WBB: Nittany Lions Fall in Double Overtime Nail Biter

Story posted January 31, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Mandy Bell

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A somber Lady Lion basketball team traipsed into the post-game press conference.  Forward Kayliah Mitchell held back the tears welling up in her eyes after an 88-78 loss to Purdue in double overtime Saturday afternoon.

“Basketball is an emotional game,” Penn State head coach Coquese Washington said.  “You put a lot of heart, effort and soul into the game and when you have a finish like this where you feel like you let one slip through your fingers, it’s tough.”

Penn State (8-13, 3-7 Big Ten) got off to a hot start in the first half leading Purdue 42-25 at half time. Brianna Banks had 18 points in just the first half, followed by 11 points by Teniya Page.  Page ended with 16 points on the game. 

“I thought we played pretty well in the first half,” Washington said.  “I thought we were aggressive, we were attacking and we were playing to our strengths.”

Brianna Banks bounced back from her previous outing against Maryland when she shot just 2-16 from the field by leading the Lady Lions in the first half over Purdue knocking down 18 points.  Banks totaled 22 points and seven rebounds on the day.

“[Banks] is just hard to defend because she’s so quick.  She’s a very good one-on-one player,” Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp said. “We were trying to play her left hand a little bit.  She’s dangerous because she can shoot the three and can catch you off balance.”

In the third quarter, the Boilermakers (16-5, 7-3 Big Ten) came out firing.  Ashley Morrissette had seven points in just the third quarter followed by Bridget Perry who added six. 

“We regrouped at half and came out and played our type of basketball,” Versyp said.  “We played defense really well, shut down some players that really hurt us in the first half and some of our players had great execution with getting to the foul line, knocking down shots and listening to the game plan all the way through.”

The Lady Lions struggled in the third quarter to control their offense.  In the final four minutes of the quarter, Penn State had seven turnovers.  The team had 24 turnovers on the night and 14 just in the second half.

“Our ball control in the second half of the game wasn’t anywhere where it needed to be,” Washington said.  “I thought that was the biggest factor in the change in momentum.”

In the fourth quarter, the Lady Lions were ahead 65-57 with less than three minutes remaining.  After a jumper and a layup by April Wilson followed by a 3-pointer by Perry, Penn State only had a one point lead with 41 seconds left in the game. 

Penn State had a turnover with 11 seconds remaining allowing Purdue to have the final possession of the quarter.  Wilson missed a short jumper in the corner off of the side of the backboard that was rebounded and put back up by Keys.  Keys was fouled on the shot.  Keys made one of two free throws to send the game to over time.

“I told them that it’s a tie ball game.  We’ve been behind the whole game. Be confident,” Versyp said.  “We’ve been in this situation before. We need to get out and be the first ones to be able to score the first couple points, which we did.  I told them to just keep the fight, keep the faith and stay together.”

Penn State and Purdue went back and forth keeping the game tight the entire five minutes of overtime.  With just over a minute to go, Banks drained a shot from beyond the arc to give Penn State a 73-70 lead. With nine seconds remaining, Morrissette answered the call and buried a three to force the game into double overtime. 

In double overtime, Purdue went on an 11-0 run and never looked back. 

“I’m just proud of the group because they are the ones that do it, we don’t,” Versyp said. “We can’t make the shots, we can’t make the defensive stops, and it’s just the will to fight.”

Mandy Bell is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism.  To contact her, email amb6857@psu.edu.