WBB: Lady Lions Escape Ohio in NIT Opening Round
The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will collect all the attention in college basketball this time of year, but yesterday Coquese Washington and the Penn State women’s basketball team commenced their run in the Women’s NIT.
The No. 3-seeded Lady Lions got off to a rocky start against the No. 14-seeded Ohio Bobcats out of the Mid-American conference. Ohio was sharp out of the gate, beginning with a 9-0 run. Following an early Penn State timeout, the Nittany Lions tied the score at 13-13 by the end of the first quarter. From there, Penn State controlled basically the rest of the game.
Both teams shot the ball poorly from the field all night, but after the first quarter the Lady Lions jumped out to a lead and never looked back. The Lions shot only 43 percent for the game but a strong fourth quarter, where they shot 58.8 percent from the field, propelled them to the victory.
Four Nittany Lions scored in double figures. Sierra Moore led the way for Penn State, scoring a season-high 20 points with six rebounds. Teniya Page scored 11 points and was one rebound away from a double-double. Amari Carter also added 12 points, and Siyeh Frazier chipped in 10 points of her own. Ohio struggled to prevent Moore from getting to the basket all night long, which was a big difference in the game.
Another deciding factor was Penn State’s stifling defense and Ohio’s lack of depth. The Lions held the Bobcats to just 36.9 percent shooting on the night, and Ohio connected on 8-29 three-point attempts. Quiera Lampkins led the way with 19 points for the Bobcats but shot only 8-21 from the field. It was obvious the Bobcats just ran out of steam at the end.
Penn State has been an exceptionally unselfish team all season long and has had the ability to exploit matchups in a number of ways. Despite the fact that they did not play well offensively, they picked up the slack in several other areas.
Penn State had a decisive advantage on the glass, outrebounding Ohio 49-37 for the game and made more free throws than the Bobcats attempted. The Lions’ bench also outscored Ohio 28-6 and dominated the paint in a 50-32 advantage, which compensated for their inability to make shots from the perimeter.
Maybe the most impressive part of last night’s victory was that the Lions did so without their second-leading scorer in Lindsey Spann, which points to their team’s depth. However, Washington did not disclose the reason for her absence from the lineup.
Ohio ends their season with a 22-10 record, while Penn State advances to the second round of the NIT, where they will take on Fordham on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Lions will need to play better offensively to keep their season alive, but they have the potential to make a deep run.
The good news for Penn State is that it put in a bid to host the first four rounds of the women’s NIT Tournament, so if the Lady Lions keep winning, that home-court advantage will be huge for them throughout the tournament.
Will Desautelle is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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