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Lady Lions Outlast Oklahoma State 89-80

Penn State women’s basketball (5-0) took down the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (2-2) 89-80 in the first round of the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Tournament in the Bahamas Monday night.

After pushing to a comfortable 10-point lead early in the match, the Lady Lions carried a 32-26 score into the tunnel at halftime. Oklahoma State eventually made a game of it, tying the score up at 41-41 before claiming the lead late in the third quarter. To start the final frame, though, Shay Ciezki called game and nailed 12 straight points to push the Lady Lions back in front before securing the game with a late three-pointer to grab a tournament game win.

How It Happened

The Lady Lions struck early with a quick layup from senior Ali Brigham in the first 10 seconds of the contest. Then, after the speedy start, the ball refused to fall for either team in the following two minutes of game time. A combined five missed field goals, three turnovers, and a foul ground the game to a halt before Lior Garzon nailed a three-pointer to get the Cowgirls on the board.

Makenna Marisa reclaimed the lead for Penn State with a layup of her own, and after another three-pointer from Oklahoma State, the blue and white pulled ahead with a three-pointer assault from Shay Ciezki that saw the score balloon to 20-10 with two minutes left in the first quarter.

Oklahoma State just couldn’t get it going in the offensive zone, only shooting 29% from the floor compared to Penn State’s 53% in the first frame. The Cowgirls managed a layup to set the score back to 20-12 as the quarter expired.

The Lady Lions kept the gas pedal floored heading into the second quarter, extending their lead further with a five-point effort from Chanaya Pinto by way of two layups and a free throw.

The Cowgirls didn’t give up, though, and with back-to-back three-pointers by Kennedy Fauntleroy and Anna Gret Asi, clawed back within seven by the halfway mark of the quarter.

Taylor Valladay showed off her defensive acumen for Penn State as the frame waned, nabbing two steals at the perimeter to help stem the bleeding. She took the latter one the distance, too, and pushed the Lady Lions’ lead to 27-18 with 5:32 left in the second quarter.

All Oklahoma State could muster in the half’s final minutes were free throws, though it sunk all six. Penn State’s three-point artillery misfired through the second quarter, the unit’s 60% rate shrinking to 33% by the end of the half after four straight misses. Brigham continued to dominate for the Nittany Lions, though, knocking down a triple-contested jumper in the paint and a layup to keep the difference at six.

The start of the second half mirrored the first, this time with Oklahoma State opening its account with a quick layup and Penn State responding with a three-pointer.

Both sides traded blows with Valladay earning another steal and score to add to her already impressive totals on the night. The Cowgirls owned the next three minutes, as Rylee Langerman, Garzon, and Stailee Heard combined for eight straight points to set the score at 39-38, just one point away from a tie. Brigham responded with a layup of her own but a lights-out Garzon jumper from beyond the arc knotted the scoreboard up at 41-41 with 5:16 left in the third quarter.

After Oklahoma State regained the lead for the first time since the first quarter, the Nittany Lions sweated out a tense bout of back-and-forth basketball where each side took runs of five, seven, and five points to get to an eventual score of 57-55 by the end of the quarter.

Penn State returned to the driver’s seat in the fourth quarter, regaining dominance with a Valladay steal to a Ciezki triple to open the frame. Then, it doubled down with another steal to three-pointer, this time from Pinto and Ciezki.

Oklahoma State couldn’t gather its offense as the first five minutes slipped from the final quarter, its live-by-the-three, die-by-the-three mantra unsuccessful with cold shooters. Meanwhile, the Lady Lions cemented their lead with quick-hitting five-point runs, the first by Ciezki and the second a combination of Valladay and Pinto.

A final, deep dagger from Ciezki with 3:50 to play saw the score sit at 79-70, where it would sit for the next minute and a half as precious time trickled off the clock amid Oklahoma State turnovers, some Penn State fouls, and two missed free throws from the Cowgirls. When they finally righted the ship, two straight trips to the line in 10 seconds on Valladay fouls helped them claw back within five, the score 79-74 with 1:30 to play.

Penn State’s Jayla Oden returned fire with two free throws of her own, and after a last-gasp Asi jumper brought Oklahoma State within four, the Cowgirls had to resort to fouls with just 1:13 on the clock. The Lady Lions just wouldn’t miss, and after all was said and done, the final score read 89-80 for Penn State.


  • Shay Ciezki dominated the fourth quarter, her 12-point solo run and subsequent five-point add-on stole the show and secured victory for Penn State. She finished the night 7-13 beyond the arc with four of those makes in the fourth quarter alone.
  • Taylor Valladay was electric tonight. She knew exactly where the ball was going and exactly where to put herself to intercept it on the defensive end. Her five timely steals and ability to convert them into points for the Lady Lions helped them push ahead while in the lead and jump start the team when falling back.

What’s Next?

The Lady Lions will continue its Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Tournament run with a matchup against No. 8 USC scheduled for Wednesday, November 22. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. form Nassau.

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About the Author

Jack Scott

Jack is a junior industrial engineering major from Pittsburgh, PA. Sometimes, he enjoys the misunderstanding of his friends and family that Penn State Club Ski Racing may be a D1 sport and usually won't correct them. Jack is way too into Thundercat for his own good. Follow him on Twitter @joscottIV and Instagram @jackscott._iv

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