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Penn State women fall to No. 22 Northwestern at Bryce Jordan Center

TIM WEIGHT/For The Express Penn State’s Maddie Burke is helped up off the court during Sunday’s game against Northwestern at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions lost to Northwestern, 67-50.

STATE COLLEGE — The Penn State women’s basketball team couldn’t find its offensive rhythm Sunday afternoon as the Nittany Lions suffered a 67-50 loss to No. 22 Northwestern in Big Ten action inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

Senior Johnasia Cash led Penn State with 14 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Makenna Marisa added 12 points.

“We have a tall task ahead of us. Kelly Jekot suffered a season-ending injury, not related to COVID, this week and we have to figure out how to make up for her scoring, minutes and rebounding,” Penn State coach Carolyn Kieger said. “Our team was definitely feeling that tonight, and I’m excited for three or four days of practice to be able to fix that and get in sync without her on the court. We’ll figure out how we’re going to revamp and figure out how we’re going to make up for that loss by committee.”

Jekot led the team with 143 points and had a team-high average of 15.9 points per game.

“Kelly has such a high IQ and shares the ball really well. We’re one of the youngest teams in the country, so when you lose that experience and lose that vet it’s going to hurt until we have time to re-group and figure it out,” Kieger said. “It’s going to have to be by committee, it’s not going to be one person doing it. It’s an awesome opportunity for them to step up, for them to grow and learn, and have their sisters’ backs.”

TIM WEIGHT/For The Express Penn State’s Johnasia Cash tries to score against Northwestern during a game Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State lost, 67-50.

Northwestern was led by Veronica Burton’s 19 points and Lindsey Pulliam’s 17. Sydney Wood also added 13 points and Courtney Shaw had a team-high 12 rebounds.

The Wildcats — who are ranked third in the country in fewest turnovers per game with an average of 10.0 per contest — had five turnovers in the first five minutes and eight in the first quarter. Unfortunately, the Nittany Lions were unable to convert with 11 turnovers of their own in the opening frame. Northwestern connected on a trio of 3-pointers in the period, including a 30-footer at a shot clock buzzer, to establish a 14-10 lead.

Northwestern used a 7-2 run to extend their lead to nine at 21-12 with 4:40 left in the second quarter. Penn State sophomore Shay Hagans made four consecutive free throws to make it a five-point game, but the Wildcats ended the half on an 8-0 run to go into the locker room with a 32-18 lead.

No. 22 Northwestern 67, Penn State 50

NORTHWESTERN (7-2, 5-2 BIG TEN)

Courtney Shaw 2-5 1-2 5; Sydney Wood 6-9 1-1 13; Lindsey Pulliam 8-23 1-2 17; Veronica BUrton 7-13 3-5 19; Jordan Hamilton 2-5 0-1 5; Paige Mott 3-4 0-2 6; Kaylah Rainey 1-2 0-1 2; Laya Hartman 0-0 0-0 0; Lauryn Satterwhite 0-0 0-0 0; Anna Morris 0-2 0-0 0; Brooke Pikiell 0-0 0-0 0; Jasmine McWilliams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-63 6-14 67.

PENN STATE (4-6, 1-5 BIG TEN)

Anna Camden 3-6 2-2 8; Johnasia Cash 4-11 6-10 14; Miya Beverley 1-4 0-0 2; Makenna Marisa 5-9 0-1 12; Shay Hagans 0-2 4-6 4; Tova Sabel 0-3 0-0 0; Maddie Burke 3-7 0-0 8; Nyam Thornton 1-4 0-0 2; Kaci Donovan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-46 12-19 50.

Northwestern 14 18 20 15 — 67

Penn State 10 8 19 13 — 50

3-point goals: Northwestern 3-16 (Burton 2-6, Hamilton 1-3, Wood 0-1), PSU 4-13 (Marisa 2-3, Burke 2-5, Beverley 0-1, Camden 0-2). Fouled out: Northwestern-none; PSU-none. Rebounds: Northwestern 41 (Shaw 12), PSU 30 (Cash 8). Assists: Northwestern 18 (Hamilton 5), PSU 11 (Marisa 4). Technical fouls: Northwestern-none; PSU-none. Total fouls: Northwestern 16, PSU 16. A: 219.

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