No 14 seed has ever beaten a 3 seed in the NCAA Women’s tournament. Probably because in women’s basketball, first and second round games are played on the higher team’s home court, which made the task at hand for the Wichita State women on Sunday, was a tough one. But at least early on they were not intimidated.
“It's just another game, and they were competitors,” said junior Alex Hardin.
After falling behind 7-2 early, the Lady Shockers went on an 18-4 run that propelled them to a 30-25 lead at the half.
The wheels though fell off in the second half. WSU went nearly eight minutes without a basket to open the half, and watched a five point lead turn into a 10 point deficit.
“I would say the biggest thing was, we allowed them to get in the flow and the rhythm of their offense, and we weren't getting stops and weren't executing on offense,” said junior Jamillah Bonner. “So, we were on our heels a little bit, and once we got our momentum back we just had to dig each possession at a time.”
And that is exactly what the Lady Shockers did, they dug. Little by little they cut the Nittnay Lion lead, getting as close as two with 1:18 to play.
The biggest play in the game came when a missed shot by Penn State seemed to roll out of bounds and the officials initially gave the possession to the Lady Shockers, but after a review of the video, possession was awarded to Penn State. The officials said the ball went off Michaela Dapprich.
“I don't feel like I tipped that ball,” said the sophomore. “I don't feel like I tipped the ball; I feel like it was our ball. I felt like that was a bad call.”
The Shockers had to foul and Penn State hit the free throws, to make it a 62-56 final. A great showing for a 13 seed, but head coach Jody Adams says, they wanted more than just a great showing.
“I'm happy with the execution, but we aren't here for moral victories and this is a tough one,” said Adams. “The locker room was disappointed and the coaching staff was disappointed. We expect more. We expect to win in the NCAA's and it's my job to lead this team to that point, so give the credit to where credit is due. Penn State did finish the ballgame where we didn't finish it.”