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Lady Lions Struggle Heavily In Big Ten Tournament Loss To Iowa

When Penn State women’s basketball took down Wisconsin on Thursday night, the game was over nearly as soon as it began.

When the Lady Lions lost to Iowa one night later, the game was over even quicker.

The No. 3 Hawkeyes, seeded as the No. 2 team in the Big Ten Tournament, jumped out to a 10-0 lead over the Lady Lions. Penn State never fully recovered in the 95-62 loss.

Little went right for Penn State. Only two players on the team, guards Ashley Owusu and Leilani Kapinus, scored more than 10 points. The team as a whole made 24 of 69 field goal attempts. Players were called for fouls away from the ball at times on Hawkeyes who weren’t impacting the game.

The Lady Lions’ matchup against Iowa went even worse than the last time the two teams met, when the Hawkeyes won 111-93 in Iowa City, Iowa. In that matchup, Penn State head coach Carolyn Kieger focused her energy on Wooden Award winner Caitlin Clark, but Hannah Stuelke stepped up for Iowa instead, with 47 points to Clark’s 27.

Against Iowa on Friday, Kieger did the same thing. Postgame, she said she hoped Iowa’s role players wouldn’t step up for a second time. Instead of just Stuelke putting on a show, the entire Hawkeye team did.

Iowa had five players score double-digit totals while recording 21 assists and 12 turnovers as a group. The Hawkeyes, who scored the most points on Penn State this season earlier in the year, scored the third-most points against Penn State on Friday. Still, Kieger praised her defense.

“I’m really proud of our team’s effort with Caitlin and finding her and picking her up in the full court,” Kieger said postgame. “It’s something for us to build upon.”

Kieger expressed greater concern about the offense, which also put together a poor showing. The Lady Lions’ 62 points were tied for their lowest total on the season.

Streaky shooting brought Penn State’s deficit back at times, but the team was never able to use its normally sturdy three-point shooting to play its way back into the game. Of the Lady Lions’ 33 shot attempts from beyond the arc, just seven converted. A negative assist-turnover ratio didn’t do them any favors, either.

“Our offense wasn’t there. It wasn’t clicking. We weren’t sharing the basketball enough,” Kieger said. “We were playing on our toes — on our heels, I should say, versus playing with pace and playing fearless, like we did the first round against them.”

Penn State’s loss to Iowa created further complications for the team’s NCAA Tournament hopes. The dominant win against Wisconsin from the day prior was replaced by the Lady Lions’ faults against Iowa. The group that ESPN placed as the last team in March Madness failed to perform in one of the season’s most crucial games.

Still, Kieger promised her team would return with strength and unity, regardless of the tournament it plays in.

“They love each other. They care about Penn State. They care about each other,” Kieger said. “They want to end on a better note than tonight. Like I said, we’ll regroup. We’ll get back together. We’ll get back to sharing the basketball, fixing some things, get back to being tough.”

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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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