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Feb. 10, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Lady Lions (13-11, 4-8), who donned special pink and blue jerseys, fell behind early and rallied late, but it was not enough as Iowa (16-7, 9-3) handed Penn State a 73-65 loss in front of 6,113 pink-clad fans at the Bryce Jordan Center on the Second Annual THINK PINK Day proudly supported by Mimi Barash Coppersmith. The Lady Lions have now lost five consecutive games and seven of their last eight contests.
Kam Gissendanner (Clairton, Pa.) had a solid all-around game for the Lady Lions with a game-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. Sophomore Tyra Grant (Youngstown, Ohio) reached the 800-point mark for her career with 17 points, including an 8-for-8 effort from the free throw line, while Brianne O'Rourke (Pittsburgh, Pa.) added 15 points, four assists and four rebounds.
Penn State quickly fell behind as Iowa made its first six shots en route to a 14-4 lead with 15 minutes left in the opening period. The Lady Lions, who missed their first six shots from the field, could only manage one free throw each from Janessa Wolff (Park Rapids, Minn.) and Gissendanner, who also converted on a lay-up in the opening stretch.
The Lady Lions weathered the Hawkeyes shooting storm and began to chip away at Iowa's lead, which grew to as many as 14 points (22-8) with 10 and a half minutes left in the period. Trailing 30-20 with just under three minutes on the clock, O'Rourke knocked down a pair of three-pointers and Grant drained two free throws to cut the Hawkeye lead to just two points with 44 seconds remaining. However, Wendy Ausdemore converted on a three-point play with 6.7 second remaining and O'Rourke driving lay-up at the buzzer ricocheted off the rim to send the teams into the half with Iowa leading by five (33-28).
Grant and O'Rourke led the Lady Lions with eight points apiece in the opening frame and Gissendanner added seven tallies and three rebounds. The Hawkeyes finished the period shooting 50% (14-28) from the field.
The Lady Lions opened the second half with the same momentum it had at the end of the first period as Gissendanner knocked down a hanging jumper 18 seconds into the half. Following a basket by Iowa, Grant drained a three-pointer to make it a two-point game at 35-33 just one minute in. The squads swapped baskets for the several possessions until the Hawkeyes rattled off five consecutive points to pull back ahead by seven markers (44-37) with 16 minutes to play.
Over the next several minutes, Penn State could not convert on several opportunities to gain on the Hawkeyes and the Iowa lead remained at seven points until went on a 6-2 run to move back ahead by nine points at 56-47 with just under seven minutes to play. However, the Lady Lions would bounce back and make it a 56-51 game with four consecutive points of their own thanks to two free throws each by Mashea Williams (Erie, Pa.) and Wolff.
After an exchange of baskets, Gissendanner scored four straight points to bring the Lady Lions to within three points (58-55) with 4:35 on the clock. Following a solid defensive possession, Wolff was fouled going for the rebound and converted on both shots of the one-and-one to cut Iowa's lead to a single point with 4:09 remaining.
The Hawkeyes answered on the ensuing possession with a three-pointer by Johanna Solverson, but the Lady Lions held tough as Gissendanner made a fantastic pass to O'Rourke converted on the lay-up and was fouled on the shot. O'Rourke sunk the free throw to make it a one-point game (61-60) with just over three minutes left.
Unfortunately for the Lady Lions, Kristi Smith made back-to-back shots to extend the Hawkeye lead to 65-60 with two minutes to play. Iowa drained four consecutive free throws before O'Rourke drained two from the charity stripe to bring PSU within seven (69-62) with one minute on the clock. Smith added two free throws before Gissendanner connected on a three-pointer to pull the Lady Lions within six points (71-65) with 41 seconds on the clock, but that was as close as Penn State would get as Smith added two more tallies from the charity stripe for the final margin.
For more information on THINK PINK Day, visit Penn State's official THINK PINK website at www.gopsusports.com/thinkpink.
The Lady Lions continue their three-game homestand against two teams that have never won in Happy Valley when they take on Minnesota on Thursday at 8 p.m. and Michigan State on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m.
Fans can purchase single-game tickets by visiting the Bryce Jordan Center box office, calling 814-865-5555 or 800-863-3336 or by clicking on the ticket link on www.GoPSUsports.com.
GAME NOTES: Tyra Grant reaches 800-point milestone scoring 17 points...Iowa largest lead was 14 (22-8 in the first half)...Kam Gissendanner lead the Lady Lions with 20 points and six rebounds...Brianne O'Rourke chipped in 15 points and four assists...Kristi Smith led the Iowa Hawkeyes with 20 points.