The MSU women’s basketball team was presented with a great opportunity on the road Sunday at No. 8 Penn State.
Around the same time the Spartans were tipping off against the Big Ten-leading Nittany Lions, Michigan was putting the finishing touches on a 67-56 upset of second-place Purdue, ranked No. 13 — a win that would have been paramount to MSU’s chances of winning the conference this season.
Instead, MSU’s opportunity was washed away — likely along with its outside shot at winning the Big Ten — with a 71-56 loss to Penn State yesterday.
The Spartans (18-5 overall, 6-4 Big Ten) have lost all four games against ranked opponents this season, including a 21-point loss to Penn State (20-3, 10-1) at home earlier in the season.
MSU played a much better overall game on Sunday in its rematch with the Nittany Lions, but the story arc was a similar one, as the Spartans kept it close before eventually losing control in the second half.
Junior forward Annalise Pickrel led MSU with 16 points off the bench and senior forward Courtney Schiffauer scored nine with 10 rebounds.
MSU had the lead for nearly the first full 17 minutes, but Penn State’s Alex Bentley tied it up at 25 on a pair of free throws. Bentley exploded for 24 points on 9-of-16shooting from the floor while Maggie Lucas and Nikki Greene had 19 and 13, respectively, for the Nittany Lions.
In the next minute, MSU turned it over, missed two shots and sent Penn State’s Ariel Edwards to the line to sink a pair that would give Penn State a lead it wouldn’t lose, up 27-25 with 2:02 remaining in the first half.
Bentley’s layup with almost eight minutes gone in the second half stretched the Nittany Lions’ lead to 19, their largest of the night.
MSU returns home to play Indiana at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Do you want the news without having to hunt for it?
Sign up for our morning s'newsletter. It's everything your friends are talking about and then some. And it's free!
Share and discuss “Women's basketball drops big game to Penn State” on social media.