Lady Lions lose 20th game

UNIVERSITY PARK – Four players in double figures, including 17 from Sierra Moore and a career-best 16 points from Tori Waldner, weren’t enough on Sunday afternoon inside the Bryce Jordan Center, as the Penn State Lady Lions dropped an 85-77 decision to Minnesota.

The Lady Lions (6-20) made more field goals than the Golden Gophers, but Minnesota held the edge in 3-point field goals and free throws made to earn the victory.

Penn State also out-rebounded its opponent for the 15th time on the year and handed out a season-high 22 assists. Three players logged at least four assists for PSU, which marked the fourth time this season at least three Lady Lions logged four or more assists in a game and first since doing so versus Rider on Dec. 14.

The Lady Lions put four players in double figures for the second straight game and eighth time overall this season, with Moore’s 17 points leading the way. Waldner added a career-high 16 tallies, Kaliyah Mitchell scored 11 points and Candice Agee chipped in 10 points in the loss.

Waldner connected on a career-best seven field goals and pushed her career point total to 399 with her personal-best effort of 16 points against the Gophers.

Minnesota also placed four players in double figures, including a game-high 23 points from Shae Kelley. Shayne Mullaney (18), Carlie Wagner (17) and Mikayla Bailey (11) also reached double digits in the scoring column. Amanda Zahui B. paced all players with 12 rebounds and added eight points.

The two teams exchanged scoring runs to open the contest, with Minnesota racing out to an 8-2 edge thanks to a pair of 3-point baskets and two free throws. A pair of Peyton Whitted baskets bookended a Spann 3-pointer to cap a 7-0 run that pushed Penn State in front, 9-8. The Gophers then reeled off 14 of the next 18 points to reclaim the lead and push the advantage to nine points (22-13) with 11:05 to play in the first half.

The Lady Lions chipped away at the Gophers lead over the final 10 minutes of the half, cutting the advantage to three points on two occasions, and entered the break trailing by just five points (33-28).

Waldner carried the Lady Lions offense to start the second half, with her second and-one opportunity giving Penn State its first lead since early in the first half, 38-37. Minnesota took the lead back on the next possession and stretched their edge to six points (49-43) on a Kelley layup with 13:34 to play.

Penn State again rallied, using back-to-back baskets from Mitchell and Moore gain the 59-58 edge at the 9:35 mark. However, Minnesota responded with a 20-8 run to push their lead to a game-high 11 points on a Wagner steal and layup with 3:38 to play.

The Lady Lions fought back by scoring the game’s next five points thanks to a layup by Agee, a free throw by Moore and a jumper by Waldner to make it a six-point margin (78-72) with 2:39 to play. The Gophers salted the win away from the free throw line, making 5-of-6 at the charity stripe as the Lady Lions.

MINNESOTA (20-6, 9-5): Kelley 8-19 7-9 23, Mullaney 6-11 1-2 18, Wagner 6-15 1-2 17, Bailey 4-5 0-0 11, Zahui 3-9 2-4 8, Hirt 1-3 4-5 6, McDaniel 0-3 2-2 2, Hedstrom 0-0 0-0 0, Jacobs 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 28-65 17-24 85.

PENN STATE (6-20, 3-12): Moore 8-14 1-2 17, Waldner 7-14 2-2 16, Mitchell 5-8 0-0 11, Agee 5-10 0-3 10, Whitted 3-6 1-2 7, Spann 2-8 0-0 6, Sevillian 2-5 0-0 5, DeGraaf 1-7 1-1 3, Harris 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 34-74 5-10 77.

Halftime-Minnesota, 33-28. 3-point goals-Minnesota 12-22 (Mullaney 5-6, Wagner 4-11, Bailey 3-4, Zahui 0-1), Penn State 4-14 (Spann 2-5, Mitchell 1-2, Sevillian 1-3, Whitted 0-1, DeGraaf 0-3). Fouled out-Minnesota-Zahui. Penn State-None. Rebounds-Minnesota 41 (Zahui 12), Penn State 44 (Agee 9). Assists-Minnesota 19 (Mullaney 8), Penn State 22 (Moore 8). Total fouls-Minnesota 12, Penn State 18. Technical fouls-Minnesota-None, Penn State-None. A-4462.