Lady Lions Comeback Falls Short In 80-65 Loss To Michigan State

Penn State women’s basketball (13-16, 4-14 Big Ten) fell to Michigan State (15-13, 7-10 Big Ten) on Saturday, losing 80-65. The loss was the sixth in a row for the Lady Lions, as a late comeback fell through.

The game also marked the end of the regular season for Penn State, as it looks ahead to the Big Ten Tournament.

How It Happened

Both teams struggled on offense early on, missing easy shots with subpar field goal percentages. Through the first five minutes of action, Shay Ciezki and Alexa Williamson scored the only points for the Lady Lions, as they went 2-for-11 from the field and were losing 11-5 on the scoreboard.

The end of the first quarter didn’t fare much better for the Lady Lions. They were still struggling to shoot, while Michigan State got warm. A buzzer-beating layup from Theryn Hallock to end the quarter for the Spartans didn’t help Penn State’s cause, as it went into the break down 23-14.

Both sides traded free throws to start the second quarter, but after a few minutes, the Spartans began to hit their shots from the field again. Ciezki continued to put together much of what Penn State’s offense had to offer, hitting her third three-pointer. Still, it wasn’t enough.

Michigan State went on a 9-0 scoring run in the middle of the second quarter before Carolyn Kieger called a timeout with 4:32 remaining. Penn State, typically a defensive team, had recorded just one steal to the Spartans’ seven throughout the game and had wasted several possessions.

Michigan State held a 20-point lead well before the end of the first half. With over three minutes remaining, a three-pointer from Julia Ayrault gave her side a 41-19 lead as the Spartans rolled away with the game early.

The Lady Lions managed to put together a small run late in the half, outscoring Michigan State 11-2 while Kapinus put Spartan on the ground with some nice handling.

Still, Penn State went into the half down 43-30 with plenty of work to do. Makenna Marisa made none of her six shots, while Ciezki’s four three-pointers held the offense together.

Michigan State got its groove back at the top of the third quarter, dropping eight points in three minutes. Still, the Lady Lions held pace, and Marisa scored her first points while Anna Camden and Ciezki combined for another 10 points.

Ciezki was the hot hand, and the Lady Lions kept feeding her. She converted on five three-point attempts by the time the third quarter reached its halfway mark, and scored seven of Penn State’s 12 points before Kieger called a timeout with 4:33 left in the quarter and her side down just 53-42.

The final four minutes of the third quarter only saw Penn State cut the deficit by one point, entering the fourth quarter down 59-49. Still, Ciezki’s 24 points thus far were a rallying point for the Lady Lions, as they fought hard to stay in the game.

Penn State continued to push for the comeback. Ciezki scored three points early in the fourth quarter, while another three-pointer by Chanaya Pinto cut the gap to just 61-55 in favor of the Spartans before they called a timeout.

Both sides traded points out of the break, as play continued for another two minutes before another timeout, now with the score at 64-57.

After a scoring drought of more than two minutes, DeeDee Hagemann converted on a three-point play with three and a half minutes remaining, bringing the score to 67-57. Another three-point play from Taiyier Parks a minute later all but ended Penn State’s chances of a comeback.

Michigan State continued to solidify its win, as the Lady Lions began fouling as the clock ticked toward one minute remaining in the game. While Penn State used all of its timeouts, the Spartans walked away with an 80-65 win.


  • Despite the loss, Ciezki showed that she can be what the Lady Lions need in the postseason. She was consistent from the field and showed the energy that she displayed early in the season. Her 27 points kept Penn State in the game for a long time and were what the Lady Lions will need down the stretch.
  • A typically strong defensive team, the Lady Lions lacked in what was usually their best statistic: steals. While it has averaged more than 11 steals per game before Saturday, Penn State recorded just four against the Spartans
  • Penn State’s shooting continues to be its Achilles’ heel. Without Ciezki’s performance, the Lady Lions would have shot 35% from the field and 21% from beyond the arc.
  • As good as Ciezki was, Marisa was unable to lead the team as expected. She scored just two points and went 1-of-11 from the field. With the regular season closed out, Penn State will need Marisa to step up.

What’s Next

Penn State takes on the Big Ten Tournament next, facing off in a play-in game on Wednesday, March 1.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and Onward State's managing editor. He covers Penn State football, among other 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. For dumb stuff, follow him on Twitter (iamjoelister). For serious stuff, email him ([email protected]).

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