Penn State women’s basketball (8-7, 5-6 Big Ten) exploded on offense to put away Wisconsin (4-13, 1-13 Big Ten) 98-74 Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Lady Lions’ fourth straight win marked the program’s highest scoring output since Feb. 15, 2001, when Penn State scored 101 against Illinois.
Makenna Marisa led the team with 20 points on Sunday, but it was a whole team effort. Johnasia Cash added 18 points, Anna Camden had 14, and Shay Hagans had 11. Maddie Burke knocked down 15 points off the bench, all of which were threes. The team also had only three turnovers the entire game, a Penn State record-low in the Jordan Center and a huge difference in the afternoon’s outcome.
How It Happened
Wisconsin got the scoring started, but Makenna Marisa scored a second chance layup to tie it up. Marisa then scored again on the next offensive possession. The Lady Lions got back-to-back steals on defensive possessions, but were only able to score once on a Niya Beverly bucket.
The Badgers hit a corner three to take the lead, but Anna Camden was able to score in the paint. After another big defensive stop, Johnasia Cash had a beautiful euro step to score. Cash would then score again on the next possession.
Wisconsin was able to get a bit back on track with a basket in the paint, but it couldn’t stop Cash, who pushed her way into the paint to score and draw a foul. She would miss the free throw.
The Lady Lions showed hustle in the first quarter, as they took a lot of fast break opportunities. Shay Hagans scored a layup on a loose ball fast break, and then Camden hit a fast break three on the next possession.
Wisconsin went on a run in the last minute of the quarter, but Penn State still led after one 21-19.
Hagans got the scoring started for the Lady Lions in the second quarter with a corner three. Wisconsin got a basket in the paint, but Marisa responded with another three-pointer.
After a scoreless drought, Maddie Burke hit a wide-open three to extend Penn State’s lead. The defense was tough all game long, especially in the mid-court. This was highlighted when Tova Sabel stole the ball and scored on a fast-break layup.
Wisconsin was able to score coming out of a timeout, but Burke responded with a quick three to shut down any momentum the Badgers may have. Marisa then scored a layup on the next offensive possession.
Nan Garcia scored her first basket of the afternoon, putting up a layup after getting an offensive rebound. That was the last basket Penn State made in a two minute stretch, which allowed Wisconsin to make it a one possession game. Camden broke the scoring drought with a layup, and Sabel followed up with a layup on the next possession.
Camden was able to hit a last second basket to extend the Lady Lions’ lead, and they went into halftime up 45-36.
Marisa started the third quarter with a midrange jumper and a layup, and Penn State was right back where it started in the first half. Cash got another basket, though it was her first since the first quarter.
Wisconsin went on a run, however, and the Badgers were within six with a little over five minutes left in the quarter. Camden broke the streak though with a basket in the paint.
Beverly hit a big three following the Badgers’ made free throw attempts. Wisconsin responded with a wide open corner three, but Cash put up a powerful layup and Beverly made another three point to extend the lead.
Cash and Marisa also added some points in the paint, and the lead went up to double digits. Cash continued a dominating performance, scoring off of a steal to push the lead.
Camden hit a last second three at the end of the third quarter, and the Lady Lions ended took 72-54 lead into the final 10 minutes.
Penn State got off to a slow start in the fourth quarter, with their only points through the first three minutes of the game being Marisa’s free throws. That changed after Marisa and Hagans made back to back layups.
A pair of Burke threes bookended a Hagans score off a steal and a pair of free throws after another takeaway.
Both teams were exchanging threes before Garcia got a nice look in the paint. As the game winded down, Nia Staples hit a big three that made the bench erupt. Staples hasn’t played much this year, and this was her seventh point of the season.
The Lady Lions would wrap up this game with Garcia making one of two free throws from the line for the 98-74 win.
- The Lady Lions defense is a huge advantage. They forced 11 turnovers in the first half alone, and many of those came in the mid-court. It was a great display of how defense creates offense and that allowed Penn State to take a big lead.
- This is also a very unselfish team. There were multiple possessions where all five players touched the ball on offense, and they had 13 assists in the first half. That kind of play shows how far this team has improved and how everyone has bought in to coach Carolyn Kieger and her style of play.
- It seems like every player knows their roles and do them extremely well: Maddie Burke as a three-point specialist, Johnasia Cash as a force in the paint, Makenna Marisa and Anna Camden as the leaders of the team. The Lady Lions are proving to be a well-oiled machine on this winning streak.
Penn State travels to No. 17 Indiana on Wednesday. The game will tip off at 4 p.m. and air on the Big Ten Network.