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Signature win: Lady Lions beat top 15 team for first time in 4 years

Photo by Penn State Athletics (Mark Selders)

Penn State earned its signature win of the season — of the past four seasons, actually — and showed another sign that the program is heading in the right direction under second-year coach Carolyn Kieger.

The Lady Lions knocked off No. 15 Ohio State, 69-67, on senior night at the Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday for the program’s first victory over a top 15 team since Nov. 20, 2016 (that one against No. 13 Tennessee).

Senior Niya Beverley led PSU with a career-high 21 points, while Makenna Marisa had 17 points and Johnasia Cash 16 off the bench.

Marisa hit a layup with 1:01 remaining for a 69-67 lead, and the Lady Lions held on the rest of the way to win.

“I’m just so proud of our team to finally get a top 25 win,” Kieger said, in the university’s game recap. “We’ve been working so hard. Ohio State is a phenomenal basketball team. They’re deep, they have an inside and outside presence. That was a huge win for our program. We’ve been chasing that top 25 and those teams ahead of us in the conference.

“It’s a testament to our defense tonight. We weathered the storm there with a not-so great start. They had us by 13 early on, which is huge for our young squad to keep their composure and get that win. Just really proud of our defensive effort, we were scrambling and our rotations were great.”

Check here for postgame press conference videos of Kieger, Beverley and Marisa.

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Penn State snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Buckeyes, beating them for the first time since Feb. 9, 2014.

The Lady Lions, who went 1-17 in the Big Ten last sesaon — Kieger’s first at the helm — had a four-game winning streak in league play a few weeks ago. Those wins came against three teams (Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin) at the bottom of the Big Ten standings, plus a win over Nebraska, which is in the middle of the pack.

Wednesday’s win over the No. 15 Buckeyes is by far the best win of the campaign, and PSU improved to 6-10 in the Big Ten and 9-11 overall.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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