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Penn State stuns No. 15 Buckeyes

UNIVERSITY PARK – A full-team effort led the Penn State women’s basketball team to a gutsy 69-67 upset win over #15 Ohio State Wednesday night inside the Bryce Jordan Center. The signature win under second-year head coach Carolyn Kieger marks Penn State’s first win against a team ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll since 2016.

Sophomore Makenna Marisa hit what proved to be the game-winning layup with 1:01 to play before the Penn State defense came up with key defensive stops in the final minute to secure the Lady Lions’ first victory over the Buckeyes in the last 12 meetings.

Senior Niya Beverley finished with a career-best 21 points behind a blistering 9-for-11 effort from the field, including a key three-pointer in the final three minutes. Marisa narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Senior Johnasia Cash finished with 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half, and five rebounds.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Buckeyes made seven of their first 11 shots to sprint out to a 15-2 lead in the first 5:05 of the game.

The Lady Lions turned up the defense in the final 4:50 of the opening frame, holding Ohio State without a field goal and forcing five turnovers in the span on the way to a 9-1 run to cut the OSU lead to just five points (18-13) at the end of the first quarter.

Marisa capped Penn State’s run at 11-1 with a pair of free throws to open the second period. Following a Buckeye score, Beverley had a driving layup and freshman Tova Sabel knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game at 20 with eight minutes left in the half.

Beverley gave Penn State its first lead of the game (24-22) at the midway point of the second quarter with a driving layup. A layup by Marisa pushed Penn State’s lead to four at 26-22 with 4:14 remaining in the half.

A personal 6-0 run by Aaliyah Patty put OSU back in front before Beverley nailed a three-pointer as the shot clock expired and converted on a layup to give Penn State a 31-28 lead. The Buckeyes closed out the scoring of the half with a pair of free throws by Jacy Sheldon. Ohio State appeared to take a 32-31 lead with a buzzer beater but the shot was waived off by the officials following a review to send the teams into the locker room with the Lady Lions lead 31-30.

The teams played an even third quarter with Ohio State taking the 52-51 lead on a Sheldon layup with 24 seconds left, which started a 7-0 run for the Buckeyes to establish a 57-51 lead just two minutes into the final period. The Lady Lions scored five consecutive points over the next minute of play to pull within one (57-56).

Sheldon sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a Cash layup for a 63-58 Buckeye lead with 5:34 remaining, but the Lady Lions kept fighting, clicking off a 9-2 run over the next 2:17 to take a 67-65 lead.

Kateri Poole knotted the game at 67 on a pair of free throws with 2:44 remaining. A few empty possessions for both teams led to a Marisa driving layup and a 69-67 Penn State lead with one minute remaining. The Buckeyes has opportunities to tie the game in the waning moments, but the Lady Lion defense secured the program’s first win over a Top 15 team since 2016.

KEY NOTES

Senior guard Nia Staples was honored before the game on the team’s annual Senior Day.

The Lady Lions beat a Top 15 ranked team for the first time since toppling #13 Tennessee, 70-56, Nov. 20, 2016 at the Bryce Jordan Center.

The victory was Penn State’s first over a ranked opponent since defeating #25/21 Rutgers, 70-67, Jan. 18, 2018.

Penn State defeated the Buckeyes for the first time since earning a 74-54 win in Columbus Feb. 9, 2014. The win snaps an 11-game losing streak to OSU.

Ohio State didn’t score the final 2:44. The 10th-best scoring offense in the country was held to 67 points. The Buckeyes came into the game averaging 82.3 ppg.

Beverley had a career-high 21 points, surpassing her previous high of 19 points as a member of the Wisconsin Badgers against Penn State (1/4/20). She also had a career-high nine field goals made.

Beverley has reached double figures in five-straight games.

Marisa finished with 17 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, marking her second-straight game with double-digit points, and more than five rebounds and assists.

Freshman guard Nan Garcia tied her career-high with five rebounds. She also had five boards against Wisconsin (2/7/21).

FROM THE SOURCE

Head Coach Carolyn Kieger

“I’m just so proud of our team to finally get a top 25 win. We’ve been working so hard. Ohio State is a phenomenal basketball team. They’re deep, they have an inside and outside presence. That was a huge win for our program. We’ve been chasing that top 25 and those teams ahead of us in the conference.”

“It’s a testament to our defense tonight. We weathered the storm there with a not-so great start. They had us by 13 early on, which is huge for our young squad to keep their composure and get that win. Just really proud of our defensive effort, we were scrambling and our rotations were great.”

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