Lady Lions Triumph Over St. John’s 69-53
Penn State women’s basketball (4-0) bested St. John’s (1-2) 69-53 Thursday in its first away matchup of the season. The Nittany Lions are now 2-0 over the Red Storm in their second meeting.
In a team victory, Makenna Marisa registered 15 points, while Ali Brigham followed closely behind with 14.
How It Happened
Ali Brigham started the game off for Penn State with a long-range jumper to set the tone for the game. St. John’s got on the board with two free throws off of a shooting foul. Riddled with turnovers, both offenses struggled to get the ball in the hoop early on. At the first media timeout, the Lady Lions were 1-6 on field goals.
Jayla Oden broke the scoring drought for Penn State with a layup and was quickly countered by a layup from St. John’s’ Unique Drake. The back-and-forth game began, and both teams’ offenses started to pick up with momentum Skye Owen of St. John’s knocked in the first three of the game, giving her team the first lead of the game at 7-6.
The first quarter came to a close at the end of a St. John’s run, with the Red Storm leading 11-8. Quarter one was a low-scoring one for both teams after missed shots and plenty of defensive rebounds.
The second quarter began with a quick layup from Leilani Kapinus to narrow the scoring margin to one. St. John’s held the lead with Owen sinking in another three. Makenna Marisa got her first bucket of the game with 5:46 to go in the second quarter, bringing the score to 18-16 in favor of St. John’s.
Off of a fast break, Moriah Murray turned defense into offense and sunk a clean three-pointer jumper, resulting in a 21-18 Penn State lead and a St. John’s timeout.
The second quarter came to a close with the Red Storm leading the Lady Lions 26-23. Both teams shot 38% on field goals in the first two quarters combined.
Quarter three began with a solid layup from Brigham, her eighth point of the night. St. John’s has two quick fouls within the first 90 seconds. Marisa nailed her first three-point jumper of the night off of an offensive rebound from Kapinus.
Both teams began to alternate buckets and pick up the offensive pace. Marisa gets back in her groove early on in the third quarter, raking in four more points to bring the score to 34-32.
Fresh off of the bench, Lavelle secured her second three-pointer off of a fast break. Chanaya Pinto went coast to coast with efficient ball handling to secure a layup for the Lady Lions. After a strong run and 4:21 left to play, St. John’s was forced to call another timeout.
St. John’s answered after the media timeout with an easy layup from Jillian Archer, tallying the score up to 39-35 in favor of Penn State. Brigham was the first Lady Lion to hit double digits on the night after she sunk another layup to take Penn State to 41. After yet another breakaway from Pinto, the Lady Lions took their largest lead of the game thus far at 43-35.
Even with a subtle pushback from St. John’s, Taylor Valladay swished in a three to secure a 46-39 lead for Penn State as the third quarter came to a close.
Both teams came out hot in the fourth quarter, and the score came in at 50-42 within the first two minutes. Two jumpers from Drake narrowed the gap to 50-46, but Penn State still held the lead. Pinto continued to make plays happen and put up another five points within two minutes, giving her nine total points.
Drake scored her seventh point of the fourth quarter to close the gap 60-50. Brigham remained a dominant force throughout the final moments of the fourth quarter, and Marisa added another layup to her stats before the Red Storm called a full timeout with a little over two minutes left to play.
Another Pinto tripe, her 12th point of the night, brought the score to 67-50. Back and forth with layups and free throws, St. John’s didn’t foul to stop the clock against Penn State and allowed them to stall the remaining minutes out.
The Lady Lions secured the road victory 69-53 over St. John’s.
- Penn State went winless on the road last year. Tonight marks this team’s first road win since February 2022, pointing toward a promising future for the group. The chemistry and mutual respect among the Nittany Lions was on full display, even in New York.
- After a slow start for Makenna Marisa, she still managed to command the game and get back in her groove as the game went on. Marisa put up a total of 15 points, and the rest of the team stepped up in the scoring department amid a somewhat quiet night for the point guard.
- Team effort was specifically noticeable in Kylie Lavelle, who put up a strong nine points and four vital rebounds. Ali Brigham had a show-out night with 14 points and six rebounds. Chanaya Pinto had some key breakaways that resulted in 12 points. This all shows the extreme depth of this team and the effort they are willing to give to each other and the program. Overall, the team shot 58% on the night.
- Tonight was a much more defensive night for Penn State. After some 90-plus-point nights in the past few games, the Nittany Lions had to buckle down and play solid defense. The offense as a whole had a generally slower start but picked up momentum as the game went on. The Lady Lions had to find a different way to win and were still successful overall.
The Lady Lions will head to Nassau, Bahamas, as part of the Baja Mar Hoops Pink Flamingo Tournament on Monday, November 20. They are slated to take on Oklahoma State with a 6 p.m. tip off. Fans can catch the game on FloSports or listen to it on Penn State Sports Network.
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