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In Game Blog: Women's Basketball vs. Wisconsin

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome back to in-game coverage of 2012-13 Lady Lions women's basketball season.  Insight and reaction will be provided by throughout the game, so check back often as the action unfolds.

Penn State posted their largest margin of victory in Big Ten play since winning by 48 points over Michigan State in 2001 when they toppled Wisconsin, 84-40 inside the BJC on Thursday night. Take a look back at how it transpired below, complete with game recap and quotes from the postgame press conference

Today's Game in 140 Characters: Don't overlook Badgers who can really play D...take care of ball, force turnovers and establish post vs. limited UW bench...WE WANT NUGGETS!

First Five on the Floor (Starting lineups)
Nittany Lions -
G- Bentley, G- Lucas, G- Taylor, F- Nickson, C- Greene
Badgers - G- Bauman, G- Paige, G- Stephen, F- Johnson, F- Rochel

1st Half: 15:11 - No. 8/8 Penn State 14, Wisconsin 3
Nikki Greene and Alex Bentley got the game started on a high note for the Blue and White, with Greene blocking the 192nd shot of her career to move into a tie for second on the all-time list at PSU and Greene followed that with a swipe and score play to give Penn State the early edge. Wisconsin turned the ball over on six of their first 11 possessions and the Lady Lion offense was off and running, building an 11-0 edge before the Badgers were able to dent the scoreboard on a Nicole Bauman three pointer. Penn State has started this game with great attention on the defensive end and a 1-2-2 trap after scoring.

1st Half: 11:03 - No. 8/8 Penn State 18, Wisconsin 4
Bentley is playing with a confident swagger tonight, knocking down a jumper from the top of the key with a Jordan-like look on her face, as if to say tonight is my night. A nonchalant pass to Greene for a layup, followed by a rebound on the other end lets you know the senior is locked in tonight.  That was about all that happened over the last four minutes, other than a Penn State timeout in which Coquese Washington had some choice words for her team about picking up the intensity after racing out to the early lead.

1st Half: 7:58 - No. 8/8 Penn State 29, Wisconsin 9
It was the other catalyst for the Lady Lions, Maggie Lucas, who came up with the big play out of the 12-minute media timeout. Lucas picked off a pass at midcourt, converted the layup and the free throw, after being fouled, and added a step back three pointer a but later to keep the offensive flow going. Mia Nickson got into the scoring column with a steal and converted on the offensive end with a nice shot fake that led to an easy layup. Penn State has continued to put the defensive pressure on the Badgers and is enjoying a nice early cushion.

1st Half: 3:48 - No. 8/8 Penn State 37, Wisconsin 13
Penn State has shown a lot of different looks defensively tonight; running  a 1-2-2 press and showing both man and zone looks. On the other side of the floor, the Lady Lions have been able to do pretty much whatever they like, working the ball inside and outside, turning turnovers into easy baskets and knocking down shots from the outside. A pair of free throws snapped a four minute scoreless streak for the Badgers, but they will need a lot more than free throws to get back into this game. A bevy of Penn State fouls has led to a very disjointed and sloppy last few minutes, but we're over half way to nuggets already.

End of 1st Half - No. 8/8 Penn State 46, Wisconsin 21
Greene is on her way to a double-double tonight, already cracking the 10-point barrier (12 pts) and needing just four rebounds for her third such effort of the year. The senior started her 113th career game  and moved into sole possession of the No. 2 spot on the career blocks chart, passing Mary Donovan (1977-81) with her 193rd career rejection with 4:25 to play in the first half.

Greene leads all scorers entering the half, while Bentley has 11 and Lucas has chipped in nine points through 20 minutes. The Nittany Lions are shooting 43 percent from the floor, 57 percent from behind the arc and 76 percent from the charity stripe. PSU has forced 17 first half turnovers - 10 steals - but has only five assists on 16 baskets. The 46 points are the third most in the first half this season (50 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, 53 vs. Georgetown) and are well over halfway to McNuggets.

2nd Half: 14:34 - No. 8/8 Penn State 57, Wisconsin 25
Greene got the double-double out of the way early tonight, grabbing her tenth rebound early in the second half and Penn State continues to pour it on offensively. Nuggets are inevitable tonight, but more impressive is that PSU has already forced 21 turnovers and continues to shoot over 40 percent from three point range.

2nd Half: 14:34 - No. 8/8 Penn State 64, Wisconsin 31
The Marissa Wolfe wacky walker was a hit tonight and the Lady Lions are running the floor like the Wisconsin defense is a windup toy.  It seems that every time down the floor Greene is getting a touch in the post and she is making smart decisions when passing back to the perimeter or spinning her way down into the post. It's the best that I have seen Greene play offensively this season and she has been solid defensively, too. Bentley and Lucas continue to spell each other for minutes at a time tonight, but both continue to push their teammates event with the big lead.

2nd Half: 7:10 - No. 8/8 Penn State 68, Wisconsin 35
Bentley is quietly having a great night for Penn State with 14 points, five steals, five assists and a handful of great deflections on defense. Oh and no turnovers for the senior. The Badgers are playing without their best player, Taylor Wurtz, who is out with a back injury and it has showed over the last five games for the Badgers. They have yet to find their identity on the offensive end without the 6-foot guard who was their leading scorer before she was injured. Penn State has had no problem with their identity on offense tonight and seven players are in the scoring column with seven minutes to play.

