The NBA’s Three-Point Contest was held Saturday evening in Toronto, and it seemed the range that was showcased in there by some of the top shooters in the world made its way to State College, Pennsylvania, on Sunday in the women’s basketball matinee between No. 7 Ohio State (21-4, 13-1) and Penn State (9-16, 4-10).
OSU and Penn State converted on a total of 20 triples, but the close battle ended in the Buckeyes’ favor, as they proceeded to win their ninth straight game, 77-63.
Penn State came into the meeting with a ton of confidence after a big-time win over Michigan State. If it was to continue its winning ways and defeat the Buckeyes, it would have been the first time the program defeated a top-10 team since 2012.
The Lady Lions learned quickly that this wouldn’t be an easy task.
It was a sloppy first half of play for both teams, with OSU turning the ball over 13 times and Penn State 12. The Big Ten foes were able to interrupt the passing lanes and put excessive amounts of pressure on the ball, which created discomfort for each other on the offensive ends.
At first, OSU had a difficult time figuring out how to penetrate the solid zone defense that the Lady Lions put out on the floor. Penn State was able to close down the gaps and force the Buckeyes to fall in love with the 3-pointer on Valentine’s Day, throwing up 20 attempts from deep.
The Scarlet and Gray were able to regain the lead in the second quarter thanks to their 2,000-point scorer, senior guard Ameryst Alston. She went 4-of-9 from the field, with all of her makes coming from behind the arc, to finish the half with 12 points.
The Buckeyes would continue to follow Alston’s lead throughout the rest of the game. She finished with a career-high eight 3-pointers, scoring 26 points.
For Penn State, junior guard Lindsey Spann led all scorers at the break with 15 points, putting on a scoring clinic in the first 20 minutes, including a smooth reverse layup in the second quarter to put the Lady Lion fans in awe.
Although OSU only led by seven points after the first half, the Buckeyes have been known to take their game to the next level in the second half, evident by the fact they lead the country with 44.3 second-half points per game.
But this statistic didn’t overwhelm the Lady Lions going into the third.
Penn State was able to go on a 9-0 run in the first few minutes of the third and claimed a one-point lead at the 5:30 mark.
Being the battling team that OSU is, it did not allow Penn State to run away easy, obtaining a three-point lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
Only shooting 36 percent leading up to the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes knew that they would have to attack the rim more to find more efficient shots to increase their productivity.
The Lady Lions were able to stick around for majority of the fourth, but once the game clock ticked close to the halfway point, OSU was the team that had more stamina. The Buckeyes were able to take advantage of their endurance, continuing to push the ball on the fastbreak to get easy layup attempts.
Over the last 5:35 in the game, the Scarlet and Gray strung together a 17-6 run, which pretty much blew out Penn State’s already-flickering candle of hope.
To help Alston, sophomore guard Kelsey Mitchell rounded up her afternoon scoring 17 points, and sophomore forward Alexa Hart contributed yet another double-double. She had a dozen points and 15 rebounds.
Spann ended the game as the leading scorer for the Lady Lions, netting 21 points, while redshirt senior guard Brianna Banks scored 14.
Freshman guard Teniya Page and junior forward Kaliyah Mitchell ended with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
After its two-game road trip, OSU is set to head back to Columbus, where it is slated to host Nebraska on Thursday night at the Schottenstein Center. The meeting between the Buckeyes and the Huskers is scheduled to tip off at 6 p.m.