Penn State women’s basketball (7-1) lost to Virginia (9-0) Wednesday night by a score of 89-68, suffering its first loss of the season.
The Lady Lions struggled early with their first loss of the season, clipping 13.3% in the first quarter. From then on, the team couldn’t recover against the Cavaliers.
How it happened
While Virginia scored five points in its two opening games, Penn State’s offense got off to a slow start. The Lady Lions started 4-0 from the field, scoring only their first two points from a breakaway layup by Makenna Marisa.
When head coach Carolyn Kieger called a time-out four minutes into the game, Penn State had given up three straight field goals to go down 2-11.
Marisa gave the Lady Lions three points straight off the break, but that would be all Penn State would see for the next few possessions. An airball from Leilani Kapinus while unguarded served as a recap of the team’s shots on goal to date as Penn State trailed 15-5.
The Lady Lions took almost five minutes after Marisa’s three to score again, a losing streak that included two missed free throws by Shay Ciezki. Finally, Ali Brigham emptied two shots off the line to level the game at 20-7.
The Cavaliers scored another goal before the end of the quarter and the Lady Lions went into the huddle down 22-7. They had made 2 of 15 shots from the field while Virginia was able to win 14 of 16 rebounds from Penn State’s shooting.
Brigham led the second-half goal for Penn State, which was the Lady Lions’ first field goal in nearly six minutes. Two possessions later, Alli Campbell made the score 28-12 while Ciezki made it 28-14 as the Lady Lions showed signs of life.
Two more points from Kapinus forced the Cavaliers to a timeout after three and a half minutes as the Lady Lions beat the visitors 9-6 early in the second quarter.
Both teams came out of the break with a lot of energy. Virginia opened the action with a basket from beyond the arc, while on the next defensive possession Kapinus made a Zion Williamson-like effort to run across the court to block a Cavalier shot.
Meanwhile, Penn State’s offense was picking up. Ciezki made two threes to further reduce Virginia’s lead. With three minutes left in the quarter, the Cavaliers were just 11 points ahead.
If anything slowed Penn State down in the second quarter, it was the team’s dire problems. While the offense began to hit the court, the defense on the other side gave up five fouls, giving Virginia a five-point boost that allowed her to retain a little more lead at halftime.
Going into the locker room, Penn State was down 44-29 after giving up points late. Despite being behind, the Lady Lions put in a lot more effort in the second quarter and controlled the game much better.
Both attacks came from the fire and combined for 14 points in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Those baskets didn’t necessarily fall for the Lady Lions, however, as Virginia produced a commanding 53-33 lead.
Penn State’s goal struggles began to resurface midway through the third quarter when the team missed five straight field goals during a three-minute scoring drought.
Ciezki broke the drought with a three, while Taniyah Thompson and Marisa followed with threes of their own. Still, the Cavaliers’ lead remained solid as Penn State struggled to make a dent.
With a quarter to go, Penn State was down 68-48 as hopes of a comeback continued to fade. The Lady Lions had been topped in all three quarters, while Virginia covered every statistic except three-point percentage.
Penn State still wasn’t able to cut Virginia’s lead in the fourth quarter, but it kept up with the Cavaliers bucket after bucket.
The Lady Lions’ biggest highlight of the fourth quarter was a buzzer-beater from Anna Camden from beyond the arc, but with three minutes left Penn State was still down 81-62. It wasn’t much of an effort for Virginia to finish the game as Penn State lost 89-68.
- Brutal is an understatement to describe this first quarter. The Lady Lions just couldn’t bring anything down. Still, the team has credit for not carrying that form into the second quarter.
- As the competition has grown tougher, Penn State’s weaknesses have been exposed. While Kieger’s team has cleaned up their turnover rate that hurt them earlier in the season, the Nittany Lions’ troubles in scoring against the Cavaliers will be staring them in the face ahead of the Big Ten game.
The Lady Lions will play Minnesota away on Saturday, December 3 at 8:30 p.m. when they open the Big Ten game on their second away game of the season.