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Lady Lions Defeat Nebraska 82-73

Penn State womenโ€™s basketball (13-5, 4-3 Big Ten) beat Nebraska (13-6, 5-3 Big Ten) 82-73 Sunday afternoon. The Lady Lions were led by Ashley Owusu, who had 20 points and six rebounds in her second game back from injury.

The victory moved Penn State above .500 for its conference record and secured the program’s fourth conference victory, matching the team’s total from last season.

How It Happened

The Penn State offense started the day with a turnover, as Owusu ripped a pass to Ali Brigham in the paint, but Brigham couldn’t quite haul it in. Nebraska then scored on both of its first two possessions, taking a quick 5-0 lead. A Nebraska airball gave Penn State a fast break opportunity to get on the board, but Leilani Kapinus couldn’t get the transition layup to fall.

With 5:00 left in the first, Makenna Marisa knocked down a corner three for the first basket for Penn State on the day, which shrunk the Lady Lions deficit to 3-7. An air ball from Chinaya Pinto was rebounded by Shay Ciezki, who snuck into the paint and got the second chance bucket to fall. Penn State forced a stop on the defensive end, which then led to Ciezki finding Pinto, who knocked down a mid-range jumper.

Immediately after checking back into the game, Owusu went to work down low on the block, showing off her fancy footwork and getting her first basket of the night to fall, knotting up the game at 9-9. Nebraska then drained a corner three from Natalie Potts off of an inbound pass, but Ciezki answered back with a three of her own to keep the game tied up at 12-12 as the first quarter ended.

Owusu knocked down a standup three to open the second quarter for the Lady Lions. That was followed up by a steal by Kapinus who then dropped in the transition basket to give Penn State a 17-12 lead.

Marisa found Owusu cutting in the open court during a fast break, setting her up for a nifty finish under the hoop to extend the 19-12 lead. Ciezki earned herself a trip to the line by slashing into the paint, where she was fouled and knocked down both free throws. Immediately after, she intercepted an inbound pass and found Owusu, who was fouled while cutting to the basket.

Nebraska began to get reckless with the ball, turning it over yet again. Owusu took advantage of the lackluster Nebraska ball security, knocking down a mid-range stop and pop jumper to push the Lady Lions ahead 24-15.

Nebraska broke down Penn State’s full-court trap, leading to a wide-open three to cut the score to 21-24. Kapinus zipped a pass to Alli Campbell in the corner, who knocked it down to put Penn State up 29-21. An errant pass from the Huskers led to a Marisa offensive rebound and bucket on the other end to make it 31-25. The Lady Lions ended the first half with a bang, as Ciezki knocked down a corner jumper as time expired to spot Penn State a 10-point lead going into the third quarter.

Both squads traded buckets in the paint to start the second half. A beautiful full-court transition pass from Kapinus found Taylor Valladay, who dropped it despite heavy traffic around the basket. Owusu continued her strong scoring performance, knocking down another standup three to give Penn State a 43-28 lead. The scoring surge for Penn State continued as Ciezki knocked down her third three-ball of the night to push the lead to 18 for the Lady Lions.

An alley-oop-like inbound pass from Marisa found a high-flying Kapinus, who put the shot up and in mid-air despite contact, which got the crowd jumping out of its seats in the Bryce Jordan Center. She then converted the and-one opportunity to give Penn State a 58-41 lead.

Owusu picked the pocket of a Husker defender, grabbed the ball, and then went coast to coast for a transition score. An absolute dime from Campbell found a posted-up Kapinus down low, who made the defender bite on a pump fake and then dropped it in the bucket to push the Lady Lion’s lead to 20 points.

The Lady Lion’s offense began to pick apart the Huskers defense. Kapinus earned her way to the strip by drawing contact in the paint, knocking down one of her two free throws to put that score at 69-53.

Nebraska rattled off eight quick points, sparking a late fourth-quarter comeback effort with the score now at 61-69. Another three fell for Nebraska, which put them within seven points. Kapinus couldn’t get a reverse layup to fall resulting in Nebraska going down the court and getting an and-one opportunity, although the Huskers missed the free throw.

With the score now at 71-66, Penn State needed to put its foot on the gas and close the game out. Fresh out of a timeout, Owusu knocked down a step-back jumper to give the Lady Lions some breathing room down the stretch. Marisa delivered a dot to Brigham in the paint, who got the basket to fall despite contact. She knocked down the free throw to make it a 76-69 game with 1:00 to play.

Owusu was fouled and sent to the line, where she got one of two shots to fall. Nebraska couldn’t successfully inbound the ball after its timeout, resulting in a steal from Kapinus who was then fouled, making one of two shots at the line.

Takeaways

  • Ciezki was the second-leading scorer behind Owusu, making three of Penn State’s seven made three-pointers. She also went 6-6 from the free throw line and contributed four rebounds and two assists. Her consistency helped the Lady Lions through a tough offensive stretch.
  • Kapinus impacted the game in so many ways Sunday, finishing with 13 points, five assists, four rebounds, and four steals. Her versatility played a major part in the win Sunday.
  • It didn’t matter much in the end, but Nebraska wrassled 17 offensive rebounds away from the Lady Lions and converted them into a total of 21 second-chance points. Penn State was out-rebounded 44-37 by the Huskers. It was a big reason why Penn State found itself down early in the game.

What’s Next?

The Lady Lions hit the road to play Northwestern at 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 25. The game will be broadcast on BTN+.

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About the Author

Cadyn Gill

Cadyn is a freshman journalism major at Penn State. Hailing from the great state of Texas, he is a die hard Dallas sports fan. You'll often see him voicing his complaints about the Cowboys play calling on Twitter @cgill214.

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