Lady Lions Fall to Top-Ranked UConn
The number 13th ranked Penn State women’s basketball team (2-1) lost a tough game to the number one ranked Connecticut Huskies (4-0) 71-52. The Huskies controlled the first half with smothering defense and great ball movement, going into the locker room leading 37-22. The Nittany Lions went eight minutes without a field goal in the middle of the first half, as Uconn really ran away with the game.
The first half was a sloppy affair, as both teams combined for 21 turnovers. The Huskies negated the turnover disadvantage and took over on the defensive side of the ball. Penn State shot 22.6% from the field, going 0-8 from the three-point line. After the game, head coach Coquese Washington commented on Penn State’s offensive performance.
“I saw a lot of inexperience, a lot of hesitation and indecisiveness, and that leads to inefficiencies and ineffectiveness, especially on the offensive end,” said Washington. Hopefully as the season goes on we’ll see less indecisiveness on offense.”
Connecticut was playing without preseason All- American Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, but the Huskies did not skip a beat on offense. Saniya Chong poured in 12 points on 4-5 shooting with two threes. Chong came off the bench in the first half and put pressure on the Nittany Lion’s defense by attacking the rim and knocking down threes. UConn moved the ball around the perimeter well and found the open teammate for great looks the entire game.
The Nittany Lions had a valiant effort in the second half, with a comeback effort led my senior Maggie Lucas, but Geno Auriemma and the Huskies consistently had an answer. Lucas and UConn senior Bria Hartley traded buckets in the second half, as Penn state tried to claw their way back into the game. Lucas tallied 14 of her 18 points in the second half, hitting four of five threes attempted. Penn State hit all six of their threes in the second half. Talia East also helped to fuel the late charge with seven offensive rebounds and 10 total rebounds off the bench for the Nittany Lions.
The last eight minutes was an example of what a team should do on the road, as the Huskies never panicked, ran their sets and continued to obtain open looks from the field.
“I think it comes from experience, being in those situations. I think me and Stefanie, through our past three years, know what to expect when those situations happen and we make sure to get everyone together and keep everyone together and make sure everyone is on the same page,” said Hartley. “In a game you know teams go on runs, you just have to withstand those runs.”
Even as Lucas caught fire from the field and ignited the Bryce Jordan Center with her play, UConn never wavered. Hartley had 19 of her 29 total points in the second half, hitting four huge threes down the stretch. Hartley was the star for the #1 team in the nation and as a senior, she knew what to do in a hostile environment.
Even though at times both teams were careless with the ball, UConn was able to capitalize. The Huskies had 19 points off turnovers, to only six by the Nittany Lions. The Lady Lions look to bounce back against Bucknell at the Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday.
Tim Alvarez is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/John Beale)