Lady Lions Fall to Radford in NIT Opener
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – For the second straight year, the Penn State Lady Lions’ season has come to an end in the Women’s NIT. Penn State fell to Radford, 63-62, in a thrilling game that went to overtime Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The first half was anything but thrilling, as the Lady Lions scored only 28 points. Radford’s defense was an area of importance that Penn State head coach Coquese Washington discussed Tuesday in media availability, and they showed why in the first two quarters.
Penn State had 14 first half turnovers, leading to 14 points for the Highlanders.
Junior guard Teniya Page got off to a sluggish start as well for the Lady Lions, tallying only four points in the first half. Radford’s defense was in her face all night, and that was apparent early.
“She’s a great player,” Radford head coach Mike McGuire said. “The big thing for us is that we wanted to try to contest every pass and try to force her to hit tough twos. Now, she’s done that all year, but we wanted her to make as many contested twos as we could force, and I thought our kids did a pretty good job with that.”
However, Penn State came alive in the second stanza, jumping out to as large as a four-point lead in the third quarter. Alisia Smith was the catalyst for the charge, scoring six early points to help ignite the Lady Lion offense.
“I took a different approach coming out [for the second half],” Smith said. “In the first half, I didn’t play too well but I tried to make up for it in the second half.”
Smith finished with 11 points, one of three Lady Lions in double figures.
With the shot clock turned off in a 57-57 game, Page missed a long jumper that would have given the Lady Lions a last-second victory. Confronted with a similar situation in overtime, this time with Penn State down by one, Page missed a deep three and Radford was able to run out the clock.
Washington said postgame that the team couldn’t quite get their rhythm going on the final possession of overtime.
“In regulation, that was by design,” Washington said. “In overtime, we had a little bit of a miscommunication coming out of the timeout. We didn’t get the shot that we wanted.”
Amari Carter was the leading scorer for the Lady Lions with 16 points, but only six of those came in the second half. Destinee Walker led the way for Radford with 13 points.
Penn State allowed 15 offensive rebounds, an area that the team tried to focus on in the week leading up to the game. They met their match today.
“We weren’t really boxing out too well, we weren’t in position to get the rebound,” Smith said. “We weren’t going up strong enough and finishing with contact at the rim either.”
Radford moves onto the second round, where it will face James Madison in an all-Virginia matchup.
Tom Shively is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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