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Lady Lions Fall To Rutgers In 86-82 Overtime Thriller

Penn State women’s basketball (12-9, 3-7 Big Ten) lost 86-82 to Rutgers (9-13, 3-7 Big Ten) on Thursday in Piscataway. It was the Lady Lions’ fourth loss in five games as they struggle in Big Ten play.

How It Happened

It took some time for either team’s offense to settle in. Rutgers scored the lone two points in the first two minutes, however, a layup from Alexa Williamson got things moving and within a minute Penn State had a 7-6 lead.

Williamson took on a massive role in Penn State’s offense early on, dishing out five points and two steals that turned into scoring for the Lady Lions. At that same time, shots were falling at a 77.8% clip for Penn State, which created a 15-10 lead before Rutgers called a timeout just over halfway through the first quarter.

Despite a quiet two minutes after the timeout, the last two minutes of the quarter saw Penn State boost its lead. A buzzer-beating three-point conversion from Taniyah Thompson gave the Lady Lions a 23-12 lead after 10 minutes.

Penn State’s lead didn’t hold long. Weak shooting from the Lady Lions and strong offense from the Scarlet Knights brought the score to 23-18 in under three minutes.

The Lady Lions’ scoring drought continued until almost five minutes through the quarter, when an Ali Brigham layup made the score 25-20. A minute later, Penn State called a timeout with the score sitting at 25-22 and Rutgers preparing to go to the line for two shots.

Rutgers’ Kai Carter sunk both shots, but Penn State continued to hold on to its slim lead for three more minutes before another free throw tied the game at 30 points apiece.

While Penn State briefly gave up the lead, Shay Ciezki beat the halftime buzzer with a drive down the court, and the Lady Lions went into the break up 33-32.

The two teams went back and forth to start the second half, but Penn State held a slight edge in the opening minutes.

A Josh Hart-like play to keep the ball in-bounds with just under three minutes into the half from Johnasia Cash set up a deep lob from Makenna Marisa to Leilani Kapinus. Kapinus’ layup gave the Lady Lions strong momentum and forced Rutgers to call a timeout soon after when Penn State took a 44-39 lead.

Penn State gave up that lead with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Two converted free throws from Kaylene Smikle gave Rutgers a two-point lead. However, a three-point shot from Ciezki started a sequence of back-and-forth lead changes that lasted 90 seconds before Penn State called a timeout.

Rutgers held a slight lead by the end of the third quarter and with some momentum on its side while leading 61-56.

The Scarlet Knights’ lead held steady, and they were up by seven points halfway through the quarter. Still, Penn State wasn’t yet done. Despite the limited time remaining, the Lady Lions continued to take deep shots led by Marisa.

However, Penn State was struggling on the other end of the court. Rutgers was having its say on offense, which limited the Lady Lions’ hope for a comeback.

While Rutgers seemed to have control of the game, a Ciezki three-pointer made the score 76-74 for the Scarlet Knights with just under a minute left. A travel from Rutgers’ Erica Lafayette gave Penn State a chance to tie or take the lead with 46.3 seconds remaining in the game.

Marisa drew a foul driving down the lane, earning two shots. She sunk them both and tied the game with 40.4 seconds left. Seventeen seconds later, Lafayette restored Rutgers’ two-point lead. Three seconds later, Cash tied the game back up.

With 20 seconds on the clock, Rutgers couldn’t score on its final possession and sent the game to overtime tied at 78-78.

Rutgers took the early lead in overtime, but Marisa’s three-point attempt two minutes into the period gave the Lady Lions an 82-80 lead. A minute later, Carter converted a layup and a free throw to give the Scarlet Knights a one-point lead with two minutes left.

Rutgers converted another free throw with 20 seconds remaining, and another with 14 seconds remaining. With the score hanging at 85-82, Penn State had possession but was without Marisa after the guard fouled out.

Ciezki was unable to convert on that possession. On the final shot of the game, the freshman missed her three-point shot. After Rutgers sunk one more free throw in garbage time, the Scarlet Knights took an 86-82 win.


  • Williamson was a solid part of this Penn State effort. While she has struggled on offense in recent games, her 13 points were a key part of keeping the Lady Lions in this game. On defense, she was better, recording nine rebounds and two steals as she did her part to try to avoid the loss.
  • Penn State struggled with consistency on offense throughout the game, and most evidently in overtime. The Lady Lions struggled with a drought lasting the final 3:20 of the game, which cost them the win.
  • The Lady Lions have lost two of their last three games, all of which have come against teams with losing records at the time of the competition. Conference play isn’t easy in a conference as difficult as the Big Ten, but Penn State will need to do better to find itself in any postseason situation.

What’s Next?

Penn State faces No. 10 Maryland on the road at 6 p.m. on Monday, January 30.

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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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