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Marisa’s Buzzer Beater Seals 70-69 Win Over Rhode Island

Photo courtesy of Tim Weight

story by GoPSU Athletics

Penn State moves to 3-0 after thrilling win over Rhode Island


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Sophomore Makenna Marisa hit a game-winning, buzzer-beating layup to seal a thrilling 70-69 victory over Rhode Island and move the Penn State women’s basketball team to 3-0 on the season Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.


Penn State trailed 69-68 following a go-ahead jumper by Rhode Island’s Marta Vargas with three seconds to play. The Penn State play went inside to Johnasia Cash, but she ran into a double-team that resulted in the ball being swatted out of her hands. Marisa streaked to the hoop just in time to grab the loose ball and put in the bucket for the 70-69 win.


Marisa led the team with a career high-tying 17 points as her game-winning layup at the buzzer secured the Penn State victory. Sophomore Shay Hagans followed with a career-best 16 points. Senior Johnasia Cash followed with 13 points and eight rebounds, while graduate student Kelly Jekot rounded out the double-digit scoring with 11 points.



  • Penn State out-scored Rhode Island 14-6 over the final 3:45 of the first quarter to take an 18-14 lead at the end of the opening 10 minutes. The Lady Lions closed the quarter on a 5-0 run as sophomore Anna Camden assisted on a layup by Jekot with 49 seconds left on the clock and then drained a 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining to give PSU its first lead of the game.
  • Penn State scored the first 10 points of the second half to extend its run to 15-0 while taking a 28-17 lead. Hagans capped the run, which spanned 3:23 over the first and second quarters, with a pair of free throws.
  • Hagans ended the half with a bang, stealing the ball near midcourt and taking it all the way to the hoop for a bucket and a foul. She converted the free throw to put the Lady Lions up by two, 34-32, at the break.
  • The lead remained slim through three quarters as Penn State went into the fourth with a 51-49 advantage. Hagans scored five points in the third quarter, and combined with Cash, the duo scored 13 of the team’s 17 points.
  • The back-and-forth fourth quarter saw four lead changes in the final 1:28 of play. Rhode Island’s Vargas gave the Rams the 69-68 edge with three seconds left on the clock, but Marisa’s game-winner sealed Penn State’s first 3-0 start since the 2017-18 season.



  • Marisa’s game-winner marked the first time that a Penn State player hit a game-winning field goal with less than 10 seconds to play since Julia Trogele did so on Jan. 27, 2011 at Illinois.
  • Penn State sits at 3-0 for the first time since 2017-18.
  • Marisa led four Penn State players in double-figures with 17 points in addition to six assists, five rebounds and one steal.
  • Hagans scored a career-high 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including a 3-of-4 mark from beyond the arc and a perfect 5-for-5 from the line.
  • Cash scored all 13 of her points in the second half. She had a stretch of eight points in less than eight minutes in the third quarter.
  • Jekot has scored in double figures in all three of Penn State’s game this season. She’s averaging 15.3 ppg.
  • Penn State won despite being outrebounded 34-27. The Lions held a two-point lead at the half despite a 21-10 advantage for Rhode Island on the boards.
  • Penn State scored 21 points off 17 Rhode Island turnovers.
  • Penn State improved to 18-1 overall and 11-0 at home in the all-time series with Rhode Island. The teams met for the first time since 1991.
  • The Lions are averaging 80.3 points per game during their 3-0 start.
  • Three different players have led Penn State in scoring through the first three games – Jekot, Sabel, Marisa.
  • Penn State shot 17-of-19 from the line for an 89.4 percent clip.



Head Coach Carolyn Kieger

  • “Wow what a game! Rhode Island is a very good team and they’re going to have a lot of people worried as this season goes on. They did a phenomenal job recruiting and rebuilding that program. This is a big win for us because that’s going to be a really good team down the stretch.”
  • “I’m just really proud of our composure. We didn’t play a great game, we have a lot of things we need to fix and a lot of teaching moments, but we kept our heads and kept our composure and came up huge at the end there.”
  • “With 13 newcomers who were in that position for the first time, great to come out with the win.”

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