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Lady Lions Drop 80-75 Decision to Michigan

Courtesy of GoPSU Athletics
Penn State celebrated 18th annual Pink Zone game, honored survivors of breast cancer at halftime

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State women’s basketball dropped an 80-75 decision to the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday evening inside the Bryce Jordan Center. The Lady Lions welcomed a season-high crowd of 4,745 to the BJC and celebrated the 18th annual Pink Zone game, honoring survivors of breast cancer with a ceremony at halftime.

The Blue & White welcomed over 200 survivors of breast cancer in its annual Pink Zone game, representing over 1,000 combined years of survivorship in its annual halftime ceremony. The Lady Lion basketball program became the first Division I program in the nation to wear pink uniforms in support of breast cancer awareness on February 4, 2007. PA Pink Zone has honored over 5,200 survivors in Penn State’s annual Pink Zone game since its inception 17 years ago. The organization has raised over $3.2 million in the fight against breast cancer through its partnership with Penn State Lady Lion basketball.

After winning each of its last six Big Ten Conference contests, the Lady Lions suffered their first setback in league play since a 75-67 defeat on the road against then-No. 14/13 Indiana on January 10. In defeat, the Blue & White fall to 16-6 overall and move to 7-4 in the B1G. Michigan improved to 15-8 overall and climbed to 6-5 in Big Ten competition this year. After Saturday’s result, the Lady Lions still maintain a significant lead in the all-time series, owning a 32-21 advantage against Michigan since the first meeting in 1992.

Graduate guard Ashley Owusu reached the 1,500-point mark in her storied collegiate career Saturday night, dropping 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting with five rebounds and two assists. Redshirt junior guard Leilani Kapinus booked a double-double with 15 points on 7-11 shooting, and 10 boards. In addition, she recorded three steals on the defensive end. Senior+ guard Makenna Marisascored 11 points on the night, while sophomore guard Shay Ciezki added 13 points and three assists. Graduate forward Chanaya Pinto notched seven points and seven rebounds.

HOW IT HAPPENED
First Quarter
Michigan controlled the opening tip, but Penn State took an early 3-0 lead on its first possession of the contest with a right-wing triple from Marisa. The Wolverines snapped back on their next two offensive possessions with back-to-back 3-pointers, taking an early 6-3 lead three minutes into the contest. Buckets were exchanged by both offenses over the next few minutes, but a trailing Marisa banged home her second 3-pointer of the evening with a little more than five minutes in the frame to make it 10-8 in PSU’s favor. Deadlocked at 10-all after the media timeout, Michigan tallied a fastbreak layup and a pair of makes at the charity stripe, but a speedy response from Kapinus kept the score within one possession. Tough shot-making by both squads culminated in a buzzer-beating step-back jumper from Owusu, but the Wolverines took an 18-16 lead into the second period.

Second Quarter
Marisa connected with Kapinus for a transition bucket to open the scoring in the frame. The Wolverines responded with a 3-pointer, but Oden and Ciezki both scored to bring the Lady Lions back to tie the game at 23 apiece. Heading into the media break, Penn State trailed Michigan 25-23. Out of the intermission, the Lady Lions forced a Wolverine shot clock violation. Another strong defensive stand forced Michigan into a timeout. Penn State turned defense into offense going on a 4-0 run to retake the lead for the first time in the quarter. Ciezki made a tough euro-step layup after a crucial save by Grace Hall under the basket. The Wolverines ended the quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 35-31 edge at halftime.

Third Quarter
Michigan started the quarter off hot with an 11-2 run, including three 3-pointers, to force the Lady Lions to call a timeout two minutes into the period. Penn State saw a pair of layups from Brigham and a jumper from Owusu on its first three possessions out of the timeout to keep pace with the Wolverines. Pinto drained both free throws on a successful trip to the charity stripe to bring the Lady Lions within single digits of the Wolverine lead, but Michigan took a 50-41 lead at the media timeout. Kapinus drove in for a strong layup and then forced a held ball on the defensive end with around three minutes to go. Marisa hit a one-legged jumper with under a minute to go to stop a 7-1 Wolverine run, but U-M took a 60-48 advantage into the final frame.

Fourth Quarter
The Wolverines utilized an and-one layup to build their largest lead of the evening, and a left corner 3-pointer from Michigan forced Penn State into a timeout, trailing 66-48. Out of the brief intermission, hustle plays on both ends of the court from Pinto, in addition to a steal from Kapinus reinvigorated the BJC crowd. Michigan got a pair of points back with a physical layup down low, but a long-range triple from Kapinus straight-away brought PSU within 12. Another 3-pointer from Owusu moments later kept hope alive for the Lady Lions, but Michigan recorded an and-one layup on the other end to remain in control. The Blue & White battled down the stretch, but ultimately dropped a 80-75 decision to the Wolverines on Saturday evening.

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