The Bryce Jordan Center featured a matchup of David vs. Goliath proportions yesterday. Michigan (2-11 Big Ten, 11-13 overall) held a seven-game losing streak entering the game, and stood just one spot away from the Big Ten cellar. Penn State (12-2, 22-6) boasted the conference’s best mark and arguably its best player in junior Kelly Mazzante. What better way for the Wolverines to snap their drought than to reference the legendary tale?
The Wolverines kept hope alive for the first 10 minutes of the game, but when Penn State took a double-digit lead into the second half, it became evident that David had misplaced his sling and stone for the night.
Michigan fell to No. 12 Penn State 75-61, and extended its current “W” dearth to eight games. Although the Wolverines came up short, Michigan coach Sue Guevara was satisfied with the way her team played.
“We played very hard for 40 minutes,” Guevara said. “The effort was there, but the results just didn’t come.”
Michigan held a five-point lead 10 minutes into the game (20-15), but Penn State took advantage of a Wolverine cold streak and produced a 15-4 run in six minutes to take the lead. The Nittany Lions extended their lead to 11 at the break (37-26) by finishing off the first half with a 7-0 run.
“(During the late run) they were getting a lot of transition baskets,” Guevara said. “Also they were penetrating and kicking, and hitting the open shots.”
Penn State coasted through the second half, never allowing Michigan to get within single digits.
Mazzante, an All-America candidate, led the Nittany Lions on both ends of the floor. She had an impressive game on the offensive side of the ball, scoring 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting. But it was her defensive prowess, including four steals, which caught Guevara’s attention.
“(Mazzante) did a great job of anticipating and getting into the passing lanes,” Guevara said.
Although Michigan’s season continues to crumble, Guevara says her young team is gaining a lot of valuable experience and remains positive.
“(The team’s youthful lineup) is getting thrown right into the fire, and I think it will really pay off down the road,” said Guevara.
“We are setting goals for each game. We continue to make little steps, and little steps are the necessary steps.”