Why not save the best for last?
Penn State had just run its worst quarter of the afternoon when the third quarter buzzer rang. needed a spark to come out on top at the end of the game.
Well, that’s exactly what Blue and White did when it came to crunch time.
With the help of senior guard Tanya Thompson’s 15-point burst in the quarter and a strong perimeter defense, the Lady Lions stepped on the gas and outscored Wisconsin 27-19 with a formidable 74-69 win. I made it
“We just focused on our strengths and strengthened our defense, and we had a coach on our side to call some plays for us,” Thompson said. “We just got along well together.”
One of the Lady Lions’ biggest struggles all season has been their strong play from halftime. Blue and White are blowing their lead with big losses in many third quarters.
Penn State shot 80% from the field while controlling the tempo of defense, allowing the Badgers to have whatever they wanted in that third quarter.
The Blues and Whites looked set for another weak quarter, but that soon changed. I took % shots, but only flipped the ball once.
“They came out locked and loaded. That’s part of their game plan. I was just a little bit disappointed about,” said coach Carolyn Kieger. “We challenged them in the huddle and they really responded there.”
It was a complete energy comeback for Penn State. The endgame looked like a perfectly superior team. Because the guards were able to play off each other while setting up bucket by bucket.
“My point guard, Shay [Ciezki] and Makena [Marisa], they opened me. With 15 assists between the two of us, they were able to find me. This is great. Because we’ve really been working on it. ”
Defensive intensity was through the roof for the Lady Lyons in the final quarter. What was once a key element of the Badgers’ defense was completely shut down, and his 3-pointer in the fourth off his land made him 1-7.
The perimeter defense was gritty all day, forcing 25 Wisconsin turnovers, including four in the fourth quarter. But it was the quick response and quick hands by the Lady Lions that were the main reasons the Wisconsin snipers kept their cool when it mattered most.
This Penn State team is constantly working on this during practice. Kieger emphasizes discipline and toughness on the team whenever possible. Even though he rebounded 37-25 on Sunday, the Lady Lions showed this message in his fourth to keep the Badgers from gaining any momentum.
“Three days of practice were tough. In the first two days of practice, the team was trying to find itself again,” said Kieger. “Games reward toughness, games reward hard work.”
At the final buzzer, a rejuvenated Lady Lyons found herself at the back of the best basketball quarter of the season. With the three-game slide over, Blue and White found another stepping stone to build on for their next game.
Practice makes perfect. It’s not perfect today, but a win is a win.
“I don’t think we hit our maximum potential, but we’re getting better,” Thompson said. .”
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