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Next Up: Lady Lions Ready for Final Non-Conference Tune-up

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's the final game of the non-conference season for the Lady Lions and NJIT will present the final opponent before moving into the Big Ten schedule. A three-game winning streak is on the line, as well as a string of 11 straight victories inside the Bryce Jordan Center, dating back to a Jan. 7, 2012 loss to Michigan State. 

Bentley-Alex.jpegThe Lady Lions (9-2) enter the week ranked No. 11 in the most recent AP Poll and are No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll after claiming a pair of wins last week. Penn State defeated Virginia Tech, 60-41, in Blacksburg before handing South Dakota State a 60-50 defeat to close out the week at home. NJIT (6-6) is at .500 entering the weekend and dropped their last game at VCU, 64-52.

The Lions are 1-0 all-time vs. the Big West Conference, with that victory being a 79-57 decision over the Highlanders during the 2009 season. 

The two teams have one common opponent this season in Fairleigh Dickinson. PSU claimed a 101-44 victory vs. FDU inside the BJC on Dec. 2, 2012 and NJIT lost a nine-point decision to the Knights on Dec. 5, 2012.

Riding the Bentley
Senior Alex Bentley has been a steady contributor on the court for the Lady Lions during her career and her all-around game as placed her among some of the most revered players in the history of the program.

Thirteen points and five assists is a great game for many players, but for Bentley, who put up those exact stats vs. South Dakota State, it's just another day at the office. The point guard moved her career assists total to 503 and now has over 1,000 points, 500 assists and 250 steals in her career. Those numbers are equaled by just five other players in Penn State history. Bentley joins Nancy Kuhl, Tina Nicholson, Jess Strom, Helen Darling and Suzie McConnell in the elite club and became just the ninth player in school history to eclipse the 500-assist mark.

Making those numbers more impressive, she moved up two more spots on the career scoring charts last weekend against the Jackrabbits. She has now poured in 1,474 points in her career and now ranks 12th Penn State's career scoring list, passing Katina Mack (1,463; 1992-96) and Jess Strom (1,466; 2002-05). Bentley needs just 64 points to move into the Top 10 in Lady Lion history and eclipse Tanya Garner's career total of 1,538 from 1988-91.

A Finale After Finals Week
The Lady Lions had were busy studying last weekend, but had no need to open up a playbook for their opponent. Penn State student's raided the coffee isle at the local grocery stores and subsidized the local Starbucks to fuel their late night studying for finals week on the University Park campus.

The finals week preceded the Lady Lions non-conference finale with NJIT this weekend. Penn State has played a tough pre-conference slate to get them ready for what they will see in Big Ten play. After completing their coursework last week, the Lions will now focus on their final test before hitting conference play and starting defense of their Big Ten championship.

Greene Coming Up Big
Nikki Greene has been the presence in the lane that head coach Coquese Washington has wanted to see all season. The senior poured in 17 points and pulled down six rebounds against South Dakota State is the first player in school history with 190-plus blocks and over 800 rebounds in a career.

The senior is one of just three players in PSU history with multiple 20-rebound games, after hauling in 20 boards at Cal State Northridge earlier this season and continues to move up the rebounding and blocked shots lists.

Greene can move into seventh on the all-time rebounding charts with eight vs. NJIT and if she can post her third game with double-digit rebounds can reach sixth on the all-time list. As a shot blocker, the Diboll, Texas native is just 12 swats away from becoming just the second player in school history with 200-plus blocked shots.

Follow's Greg Campbell on Twitter @SID_Greg



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