2nd Half: 3:24 - No. 8/8 Penn State 75, Wisconsin 40
Jackie Moon promised everyone in attendance at the Flint Tropics game free corndogs if they could score 125 points. They did, but he couldn't deliver on the promise. Penn State and the local McDonald's restaurants will deliver on six free McNuggets if you show you ticket from tonight's game anytime within a week after Talia East pushed the Lady Lions past the 70-point mark with her first bucket of the game. Jackie Moon also wrestled a bear, but I don't see Coquese Washington doing that any time soon. Eight of the nine players that dressed for tonight's game have scored, but I have probably lost most of my readers after the Semi-Pro references.

FINAL - No. 8/8 Penn State 75, Wisconsin 40
Every player in the Penn State (14-2, 4-0) lineup scored on Thursday night vs. Wisconsin (8-10, 0-5), but it was Nikki Greene that topped my list of performers for the Lady Lions.  Take away the mental lapse at the end of the game when she took - and made - a jumper from the top of the key and Greene really did nothing wrong all night. She shot nine-of-16 from the floor, hit five-of-seven from the free throw stripe, pulled down 14 boards - seven on the offensive end - and ended the night with a season-high 24 points, all while staying out of foul trouble.

This game was not in doubt from the opening tip, as Penn State raced out to an early double-digit lead and the Badgers could never recover. In the postgame presser, Wisconsin head coach Bobbie Kelsey gave us a little insight to why they looked out of sync as their main post player was ill all morning and that piled on top of not having her best player due to a season-ending injury and a talented freshman down with injury.

In all, every Lady Lion scored tonight and four PSU players ended up in double figures. Nickson and Taylor each ended the night with eight points, with Nickson adding nine rebounds and Taylor chipping in seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. Along with Greene, Bentley (14 pts), Lucas (11 pts) and Ariel Edwards (10 pts) all notched 10-plus points.

The defense was tenacious again tonight and forced 24 turnovers, 17 coming from steals, and shared the ball nicely with 15 assists. It seemed every time that Wisconsin found a rhythm it was the defense that came up with a big steal or Greene pulled down a rebound to limit the Badgers to just six second chances on offense and zero points on those chances. It also helped that 52 of their 84 points came in the paint and 29 were scored off of turnovers.

I could bore you with more stats all night, but all you need to know it that the Lady Lions are on a roll and will run into Michigan, who was up 25 on Northwestern when this was posted, looks to be on their way to their tenth straight win, on Monday, Jan. 21.

Fast Break Press Conference Quotes
"They were guarding Maggie (Lucas) and Alex (Bentley) pretty tough, so I just tried to take advantage of that."
- Senior center Nikki Greene

"She was a beast."
- Senior guard Alex Bently on Nikki Greene's play vs. Wisconsin

"We get after (defense) in practice. Coach challenges us to push ourselves on defense end during practice and it transfers over to the game."
- Senior guard Alex Bentley

"I feel like we are playing really well. Our chemistry ifs great and we are really playing well and on the same page. There are times that we slip a little bit, but when have been able to come out of the timeouts and are able to refocus."
- Senior center Nikki Greene

"Nikki is an incredibly talented player. When she can stay on the floor and play, she can put up big numbers for us. She is capable of putting up big numbers every night and that really opens things up for everyone else."
-Head coach Coquese Washington

"I thought (our post players) really attacked the glass on rebounds tonight on the defensive end. Sometime we can be a little passive, but tonight they really worked hard."
-Head coach Coquese Washington

"We knew we had a size advantage in the post tonight and we are very athletic in the post. I wanted us to come into the game tonight and really exploit that advantage. I thought it could open some things up for us and it worked well inside for us tonight and we were able to work inside-out."
- Head coach Coquese Washington

"We want to get after it and pressure on the defensive end and get some transition baskets, some easy baskets."
- Head coach Coquese Washington


What To Look For:

- Penn State enters the matchup riding a seven game winning streak overall and has won 14 straight games on their home floor. The home court winning streak is the sixth longest active streak in the nation and dates back to a 65-75 loss to Michigan State on Jan. 7, 2012. On the flip side of that coin, Wisconsin has lost five of its last six contests after starting the year 7-3.

- Penn State leads the Big Ten in scoring offense, but their best work this season has come on the defensive end. The Lady Lions are holding the opposition to just 57.5 points per game through 15 contests. They have already held opponents to less than 60 points in eight games, doing it just 13 times all of last season, while limiting that output to fewer than 50 points on five occasions, just one shy of their total from 2011-12.

- It will be a test of wills on Thursday night inside the Bryce Jordan Center when the Big Ten's top scoring offense collides with the No. 5 scoring defense. The Lions will look to push the pace and add to their 74.7 points per game total, while the Badgers are allowing just 57.9 points a contest. In conference only games, however, PSU is pouring in 76.3 points, allowing only 60.7, and UW is allowing 62.2 points, scoring just 51.5.


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