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Lady Lions Survive Providence 73-66 In Fourth-Quarter Shootout

Penn State women’s basketball (6-1) defeated Providence (3-3) 73-66 Sunday as the Lady Lions bounced back from their 71-70 loss to No. 8 USC. The win wasn’t pretty, but Penn State hung on in the midst of a massive comeback from the visitors.

Led by strong efforts from Moriah Murray, Shay Ciezki, and Makenna Marisa, the Lady Lions dominated the first quarter before hitting cruise control in the second and third quarters. Penn State eventually regrouped in the fourth quarter to avoid the collapse against the Friars.

How It Happened

Both teams took shots early to start the game. Chanaya Pinto made a highlight-effort play, snatching a ball away from the Friars on an inbound pass and scoring under the net to make the score 4-4 early. A nice and-one play fro Marisa boosted that score to 7-4 after less than three minutes.

Marisa again increased Penn State’s score moments later, giving the Lady Lions an 11-7 lead before Brynn Farrell knocked down two free throws to bring the score to 11-9.

Coming out of a break, Ali Brigham continued to make herself known. A nice dribble and layup under the net gave Brigham her sixth point to give Penn State a 15-6 lead. Moments later, Marisa knocked down a jumper to give Penn State 17 points. When Ciezki hit a three-pointer to give Penn State a 20-9 lead, it felt as though the Lady Lions were running away with the game early on.

Murray knocked down three three-pointers in sequence to secure an 18-0 run for the Lady Lions as they led 29-9 at the end of the first quarter.

Neither team scored for the first four minutes of the second quarter. It wasn’t until Marisa gave up a poor turnover that Providence scored on a layup, which was its first bucket in eight minutes. After the steal-and-score, head coach Carolyn Keiger called a timeout for the Lady Lions.

That lone bucket for the Friars turned into a six-point run for the visitors. Penn State’s offense still stuttered despite good chances under the net and around the arc. It wasn’t until Ciezki knocked down a three-pointer that Penn State scored and made the score 32-17 after a seven-minute drought.

Providence continued to push, but a Ciezki three-pointer kept Penn State comfortably ahead, with a 35-19 lead with just over a minute remaining in the first half. The two teams traded blows on final possessions, but Penn State closed with a 37-23 lead.

Both teams came out shooting in the second half, turning that 37-23 game into a 44-28 game in just two minutes. The teams combined for three more points for the next minute until the Friars took a timeout.

After that timeout, the Friars started to play like a team possessed. Penn State was unable to score for two minutes, while Providence crept closer and eventually brought the game to just a nine-point deficit before a media timeout.

Penn State didn’t look much better coming out of the timeout. The Friars brought the deficit to just four points on sequential possessions. Then, Penn State got four points of its own with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Three more points from Farrell brought the score to 49-44 as Penn State still struggled to maintain the grip that it had on the game from the first quarter.

Marta Morales knocked down a three-pointer for Providence with just over a minute left in the quarter, and Kieger called another timeout with the score 49-47. The Friars got one more point before the horn sounded for the conclusion of the third quarter.

Nothing fell for Penn State to start the fourth quarter, while everything fell for Providence. After Brigham found herself unguarded under the net, she missed a wide-open look while no Friars even tried to defend her layup. On the Friars’ next possession, they went down the court and Farrell gave her team the lead.

Finally, Ciezki knocked down a three-pointer with six minutes left to bring the score to 54-51, though the Friars still held the lead. Another made shot from Marisa gave Penn State two more points before Ciezki made an incredible move to give the Lady Lions a 55-54 lead.

The Friars put together a few good sequences to take another four-point lead, this time from a Morales layup, but Marisa knocked down two free throws with less than four minutes remaining to keep the game close. Soon after, Pinto put up a layup of her own to tie the game at 59.

On Penn State’s next possession, Leilani Kapinus regained the lead for her team with a crucial short-range shot. Right after, Ciezki hit a long three-point shot, her third of the game, to give Penn State a 63-59 lead with under two minutes left.

Providence scored on a free throw and then stole the ball from Penn State in its own end to convert a layup. With 1:18 left, Providence regained possession again with the score 63-62.

Jayla Oden converted on two free throws to make the score 65-62 with one minute and one second remaining. Penn State nearly gave up two massive points on a long throw to Kylee Sheppard, but incredible defense from Ciezki kept Sheppard’s shot from falling. Pinto earned two free throws from the sequence and hit both shots to make the score 67-62 with 57 seconds left.

Pinto hit two more free throws 10 seconds later, but Providence’s Kendall Eddy hit a three-point shot to bring the score to 69-65. Ciezki earned a pair of free throws and hit both, essentially sealing the game. Kapinus fouled Farrell, but the Friar only made one of her two shots.

After Tay Valladay made two free throw shots, Penn State’s fate was sealed with its 73-66 win.

Takeaways

  • While it lasted, this was a fantastically balanced Penn State team. Moriah Murray and Ciezki are shooting unbelievably well from three-point range, Brigham is getting good looks under the net, and Marisa is hitting her mid-range shots. Even with all the good looks on offense, the team was still holding it down on defense.
  • Coming out of that first quarter, it looked like Penn State just forgot how to play. Shots that were guaranteed earlier in the game just wouldn’t fall. Efforts by the Friars that would have otherwise come up short turned into three-point plays. The Lady Lions were just plain lazy.
  • If nothing else, Penn State’s struggles in this game were mainly mental. This was clearly a better team than Providence, and the game against USC showed that the Lady Lions could be a top team.

What’s Next?

Penn State will stay at home to take on Radford for Country Night. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 29, at the Bryce Jordan Center.

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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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