CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Its hard to say what was more astounding for the Penn State womens basketball team on Thursday that the veteran Lady Lions committed 29 turnovers or the fact they still had a chance to win with so many miscues.
With all of the errors on offense, it was a defensive lapse that doomed No. 6 Penn State as Miamis Suriya McGuire scored a layup with 14 seconds remaining to snap a tie in the Hurricanes 69-65 upset win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Alex Bentley had a chance to tie it for Penn State (5-1) with five seconds left, but misfired on a jumper. Michelle Woods iced the game for the Hurricanes (5-1) with two free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining.
They made the plays when they needed to make them and we didnt, Lady Lion coach Coquese Washington said. Its just that simple.
The mistakes on offense would stifle Penn State most of the contest. The Lady Lions had a whopping 20 turnovers at the half and had several in the stretch run.
When you talk about it being a two-point game and youve got 29 turnovers, that tells you right there, Washington said. ... We had a lot of careless, errant passes. Tonight, we didnt make great decisions with the ball. We are normally a team that makes better decisions with the ball.
Still, with the miscues the Lady Lions had a shot to win, thanks to a couple of clutch shots by Maggie Lucas (20 points) and Bentley (14). They trailed for most of the contest until Bentleys layup with 8:46 left gave them their first lead at 51-49. Lucas two free throws pushed the margin to four points, but a 7-0 run put the Hurricanes back ahead heading into the frenetic final minutes.
Lucas 3-pointer tied the game at 60-60 with 1:57 left, but McGuires layup 21 seconds later put the Hurricanes ahead. Bentley tied the score with 41 seconds to go jumper, but a lapse led to Woods 3-point play with 35 seconds left.
Lucas double-clutched and heaved in a 3-pointer to tie it again with 23.6 seconds left, but McGuires layup provided the difference before Bentley couldnt connect.
I trust Alex, Washington said of Bentleys shot. Shes always made big clutch shots for us. That was the shot she thought that she had and I trust her decision making.
Washington was disappointed in her teams defense over the final minutes.
We had a couple of lapses, she said. Because of those lapses, we didnt get the stops that we needed. So far this year, we have been a good team down the stretch. Wed buckle down defensively and get stops. We just didnt do it tonight.
Penn State struggled from the start as Miami scored the games first eight points. The Lady Lions went more than five minutes without a field goal before Lucas 3-pointer. With Bentley and center Nikki Greene on the bench in foul trouble, they trailed by as many as nine points in the first half and were down 36-29 at the break.
It hurt a lot, Washington said of having two starters on the bench. In the second half, we showed we were a better team when theyre on the floor. Things just go smoother and the team is more comfortable with them on the floor. Theyve got to play smarter and not put themselves in that situation.
We were resilient and we did it with our defense, Miami coach Katie Meier said. Those two kids, Lucas and Bentley, they had to work for every point they got.
Lucas and Bentley were the only Lady Lions to score in double figures. Greene had all eight of her points in the second half. The Lady Lions shot 41 percent (26-of-63) for the game.
Theyre obviously disappointed because they felt like we could have won this game and should have won this game, Washington said of her players. Theyre disappointed and I know that disappointment will fuel them to get better.
Morgan Stromans 15 points paced the Hurricanes, who shot 44 percent (28-of-64). Stefanie Yderstrom added 13 and Woods netted 11.
The Lady Lions play host to Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday at 2 p.m.