Lady Lions Rally but Fall Short
Jan. 9, 2012
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Unfortunately for the Lady Lions no one told the Spartans of their plans, as Michigan State roared out to a 46-24 halftime lead and held on to beat the Lady Lions 75-65 in Big Ten play.
The Spartans came out hot behind the sharpshooting of Taylor Alton, who was 6-for-9 from three-point range with 20 points, and put the Lions in a hole early on in the game.
The Lions struggled all night long never seeming to get into a real rhythm on the offensive end, with 25 turnovers on the game, including 14 in the first half alone.
"That was a factor in the game," said head coach Coquese Washington. "We had too many turnovers and we gave them scores in transition."
"In particular in the second half when we were making our comeback, there were a couple instances where we cut it to six, where we would turn the ball over or they would get a rebound and score in transition," Washington added, on how the team was unable to get over the hump in the second 20 minutes of play.
Despite the turnovers the defensive effort really seemed to be what the team focused on after the tough loss.
"The biggest thing defensively was we weren't communicating," said Coach Washington. "We were very silent on the defensive end. With team defense, you have to talk about what's happening on the floor."
While Michigan State came out firing in the first half and was able to build a big lead the second half became the Maggie Lucas show as Lucas was a bright spot for the Lions scoring a career high 33 points, with 28 of those coming in the second half.
"That's a team that can score in bunches and in a hurry, especially when Maggie Lucas is hitting fade away, falling down shots," said Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant. "I don't think she was wide open. I thought some of those were contested to the point where we were fouling her. She's a heck of a player."
Lucas helped to energize a strong crowd in the BJC as the Lions were able to cut the game to four with fewer than two minutes to go before a layup by Michigan State stretched it to six and the Spartans pulled away.
"We wanted to get the win, we were fired up. We just rallied together but it was a little too late," a dejected Lucas said post game.
Going forward the preseason Big Ten favorite Penn State squad has fallen to 1-2 in Big Ten action. Despite the record they are not feeling like they are in any trouble moving forward.
"You don't want to think of it as a hole because then you are going to start pressuring yourself," Lucas said. "You just have to take it one game at a time and stick to what our coaches lay out for us."
"It's not a hole. It's three games," Coach Washington added. "There are 13 games left, which isn't a big hole. We don't worry about that."
The Lions will take on the first of those 13 games left as they take on the Michigan Wolverines Thursday at 6 p.m. at home in the Bryce Jordan Center.