UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There is always a target on your back when you are the top team in the conference standings and the target gets even bigger when you are the defending champion. The Lady Lions know that, but don't mind the target, and will look to take back sole possession of first place on Monday against No. 14 Purdue at home.
Assistant coach Fred Chmiel gives us a quick scouting report and we've added a three-point play's worth of notes are included below.
Second Showdown Comes Inside BJC: It will have been just 14 days since the Lady Lions headed to Ann Arbor, Mich. to face Michigan in a showdown of the only two undefeated teams in the Big Ten. Now, when Penn State steps on the floor vs. Purdue on Monday, it will be the only two one-loss teams atop the Big Ten standings that meet.
Purdue enters with the most wins in the Big Ten Conference and is 18-3 overall, while Penn State is 17-3 overall this season. Both teams own a 7-1 record in conference play, but the Boilermakers enter with the longest winning streak in the Big Ten at three games, after Wisconsin snapped the Lady Lions 11-game winning streak on Jan. 31.
Lions Must Reach Boil Quickly vs. Purdue: The Lady Lions cannot afford a slow start vs. Purdue and needs to make the Boilermakers play their style of basketball from the opening tip. At Wisconsin, Penn State was unable to really get out in the open court, scoring just eight points on the fast break, which is tied for their second lowest total of the season.
The Lady Lions are just 4-3 in games in which they have eight or less fast break points, with two of those wins coming against South Dakota State and Northwestern in contests that they had to rally late to win. Penn State is at their best when they are running the floor and finding easy baskets, but have the shooters to be successful in the half court game, as well.
Bentley and Lucas Climbing Charts Together: Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas have been one heck of a tandem since they teamed up three seasons ago and the duo currently sits tied for tenth on the Penn State scoring charts.
Bentley has tallied her 1,592 points in 119 games and Lucas has poured in her 1,592 points in 88 games. Lucas has been a bigger threat from deep while Bentley is just the second player in school history with 1,500 points, 500 assists and 250 steals. Lucas has 256 three-point field goals and shoots a cool 88 percent from the free throw stripe, while Bentley has added 530 assists, 344 rebounds and 292 steals to her point total.