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Three Point Play: Season Ending Road Trip Starts at Minnesota

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State played their final home game last Sunday and claimed a victory over Michigan, but now the Lady Lions must focuses on closing out the regular season on the road. A contest at Minnesota will open the season-ending two-game road swing and presents an opportunity to lock up their second straight outright Big Ten championship.

Assistant coach Fred Chmiel gives us a quick scouting report, junior Maggie Lucas talks about the second meeting with Minnesota, and we've added a three-point play's worth of notes that are included below.

Two Lions on Drysdale Watch List: Senior Alex Bentley and junior Maggie Lucas are connected in many ways as members of the Lady Lions program and on Wednesday when the USBWA announced the Ann Meyers Drysdale Midseason Watch List they were linked once again.

Bentley and Lucas make Penn State one of four teams with multiple players on the list; along with Connecticut's three players and Baylor, Duke and Maryland each having two players on the list. The duo is the only set of guards on the list from the same program and proves that the Lady Lions continue to produce quality players from the guard position.

The duo is also on the Wade Watch List, Naismith Early Season Watch List and the Wooden Award Top 20 and has the opportunity to make Penn State the only school with two first team All-Big Ten performers at seasons end. Lucas leads the team in scoring at 19.9 points per game and adds 4.5 rebounds per contest, while Bentley pours in 13.8 points, 3.7 assists, 3.7 steals and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Scoring on Display: I have watched every team in the Big Ten play this season and in my opinion there are not two better scorers in the conference than our very own Maggie Lucas and Minnesota's Rachel Banham. If you like scoring, tune into the BTN at 9 p.m. on Thursday, you won't be disappointed.

Outside of the numbers, Lucas' 19.1 points per game and Banham's 21.2 points per contest, these are two of the best pure shooters in the conference. Lucas has expanded her game this season and is generating her own offense and making plays all over the court. She has trimmed down her three point attempts each season on campus and has 13 20-point games this season.

Banham is one of the best scorers in the conference and Minnesota knows it. The sophomore has taken 200 more shots than any other Gophers player - hitting 44 percent of them - and leads the team and the Big Ten with 21.2 points per game. She is the only Big Ten players to make more than 200 field goals this season and is shooting nearly 90 percent from the free throw line, while pouring in 20 points 14 times this season and eclipsing the 30 point mark five times.

Taking Their Show on the Road: Penn State played their final home game on Feb. 24 and will play the remainder of their games away from the friendly confines of the Bryce Jordan Center. That prospect could frighten most schools, but the Lady Lions have been road tested this season.

Penn State has logged some serious frequent flier miles since August and will have traveled nearly 32,000 miles when they arrive back from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. With two scheduled trips still on the ledger, the Lions, who are not animals known to be the flying kind, will have spread their wings for over 35,000 miles.

During that stretch, PSU has taken a goodwill trip to Europe, snapped Texas A&M's 58 game non-conference home court winning streak, won the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Tournament title and boast a 5-1 mark on the road in the Big Ten. Trips to play No. 2 UConn, Miami (Fla.) and Virginia Tech were also on the schedule to give Penn State the No. 5 RPI and No. 15 strength of schedule entering the weekend.

Follow's Greg Campbell on Twitter @SID_Greg


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