For 40 minutes, the Michigan women’s basketball team did a tremendous job defending All-American guard Kelly Mazzante. But in the end, it was Penn State’s other shooters that would end up killing the Wolverines.

Mazzante – who is currently third in the nation with 26.1 points per game – managed just 13 points on 6-for-18 shooting. Yesterday’s game marked the only time all season that Mazzante failed to connect on a 3-point field goal (0-9).

“I got open looks, and those are shots I usually make,” Mazzante said. “They just weren’t falling for me tonight.”

Penn State’s trio of three point snipers – forwards Jessica Brungo, Jess Strom and Jennifer Brenden – combined to scorch the net eight times on 13 attempts.

“Everybody knows Mazzante’s a shooter,” Michigan coach Sue Guevara said. “But you also know Penn State has a lot of (other) shooters.”

“Sometimes (losing focus on the other shooters) can be done,” Penn State coach Rene Portland said. “I think you get fired up to play a kid like Kelly,”

Brungo kept her team close with all three of her triples coming in a first half in which the Wolverines outplayed the Lady Lions.

“Her 3-pointers were big time,” Portland said.

Proving that they can drain it from anywhere on the court, Brungo and Brenden each connected on three pointers (in the first half) from NBA three point range. This forced the Michigan defense to guard them as far as 25 feet from the basket.

“Actually I think for a couple of them, I was wide open,” Brungo said. “They were probably concentrating more on Kelly.”

In an effort to combat Penn State’s outside fire, the Wolverines tried giving them some different looks defensively, switching to a zone defense.

“I thought for the most part (the zone D) did a pretty good job,” Guevara said. “We knew Jessica Brungo can shoot, I know Jennifer Brenden (can shoot). She came in in the first half and hit some shots. That’s why we went into the zone.”

Michigan was able to hold Penn State to just 3-of-10 from behind the arc in the second half, generating some steals that led to easy buckets the other way. A swipe by freshman Rachael Carney led to a Stephanie Gandy layup with 12:29 to go, and Michigan had its biggest lead of the game, 56-43.

“Our key as a team is defense,” Carney said. “Basically, we wanted to keep our hands up the whole time, not allow tem to get any easy shots.”

In the end, though, stopping the three was not enough for the Wolverines. Penn State was held without a trey in the last nine minutes of the game, but managed to pull out the victory when they went inside in the second half.

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