STATE COLLEGE The Michigan women”s basketball team went into Penn State needing a milestone game a game that would put it back on track in the Big Ten race.

But all the Wolverines got was a milestone from Penn State star Kelly Mazzante.

Mazzante scored her 1,000th point she hit that mark faster than any other player in Big Ten history as Penn State used some hot shooting to beat the Wolverines, 78-65.

The problems that have hampered Michigan throughout the Big Ten season continued to pull it down the conference standings.

“We have to try to stay as positive as we can,” Michigan coach Sue Guevara said. “One practice at a time to get this basketball team back in sync.”

The Wolverines hung with the Lady Lions in the early going thanks to the dominating play of center Jen Smith inside, the 3-point shooting of guard Alayne Ingram and the cold start by Mazzante. But with Michigan up by five with 6:19 to go in the first, Penn State went on a 13-1 run to take a 36-29 lead at halftime.

Michigan was again plagued by its inability to keep the opposition from scoring at will. Penn State shot 57.7 percent from the field in the first half allong withseven 3-pointers, preventing Michigan from mounting a comeback.

Even when Mazzante was not shooting the ball well at certain points in the contest, other Lady Lions were able to pick up the load, as they finished with five players in double figures.

“We seem to be the cure for everyone else”s shooting woes,” Guevara said.

Michigan closed the deficit to five early in the second half, but Mazzante put in a lay-up off a back-door cut to give her 1000 career points, which caused Penn State coach Rene Portland to call a time out to enable the crowd of 7,448 at the Bryce Jordan Center to give Mazzante a standing ovation. The momentum was too much for Michigan to handle, as it never got within seven for the rest of the game.

“We”ve got to learn to come through in those situations (coming from behind),” said Smith, who was one of Michigan”s few bright spots, with a team-high 22 points. “Because that”s the only way we are going to come out with a win.”

Michigan was also hampered by its inability to protect the ball a theme that has been problematic for the team all year. The Wolverines turned the ball over 19 times against Penn State, with 11 of those coming when they were trying to come from behind in the second half. On numerous occasions the Wolverines threw the ball away while attempting to run a fast break or set the ball away while attempting to run a fast break or set up a halfcourt offense.

“What really bothers me with our turnovers is the lack of communication when we are passing the ball and it goes right through somebody”s hands,” Guevara said. “To me those are just unforced errors that are mental.”

And while Mazzante buried one big shot after another, Michigan forward LeeAnn Bies continued to struggle in all aspects of her game. A preseason All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and a team leader throughout the nonconference slate, Bies went 2-for-5 from the field and got into foul trouble early in the second half. That forced her to watch from the bench as the team”s post advantage dissolved.

The loss drops Michigan to 1-5 in the conference and puts the Wolverines in serious jeopardy of receiving a bye in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament a feat that seemed almost certain after the squad finished the nonconference schedule 10-1. With 10 games remaining in the Big Ten season, the Wolverines have a lot of issues on and off the court that need to be addressed.

“I talked about going to Basics 101 and pass and catch,” Guevara said. “But maybe I just need to get a shrink and just have three days of shrink-o.”

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