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Lady Lions fall short vs. Illinois

UNIVERSITY PARK — In a game that went down to the final seconds, the Penn State women’s basketball team came out on the short end of a 70-66 back-and-forth battle against Illinois Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center.

The Lady Lions hosted their 14th-annual Play4Kay Game Benefiting Pink Zone. A total of 507 survivors were in attendance, celebrating a collective 3,687 years, eight months and seven days of survivorship.

“First, I want to talk about the 507 survivors that were here tonight,” Penn State coach Carolyn Kieger said. “What an amazing event. Shout out to all the people that worked hard to make this happen. I know I’m inspired by it. 3,687 years (of survivorship) that we’re celebrating with 507 of them is incredible.”

Junior Kamaria McDaniel led Penn State with 23 points, her 10th 20-plus point performance of the season. Freshman Shay Hagans followed with a career-best 14 points.

Illinois raced out to a quick 15-3 lead five minutes into the game. Penn State spent the remainder of the quarter turning defense into offense as the Lady Lions forced seven Illini turnovers in the final 4:33 and closed the term on a 9-2 run to pull within 17-12 as the quarter expired.

A Hagans layup opened the second quarter and was followed by a 3-pointer from Makenna Marisa that capped Penn State’s 14-2 run and knotted the score at 17-17. The team traded leads for the remainder of the first half, with neither ahead by more than three. Illinois used a 7-for-8 showing the from the free throw line in the final six minutes to control a slim 32-30 lead at halftime.

The Lady Lions scored six of the first eight points of the second half to jump in front 36-34 at the 7:22 mark of the third quarter. Illinois answered with a 13-4 run to close the term and take a 47-40 lead through three quarters.

The Illini lead sat at 53-48 just under four minutes into the final term. A trio of 3-pointers from three different Lady Lions helped Penn State rattle off a 14-4 burst over the next 2:20 as Penn State jumped in front 62-57 with 3:53 to play.

Illinois went 3-for-3 from deep in the next 2:18 to answer with an 11-4 run of its own and reclaim the lead at 68-66 with just one minute left on the clock.

Penn State forced an Illinois turnover on the next Illini possession to set the Lady Lions up with a chance. Penn State got the ball back with 19 seconds to play and down 68-66, but missed a potentially game-tying layup in the final seconds. Illinois added two points from the charity stripe in the final second to seal the 70-66 win.

Hagans’ 14 points bested her previous career high of 12. She was a nearly perfect 6-for-7 from the floor and added five rebounds and two steals.

“In terms of our team, we have to keep building,” Kieger said. “We have to keep growing. We have to keep teaching. We have to keep getting better. We show moments and we show spurts, but we’re not there yet. It’s our job to keep coaching them and teaching them and showing the way. I know we’ll get there, it’s just a matter of when and in the meantime, we’ll keep teaching.”

Up next

Penn State heads to Nebraska Thursday for an 8 p.m. game.

ILLINOIS (11-12): Andrews 3-9 0-0 8, Myles 6-12 2-4 14, Beasley 0-4 3-4 3, Holesinska 9-16 6-8 28, Terry 4-10 3-3 11, Panagiotopoulou Andritsopoulou 0-0 0-0 0, Ephraim 1-3 0-0 2, Joens 0-3 0-2 0, Peebles 0-0 2-2 2, Rice 0-2 2-2 2, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 23-59 18-25 70

PENN ST. (7-17): Camden 2-3 0-0 6, Ebo 3-7 2-2 8, Frazier 3-11 2-4 9, Marisa 1-13 0-0 3, McDaniel 8-15 4-6 23, Smith 0-1 1-2 1, Bembry 1-2 0-0 2, Hagans 6-7 2-3 14, James 0-1 0-0 0, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 24-60 11-17 66

Illinois 17 15 15 23 — 70

Penn St. 12 18 10 26 — 66

3-Point Goals–Illinois 6-18 (Andrews 2-6, Myles 0-1, Beasley 0-2, Holesinska 4-7, Terry 0-1, Joens 0-1), Penn St. 7-19 (Camden 2-2, Frazier 1-4, Marisa 1-7, McDaniel 3-4, Bembry 0-1, James 0-1). Assists–Illinois 14 (Terry 7), Penn St. 10 (McDaniel 4). Fouled Out–Penn St. Frazier. Rebounds–Illinois 37 (Myles 4-9), Penn St. 41 (Frazier 2-7). Total Fouls–Illinois 17, Penn St. 22. Technical Fouls–Penn St. Frazier 1. A–4,592.

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