Wolverines Drop Season Finale at No. 8 Penn State
Shannon Smith

March 1, 2014

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Site: State College, Pa. (Bryce Jordan Center)
Score: #8 Penn State 77, Michigan 62
Records: U-M (17-12, 8-8 B1G), PSU (22-6, 13-3 B1G)
Next U-M Event: Thursday, March 6 -- at Big Ten Tournament - First Round (Indianapolis, Ind.)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The University of Michigan women's basketball team closed the gap to 14 points several times in the second half but could not get any closer in a 77-62 loss at No. 8-ranked Penn State on Saturday afternoon (March 1) at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Junior guard Shannon Smith (Gastonia, N.C./Forestview [Trinity Valley CC]) paced Michigan offensively with 21 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists. Sophomore guard Madison Ristovski (Sterling Heights, Mich./Liggett) went for 14 points, three rebounds and two assists off the bench, with freshman guard Siera Thompson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) chipping in 10 points, two assists and one rebound. Senior forward Val Driscoll (Stoughton, Mass./Archbishop William) recorded nine points and six rebounds, as Michigan was outrebounded by one, 31-30.

Neither team led by more than four points in the early going of the contest. Penn State took a 20-16 lead at the 11:24 mark, forcing a U-M timeout after the Lady Lions scored six straight points following back-to-back three-pointers from Smith and Ristovski.

Smith canned a right-wing three with 4:34 to cut a six-point lead in half, 28-25. PSU then answered with a 12-4 run over the next 3:55 for a 40-29 lead. Ristovski canned a pair of free throws with seven seconds remaining and Maggie Lucas missed a layup at the horn to send the teams to the break with Penn State leading, 40-31.

Smith led the way for Michigan with nine points, with Thompson chipping in seven and Driscoll going for six. The Maize and Blue shot 41.9 percent (13-for-31) from the floor in the frame, compared to 51.7 percent (15-for-29) for the Lady Lions. U-M battled foul trouble much of the first half, with Driscoll, junior forward Cyesha Goree (Grand Rapids, Mich./Wyoming Park) and junior guard Nicole Elmblad (St. Ignace, Mich./LaSalle) each picking up two fouls.

Driscoll picked up two quick fouls and Penn State converted on four straight free throws for a 44-31 lead with 18:59 on the clock. Ristovksi knocked down her second trey of the game on the ensuing possession for Michigan's first score of the half just 17 seconds later to keep the PSU lead at 10, 44-34.

Penn State pushed its lead to 21, 59-38, off a fastbreak layup with 12:43 remaining to cap a 13-2 spurt. Smith scored in transition to halt the run, completing the three-point play after the timeout to make the score 59-41 in favor of the Lady Lions with 11:51 on the clock.

Ristovski and Thompson knocked down back-to-back triples to cut the PSU lead to 16, 63-47, with 9:42 left to force a Penn State timeout. Smith scored on the next U-M possession for a 63-49 margin but Penn State scored on its next possession to bump the lead back up to 16.

The Wolverines cut the lead to 14 points several times but could get no closer in the second half.

Michigan will now turn its attention to the Big Ten Tournament, playing in the first round on Thursday (March 6). U-M will be either the No. 6 or the No. 7 seed and play in the evening session.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (vanmetre@umich.edu)

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