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Lady Lions Outlast Defending WNIT Champion Kansas 91-85

Penn State women’s basketball (3-0) defeated Kansas (1-1) 91-85 Monday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Lady Lions extended their win streak to three after picking up wins over Bucknell and Navy to open the season.

Carolyn Kieger’s squad was led by an amazing scoring effort from Makenna Marisa and Jayla Oden, who combined for 48 points. On the defensive front, Ali Brigham and Leilani Kapinus combined for six blocks.

How It Happened

The game started off quickly for Kansas as it scored the first three buckets of the game and forced the Lady Lions to commit three turnovers. It wasn’t until the seven-minute mark that Chanaya Pinto scored the team’s first bucket of the game.

After Kansas made the score 8-2, the Lady Lions got hot from the three-point line and went on a 9-0 run. Kansas responded by scoring the next four points of the game to retake the lead.

After that, both teams found their rhythms offensively. Makenna Marisa hit her stride and began to knock down a handful of three-pointers to regain the lead at 19-17. The quarter ended with the Lady Lions leading 23-22.

The second quarter began with the Lady Lions getting the first score of the quarter by way of a Shay Ciezki assist to Jayla Oden.

The resilient Jayhawks responded with four points in a row to tie the game at 26. After that, Oden remained hot from the floor and scored a mid-range jumper off a pass from Ali Brigham to retake the lead at 28-26. This bucket gave the Lady Lions a lot of momentum as they went on a 12-5 run.

Penn State’s increasing momentum forced Kansas to call a timeout. Taiyanna Jackson cut the lead to 40-33 out of the break by securing an and-one opportunity, but she missed the free throw.

Following Jackson’s missed free throw, Kylie Lavelle set up Ciezki for a fastbreak triple to regain the Lady Lions’ 10-point lead.

After Kansas’ Zakiyah Franklin scored two free throws to trim the Lady Lions’ lead to eight, Penn State went on a 6-0 run with buckets from Marisa and Lavelle to increase its lead to 14.

The quarter ended with Marisa forcing a turnover from Kansas’ Skyler Gill in its zone with about three seconds left. She then knocked down a buzzer-beater jump shot to give the Lady Lions a 12-point lead going into halftime.

Kansas started off aggressively in the third quarter with a 9-2 run to cut down the Lady Lions’ lead to five. During this run, it forced the Lady Lions to commit turnovers and shoot contested shots.

After Brigham committed another turnover for the Lady Lions, Kansas capitalized and Holly Kersgieter knocked down a three-pointer to make it a one-possession game.

Out of the timeout, the Lady Lions came out as the more aggressive team, and Marisa knocked down a mid-range jumper.

This scoring drought ended when Marisa forced Kansas’ Ryan Cobbins to commit a shooting foul which sent her to the line to shoot a pair of free throws. She knocked down the attempts to jump back to a seven-point lead.

Marisa stayed on fire for the Lady Lions and scored an open layup off an inbound by Taylor Valladay.

The game was evenly matched on offense as the lead stayed at seven for the Lady Lions at the end of the 3rd quarter. However, Marisa stood out in the quarter as she scored 10 straight points for the Lady Lions to end the quarter.

The Lady Lions seemed to feed off Marisa’s scoring steak when Brigham scored a layup.

However, Penn State had to deal with a crushing blow when Ciezki had to come out off the court with an injury with about six minutes left in the game. She was replaced by Moriah Murray.

This injury seemed to have an effect on this team when Kansas trimmed the lead to 7.

With almost two minutes left, Kansas wouldn’t give up as it cut the lead to single digits. However, after Kansas’ Franklin missed a free throw to make it an eight-point game, Murray released an assist to Marisa who scored a three-pointer. The Lady Lions clinched the battle in the final minutes and walked away with a 91-85 victory.


  • The Lady Lions were scorching hot from the three-point line as they shot 46% from beyond the arc. Every time Kansas tried to respond, Penn State depended on the three to cool off the Jayhawk’s momentum.
  • Makenna Marisa played an incredible game against Kansas. She scored 34 points and went 11-18 on field goals. Marisa registered 12 points from three-point land and was the main orchestrator in the Lady Lions’ win against Kansas.
  • Bench points played a huge factor in the outcome of the game. Penn State had 27 bench points compared to the bench of Kansas which only had 3 bench points. Depth makes a huge difference in determining the outcome of the game.

What’s Next?

The Lady Lions will hit the road for the first time this season as they take on St John’s at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 16. The game will be streamed on FloSports.

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About the Author

Fernando Martinez

Fernando is a sophomore. He's majoring in broadcast journalism with the intention of minoring in Spanish and Sports Studies. Born in Mexico City, and now lives in Paoli, PA. He is a big soccer, football, and basketball fan. His favorite teams are FC Barcelona, the Cowboys, and the Lakers. He suffers a lot from watching the Cowboys choke in the playoffs that he has 49ers PTSD right now. You can follow him on Instagram at fernando9015.

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