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Lady Lions Dominate Wisconsin 80-56 In Big Ten Tournament

No. 7-seeded Penn State women’s basketball (19-11, 10-9 Big Ten) took down No. 10-seeded Wisconsin (13-16, 6-13 Big Ten) 80-56 in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.

Behind strong scoring early from Ashley Owusu and Makenna Marisa, the Lady Lions more than earned their advancment to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. With a matchup against No. 2-seeded Iowa on Friday, Penn State will have its hands full against Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes.

How It Happened

Penn State won the tip before Marisa earned a foul on the first possession. After going to the line, Marisa hit both of her free throws before Wisconsin responded with a deep two-pointer by Ronnie Porter. Shay Ciezki recorded a steal-and-score for two more points for the Lady Lions and Owusu followed up with a layup of her own on the next possession.

Down 6-2, Brooke Schramek hit the game’s first three-pointer for Wisconsin. Kylie Lavelle and Porter traded threes to give the Lady Lions a 9-8 lead halfway through the first quarter.

Both teams continued to be hot on offense, as Owusu notched four points and D’Yanis Jimenez scored two points. Coming out of a media timeout, Chanaya Pinto scored two points on the Lady Lions’ first possession.

Sania Copeland drew a foul immediately after and hit both of her shots from the charity stripe before Owusu scored two more points. When Lavelle gave Penn State a 20-11 lead with under three minutes left in the first quarter, Wisconsin was forced to call a timeout.

Right out of the timeout, Marisa notched a three-pointer for the Lady Lions before Ali Brigham found a wide-open Leilani Kapinus under the rim for two more points. Porter, who had scored most of Wisconsin’s points at that point, scored two more to end the Badgers’ scoreless run.

As the first quarter came to a close, Brigham scored two more points to give Penn State a 27-15 lead.

In the first possession out of the break, Copeland knocked down a three-pointer for Wisconsin. Owusu hit two free throws before Natalie Leuzinger hit a three-pointer to make the score 30-21.

Kapinus forced her way to two more points before Copeland hit her second three-pointer. Grace Hall hit two free throws for Penn State while Serah Williams responded with a layup for Wisconsin. Hall scored two more points just before she was called for a defensive foul on the other end of the court.

Jimenez hit one of her two free throws before Brigham hit another layup. Leading 38-27, Marisa hit her second three-pointer of the game as the Lady Lions extended an already commanding lead.

Schramek answered for Wisconsin with two points of her own, but Marisa hit two free throws to keep Penn State’s lead at 14 points. Lavelle received a feed from Marisa to extend that difference by two more points.

In the final minute of the first half, Owusu committed an offensive foul, though Wisconsin failed to capitalize. Ciezki’s final shot at the buzzer didn’t fall from the top of the backboard, but Penn State still went into the break up 45-29.

Penn State scored first out of the break, but Kapinus soon went down on the floor with an ankle injury. After scoring four points and recording two rebounds, Kapinus left the game in pain.

Williams scored the next points for Wisconsin, scoring a layup and drawing a foul from Brigham, though Williams couldn’t complete the three-point play. Brigham then earned a friendly bounce from the backboard before Porter hit another three-pointer.

Jayla Oden scored her first points of the game with a jumpshot, though Porter scored two more points on the next possession. Schramek answered with a tough two points, to which Lavelle answered with a three. When Oden finished her layup with some finesse, Wisconsin called a timeout with the score 56-47 and 4:26 left on the clock in the third quarter.

Williams scored two points just out of the break, but Alli Campbell scored three points for Penn State to respond.

After a media timeout, Kapinus checked back into the game for Penn State. Leuzinger hit a free throw for Wisconsin before Kapinus knocked down two of her own. After a breif scoreless streak for both teams, Owusu hit one shots from the line.

Kapinus, despite her prior injury, recorded a violent block against Halle Douglass with Penn State leading 62-40. Still, Williams scored two points on the ensuing possession.

Neither team was able to score for the duration of the third quarter, and Penn State was up 62-42 through 30 minutes.

Pinto started off the fourth quarter with a steal-and-score and followed that with another layup a minute later. Schramek then hit a jump shot with seven minutes left.

Oden and Kapinus combined for four points in two posssessions before Copeland hit two free throws. A moment later, Kapinus finished another layup.

Williams recorded a double-double with two more points, breaking a Big Ten record for most consecutive double-doubles, but the Badgers were still down 72-50 with just over three minutes remaining in the game.

Penn State and Wisconsin combined for 14 more points in garbage time, and the Lady Lions finished the game with a comfortable 80-56 victory to open their postseason.

Takeaways

  • It wasn’t long ago that the Lady Lions were in the midst of a six-game losing streak. However, since the Return to Rec loss against Ohio State, Penn State has turned it around. Three wins have set the Lady Lions up for an NCAA Tournament bid, especially with the dominance they were able to win with.
  • Somehow, Kapinus looked better after her injury than before. Scoring six points and recording a huge block, Penn State’s best defensive player was the finishing punch against the Badgers.
  • Nineteen wins on the season means Penn State has a real shot at making the NCAA Tournament this season. A game on Friday against Iowa isn’t ideal, but the Lady Lions’ win over Wisconsin was dominant enough that it may have been enough to reach March Madness.

What’s Next?

The Lady Lions will take on Iowa in the tournament quarterfinals. The game is set to tip off at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, and will air on the Big Ten Network.

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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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