Lady Lions Downed by Notre Dame
It was the first time since the 2000-01 season Penn State (5-2) hosted a pair of top five programs in the same season. For the second time this year, the Lady Lions couldn’t handle the superior opponent, dropping a 77-67 sloppy game to Notre Dame (7-0).
Senior forward Ariel Edwards led all Lady Lion scorers with 18 points. Senior guard Dara Taylor and senior forward Talia East were the only other Penn State scorers to reach double digits, with 14 and 12, respectively.
Notre Dame was paced by a double-double from senior forward Natalie Achonwa, who tallied a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds.
“They’re a very strong offensive rebounding team,” Penn State head coach Coquese Washington said, after her team gave up 19 offensive rebounds on the night.
Penn State played their first game after their 72-60 win over Illinois State in the Junkanoo Jam, and the struggles were evident early.
Senior guard Maggie Lucas was held to a season-low seven points, only making one of eight shots from the field.
“They’re a good defensive team and do a good job of making you get to your second, third and fourth option on defense,” Washington said. “They did a great job ok keying in on Maggie.”
Penn State had a 17-15 lead with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half, but after a 9-0 run from the Irish, the Lady Lions never had another lead in the game.
Notre Dame took a 42-28 lead into the half and didn’t miss a beat going on an 8-3 run right out of the break.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” Washington said. “We just didn’t have enough runs in us and we’ll get better the next time we play a team of this caliber.”
The Lady Lions seemed to be getting some momentum as the lead hovered around 10, midway through the second half, but two three’s from sophomore guard Michaela Mabrey put a dagger in all comeback efforts.
The closest Penn State would get in the second half was 66-57 with just under five minutes to play.
It was an emotional homecoming of sorts for Washington, who was playing her alma mater for the first time in her coaching career.
Washington played under current Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw, as a starting point guard for the Irish from 1989-1993 and served as an assistant coach on McGraw’s staff from 1999-2007.
“Leading into this game, I was real emotional and then this afternoon I decided I was going to embrace and enjoy the moment,” Washington said. “I’m passionate about my Notre Dame family, I’m passionate about my Penn State family and I’m passionate about the game of basketball and I got all three of them at one time.”
It was also an emotional homecoming for senior guard and Erie, Pennsylvania, native Kayla McBride playing in front of friends and family, who had 13 points and five rebounds on the night.
McBride last played in the Bryce Jordan Center as a senior in the state championship game with Villa Maria Academy.
The Irish will head back to South Bend and look to continue their undefeated season against UCLA.
Penn State will take on Georgetown and South Dakota State on the road, before returning home to take on Texas A&M on December 15th.
That game can be heard in full on ComRadio.
Ryan Stevens is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/John Beale)
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english. He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.
During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.
Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.