It was a better week than you might think for the No. 11 Lady Lions (3-1). The unranked team they lost to (Delaware) was a tougher challenge than their ranking indicates, and their win against South Carolina was impressive.
Game #3: Lady Lions (2-1) lose at Delaware (2-0), 80-71.
This really wasn’t that bad of a performance from the Lady Lions on the road against a team receiving votes. Their fatal flaw was that they failed the Della Donne Test that was written about in last week’s Collegian. Delaware’s star player, a 6-foot-6 guard, Della Donne had her way with the Lady Lions defense, dropping 40 points and grabbing 12 boards. Surprisingly, Lady Lion head coach Coquese Washington called for a 2-3 defense for most of the game, only switching to a full-court press when Delaware practically had the game in hand late in the second half. There seemed to be no added pressure on Della Donne. On the other hand, Delaware played a man defense that held Maggie Lucas contained nicely. Lucas only shot 4-17 from the floor, a season low for her.
Of note, Ariel Edwards got her first college start in place of an injured Mia Nickson. Freshman Tori Waldner also saw her first-ever playing time in college.
Game #4: Lady Lions (3-1) win at South Carolina (3-1), 55-50.
This was an exciting game. The scoring was all over the place, sometimes fast and sometimes slow. Edwards continued to show why she’s an underrated presence, and it was a very clutch comeback win spearheaded by Lucas.
Captain Marisa Wolfe, who had been nursing a leg injury, saw time on the court for the first time all season. Her playing time was limited, but she was able to drop 4 points, including two big ones late in the game.
But there were some negatives. Center Nikki Greene had another weak game, registering two fouls early and ceding even more playing time to sophomore Talia East. East played 29 minutes and excelled (six points, seven blocks, fifteen rebounds), while Greene played 19 and scored only six points. If her foul trouble continues, she will continue to see East’s number called more often than hers. In fact, it might happen anyway with the way East has been performing.
Alex Bentley struggled mightily. She had two fouls within the game’s first four minutes, and had seven turnovers, including three straight drives. The point guard only had six points and now has recorded single-digit points in two of the Lady Lions’ four contests this season. The Wooden Award candidate should bounce back in time, but it hasn’t been a stampede out of the game for her.
- The big women really have to start playing more consistently. Now that Wolfe is back, there is certainly more depth down low, so maybe we’ll see some improvement. I like what I’ve been seeing out of Talia East so far, but Nikki Greene needs to avoid those fouls. I think she has some good potential to bounce back; it’s early.
- Delaware is the toughest road game the Lady Lions will play until their last one of the year at Purdue. Things should continue to get better from here.
Around the League
No. 1 Baylor took the win in its much-anticipated matchup with No. 2 Notre Dame. No. 3 Tennessee was stunned by unranked Virginia on the road. The Lady Lions can expect to drop the middle of the 10-20 range. No. 15-17 seems like an accurate place to put them with the Delaware loss.
Player of the Week
Talia East. 26 rebounds in two games says it all.
11/25 - PSU vs. Iowa State: The four-game road swing continues for Penn State, as they will head out to Reno, Nev., after Thanksgiving to compete in the Nugget Classic at a neutral location.
11/26 - PSU vs. Nevada/Butler: This will be the second game of the Nugget Classic. Reno is the farthest location to which the Lady Lions will travel.