Lady Lions Offense Stalls in 4th Quarter, Lose to No. 7 Ohio State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Lady Lions looked eager to topple another ranked opponent on Sunday afternoon, but saw the game slip away in the final quarter of play in the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State (9-16, 4-10 Big Ten) got off to a fast start in the first quarter, playing smart defense and forcing the seventh-ranked Buckeyes (21-4, 13-1 Big Ten) to turn the ball over eight times. Penn State forward Peyton Whitted got going early on the boards, grabbing four rebounds in the first two minutes of the game, one of them on the offensive end.
“I think in the first quarter we were really aggressive and assertive on both ends of the floor, and that kind of carried us” Penn State coach Coquese Washington said after the game.
Ohio State came out of the gates slowly, shooting only 31 percent from the field and missing a few easy layups to start the game. However, thanks to three 3-pointers from Ohio State forward Ameryst Alston, the Buckeyes finished the first quarter only down by one point.
In an effort to take control of the game, the Buckeyes began to use the full-court press against the Penn State offense, forcing them into four straight turnovers to start the second quarter. Lady Lion freshman guard Teniya Page was feeling the pressure in the first half, turning the ball over five times before finding her rhythm in the second half.
“I don’t know when the last time we were pressed like that, so that was a new experience for [Page], and they did a good job trying to attack her and taking the ball out of her hands” Washington said. “I thought she handled it much better in the second half…all her turnovers came in the first half.”
The Buckeyes came out ready to play in the second quarter, working the offensive glass for six second chance opportunities and doubling the rebounding total of the Lady Lions 12-6. Ohio State’s ball movement also created problems for Penn State, opening Alston and standout guard Kelsey Mitchell for wide-open 3-point shots. At the end of the half, Ohio State had tallied up 10 assists to the Lions’ six, helping to build a 37-30 lead.
The Lady Lions opened the second half with a 12-6 run in the first four minutes, moving the ball much better and creating scoring opportunities for Lindsey Spann, who finished with a team-high 21 points (4 for 7 from deep).
At the defensive end, Penn State kept the Buckeyes out of the paint, but Ohio State seemed to be content from behind the 3-point arc, hoisting up a total of 34 threes and sinking nearly 40 percent of them (13). Seasoned forward Ameryst Alston finished with a game-high 26 points, 24 of which coming from 3-pointers.
Ohio State’s Alexa Hart took control of the battle on the boards, fighting for a total of 15 rebounds to go along with her 12 points and four blocks. Her prowess was most apparent in the second half, helping the Buckeyes get the lead back heading into the fourth quarter up 55-52.
Although they were in the game for the first three quarters, the Lady Lions saw their chances of winning slip away in the fourth. Perhaps the heavy load the starters had to burden caught up to them; four Lady Lions logged at least 37 minutes in the game, with the bench only contributing three points to the team total.
Penn State shot 25 percent from the field on 12 attempts in the final quarter of play, allowing the Buckeyes to go on the fast break and get to the foul line. Whitted fouled out of the game with a minute to go, all but ensuring a victory for Ohio State. At the final buzzer, Ohio State finished on top, winning 77-63.
“I thought this was a good week for us in terms of how we played and how we competed against two of the best teams in the country, so certainly I think we’re moving in the right direction” Coach Washington concluded.
The Lady Lions will be on the road this week as they face Northwestern in Evanston. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
Bobby Brown is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.