minutes, Wisconsin head coach Maria Moseley was forced to call a timeout with her team now up just 16-13.

Penn State ended the first quarter as strong as it could — a Shay Ciezki three-point shot brought the crowd to its feet as it beat the buzzer and brought the score to 22-21 in favor of the Badgers.

Neither team’s offense was able to produce much at the start of the second quarter. A Wisconsin three-pointer was the only score for nearly four minutes of action until the Badgers converted on a layup. Penn State was able to score six points in quick order after Wisconsin’s five. Halfway through the quarter, the Lady Lions had tied the game at 26 points apiece.

A pair of free throws from Thompson gave the Lady Lions their first lead of the game, one they improved upon before the end of the half. Penn State went into the locker room up 35-30 and with strong control of the game.

Penn State’s lead didn’t last long into the second half. A series of three-point conversions from the Badgers tied the score at 39-39 after two and a half minutes of action, and Wisconsin retook the lead 30 seconds later.

Scoring slowed down for a few minutes, but both sides stayed close. The lead oscillated back and forth as the shots began to fall near the end of the third quarter. Ultimately, Wisconsin took a lead late and went into the break 50-47.

It took some work, but Penn State retook the lead after 2:37 with a three-pointer from Thompson. With a 56-55 scoreline, Moseley called a timeout to try and give her team some momentum back.

Thompson stayed hot out of the break, with six quick points in fewer than two minutes to keep Penn State ahead. Another layup from Thompson forced another Wisconsin timeout with 4:33 left in the game, and Penn State was up 63-59.

Wisconsin stayed step-for-step with Penn State, but it wasn’t enough to take a lead. While the game was close, Penn State was able to hold a one-possession lead. With a minute left in the game, Wisconsin used its third timeout down 72-69.

As the clock wound down, Penn State’s victory began more certain. A basket from Chanaya Pinto with 15 seconds left made the score 74-69, and all but certified that the Lady Lions would leave with a win.

Fifteen seconds later, Penn State did just that. The Lady Lions secured their first win in four games, winning 74-69.

Takeaways

  • It’s time for Thompson to start some games. The Eastern Carolina transfer recorded her highest point total of the season, a culmination of increased performance over the past few games. Her 27 points won the game for Penn State, and she should be rewarded.
  • If Penn State has one Achilles’ heel, it is shooting. Ignoring the fourth quarter, the Lady Lions shot just 32.5% from the field. This isn’t a new problem, but it’s certainly one that is keeping games close when Penn State could run away with the lead.
  • If nothing else, Penn State showed its grit and determination that Kieger had wanted from the team after its last loss. The Lady Lions were led by a bench player, went after loose balls, and made the tough plays. The scoreline should have been better against an opponent with a losing record, but a win is a win.

What’s Next

Penn State hits the road to take on Rutgers at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 26.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a senior journalism major at Penn State and Onward State's managing editor. He writes about everything Penn State, especially its 10-2 football team. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. For dumb stuff, follow him on Twitter (iamjoelister). For serious stuff, email him ([email protected]).

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