MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Makenna Marisa scored 22 points and No. 13 seed Penn State beat 12th-seeded Minnesota 72-67 in the opening game of the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday despite blowing a 15-point fourth-quarter lead.
Penn State (14-16) takes on No. 5 seed Michigan in the second round on Thursday. The Lady Lions snapped a five-game losing streak with their win over the Golden Gophers (11-19), who won both regular-season meetings. It’s the first conference tournament win for Penn State in five years.
Alanna Micheaux tied the game at 66-all with 47 seconds remaining after the Gophers had trailed the entire way. Marisa then scored under the basket off an inbounds and completed the three-point play.
After Amaya Battle’s free throw made it a two-point margin, Alexa Williamson went to the line with 23.3 left for the Lady Lions. She made the first free throw and the remainder of the Lady Lions were still huddling with coach Carolyn Keiger on the sideline when Williamson missed the second and they had to scramble back on defense. After a Gophers miss and Penn State regained possession off a jump ball, Ali Brigham added two final free throws.
Shay Ciezki added 16 points for Penn State but left the game late in the third quarter after rolling her right ankle. Leilani Kapinus and Williamson scored 11 points each. Chanaya Pinto had seven points, eight rebounds, six steals and three assists.
Mara Braun scored 25 points and Battle 16 for Minnesota.
Penn State scored the game’s first eight points and led 21-3 late in the opening quarter.