The Lady Lions are back on track.
For the first time in three years, the Penn State women’s basketball team won a postseason game with a 74-65 win over Ohio in the opening round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. They’ll next play Fordham in the second round at 2 p.m. Sunday, again in the Bryce Jordan Center.
Four different Lady Lions finished scoring in double digits — Sierra Moore (20), Amari Carter (12), Teniya Page (11), Siyeh Frazier (10) — but it was Moore who especially rose to the occassion. She turned in a season-high 20 points in the win, and Penn State coach Coquese Washington couldn’t say enough about her performance.
“She plays hard every night, she’s explosive, and she’s energetic,” Washington said. “I knew she would come out and work really hard tonight to have a big game.”
Moore was 8 of 19 from the floor and had three offensive rebounds, which tied for a game high. She also added a block and a steal. She was a menace all over the court — and that wasn’t lost on the Bobcats’ coach, either.
“She’s really good,” Ohio coach Bob Bolden said. “I thought she did a tremendous job getting to the rim. She was efficient with her dribbling and she finished at a very high rate.”
But Friday’s win was still a team effort, and maybe that was made most evident by the fact that Penn State’s second leading scorer in Lindsey Spann was missing from the lineup. Washington didn’t specify whether she was injured.
Regardless, Frazier — a true freshman who entered Friday’s game averaging five minutes and 1.4 points per game — stepped up in a big way in Spann’s absence. She provided 10 points off the bench in 18 minutes and was nearly perfect. She made 4 of 5 field goals and was 2 of 2 from the charity stripe.
“She’s got fresh energetic legs, she gets out in transition for us,” Washington said. “She got a couple offensive rebounds that were big for us tonight. It’s good to see her progressing and playing with a lot of confidence at this point in the season.”
Penn State was certainly confident later in the game when it built up an 18-point lead in the third quarter. But it still had to overcome a slow start to get to that point.
The Lady Lions fell behind 9-0 within the first four minutes but, with the home court behind them, the Lions stormed back to tie the game at 13 as the quarter ended. From there, it was basically all Penn State.
And the good news for Penn State? It put in a bid to host the first four rounds of the WNIT so, if it keeps winning, that home-court advantage keeps continuing.
“We love our fans,” Moore said. “They give us a lot of energy so anytime you get to play at home, we play really well and we feed off of them.”