Nov. 11, 2011
STATE COLLEGE, Pa.-- Washington State University had No. 12/14 Penn State University on the ropes until a late second half surge by the Lady Lions handed the Cougars a season-opening 72-60 defeat at the Lady Lion Classic Friday evening.
WSU (0-1) forced PSU (1-0) into 24 turnovers and held a 60-59 lead with 7:12 remaining before the Lady Lions put the clamps down on the Cougar offense to come away with the win. Sage Romberg came off the bench to score a team-high 12 points while Philadelphia native Rosie Tarnowski scored 10 points. Jazmine Perkins and Ireti Amojo each added nine points as Perkins matched a career-high with a game-high 13 rebounds.
Penn State made 35 trips to the charity stripe while the Cougars went just seven times. Preseason Big Ten Conference Player of the Year Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas each scored 22 points for the Lady Lions.
Penn State opened the game with a 10-2 run but it was Cougs for the rest of the half. WSU took advantage of 17 first-half turnovers by the Lady Lions, scoring 12 points off those miscues that included five offensive fouls against PSU.
Romberg got the Cougars on track after Penn State's early buckets, scoring on three straight possessions. Minutes later, April Cook ignited an 8-0 run with a jumper before Rosetta Adzasu followed with a pair of driving layins and a Hana Potter added a baseline jumper to tie the game at 16-16.
WSU continued to dial up the defensive pressure, drawing two PSU charges as Ireti Amojo knocked down a long three from the right wing before Tia Presley recorded her first collegiate points on a long straight-away jumper to cap a 14-4 run and give the Cougs their first lead of the game, 21-20.
Perkins started another WSU run a couple minutes later with a rebound putback, Tarnowski added a layup and two free throws before back-to-back jumpers from Noyes and Amojo ended the 10-1 spurt and opened up a 33-27 WSU advantage with 2:57 remaining.
Washington State then closed the half with two straight baskets on a jumphook from Noyes and driving layup high off the glass by Perkins just before the first half buzzer to send the Cougs into the locker room up 38-35.
Tarnowski scored WSU's first five points of the second half to give the Cougars a 44-39 lead before Penn State began to work the ball down low and chip away at the lead. After the Lady Lions tied the game 44-44, Perkins connected on a three from the right corner but Penn State again answered with a bucket of their own. Potter later took a pass from Adzasu, spun and layed one in and Romberg followed with a three from the left wing on the next trip down the floor to give WSU a 55-53 lead with 12:20 remaining.
PSU then put together a 6-0 run by continuing to earn trips to the free throw line and build a 59-55 lead. The Cougs answered with a quick spurt of their own as Thomas grabbed a rebound off her own miss and drove to her left for a layup to cut it 59-57 with 8:52 remaining. Amojo followed with a three to give WSU a 60-59 lead with 7:12 left on the clock.
The Lady Lions answered right back with a jumper to regain the lead for good. WSU couldn't get a shot to fall in the final minutes while battling the physical Penn State defense. PSU scored the game's final 13 points, connecting on a pair of jumpers before sealing up the game at the line.
WSU will face the loser of UNC Wilmington and Middle Tennessee State Sunday.