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Lady Lions Fall In 85-62 Rout To Illinois

Penn State women’s basketball (13-14, 4-12 Big Ten) lost to Illinois (20-7, 10-6 Big Ten) on Sunday, in a sharp 85-62 defeat.

The loss stretched the team’s losing streak to a season-long four consecutive games, a skid that started against No. 7 Iowa.

How It Happened

While the Lady Lions won the opening tip, they came up empty-handed on their first two possessions while surrendering four points to the Fighting Illini.

Illinois continued to improve that early lead through the first minutes of the first quarter. Through a little over more than five minutes, the Fighting Illini led 15-6 while shooting 71.4% from the field Penn State only made 37.5% of its shots.

The end of the first quarter initially allowed Penn State to work its way back into the game. Illinois’ shooting percentage began to drop as Penn State’s improved, and the Lady Lions began to even the scoreline. Still, while Shay Ciezki appeared to have the final say of the quarter with a massive three-pointer, Illinois’ Makira Cook closed the quarter with a three of her own, bringing the score to 27-19.

If Penn State had made any progress at the end of the first quarter, it was lost at the start of the second. It didn’t take long for Illinois to begin running away with the game — it scored nine points in under three minutes. With 2:24 taken off the clock, the Fighting Illini were up 36-22.

Penn State’s offense struggled throughout the second quarter. A scoring drought of over three minutes allowed Illinois to increase its lead, and things didn’t get much better after that.

After Ali Brigham’s layup with 4:30 left in the half, Penn State failed to convert another field goal for the rest of the second quarter. Instead, the team sunk seven free throws, and while Illinois didn’t finish strong either, it still held a 48-31 lead going into halftime.

If the game hadn’t been decided by halftime, it certainly was in the first few minutes of the second half. Penn State struggled with possession and rebounding, and soon, Illinois had a 22-point lead.

The Fighting Illini took a 30-point lead just past halfway through the third quarter. While Makenna Marisa and Leilani Kapinus had converted Penn State’s two field goals, Illinois went 9-for-15 from the field as it continued to roll away with the game.

By the end of the third quarter, Illinois’ lead had improved to 33 points, as it led 73-40. Penn State had gone just 4-16 from the field in the third quarter, while the Fighting Illini made 10 of their 19 shots.

Illinois never obtained a 40-point lead in the fourth quarter, but it did come close. Its 39-point lead with six minutes remaining was the game’s largest lead.

Penn State pulled the score back in the final minutes of the game, but it was nowhere near enough as it fell 85-62.

Takeaways

  • Penn State’s three-point shot, frankly, is inconsistent. However, so is the rest of its shooting. Sunday’s matchup was another instance of Penn State shooting better from beyond the arc than from the general field. With shooters like Ciezki, Makenna Marisa, and Taniyah Thompson, maybe it’s time for Penn State to grow that part of its game.
  • The team’s bench is struggling to get involved. While it makes sense that if the stars are struggling, the bench will also suffer, Penn State’s backups put up some pretty rough numbers against Illinois. Illinois’ bench put up 30 points against Penn State’s 12, a significant part of the day’s difference.

What’s Next

Penn State will stay out in the midwest this week, facing Purdue on the road at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and an associate editor at Onward State. He covers Penn State football and enjoys yelling on Twitter about Philadelphia/Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Please send all positive affirmations and/or hate mail toward him on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email ([email protected]).

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