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In Game Blog: Women's Basketball at LSU - NCAA Tournament

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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 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, so check back often as the postseason progresses.

Penn State (26-6) was unable to shake shorthanded LSU (22-11) in their second round contest at the Pete Maravich Center on the Louisiana State campus. Take a quick look at how the back-and-forth affair unfolded between the two teams and eventually ended with the Lady Lions on the wrong end of the 71-66 affair.

PHOTO BLOG - Images from LSU game day at the NCAA Tournament

NCAA TOURNAMENT HEADQUARTERS - Photos, video and analysis on the Lady Lions

Today's Game Preview in 140 Characters: Another trip 2 Sweet 16 runs through LSU. #PennState must establish tempo early, contest versatile Plaisance, keep LSU D off balance & rebound

First Five on the Floor (Starting lineups)
Lady Lions -
G- Bentley, G- Lucas, G- Taylor, F- Nickson, C- Greene
Lady Tigers- G- Ballard, G- Lutley, G- Webb, F- Plaisance, C- McKinney

1st Half: 15:14 - No. 8/8 Penn State 9, LSU 7
LSU came out riding the momentum from a very vocal crowd to grab an early 5-0 lead, but  Penn State weathered the storm and lead by two thanks to three baskets in the early going for Alex Bentley. The Tiger are going to be without guard Jeanne Kenney tonight, who collided with a teammate late in the Green Bay victory and had to be carried off the court, so the LSU bench has only two players on it. Penn State has been playing a fast, up-and-down pace and will need to continue to push the ball against a very good matchup zone.

1st Half: 11:28 - No. 8/8 Penn State 12, LSU 15
LSU has figured out the pace of this game, but Penn State has been moving a little too fast and seem a little frustrated with the style of play right now. The Lady Tigers are really coming at the Lady Lions, forcing four early turnovers and a host of rushed shots. LSU, who shot just 27 percent from three point territory this season, hit nine three points vs. Green Bay and have knocked down two already tonight. Bentley had the three early baskets, but nothing since then, and Maggie Lucas has yet to get a shot off. Both of those things need to change if PSU is going to stay in this game.

1st Half: 7:27 - No. 8/8 Penn State 21, LSU 26
Penn State is getting beat at its own game right now. LSU is pushing the Lady Lions around with PSU has possession and they are creating turnovers and tuning them into easy baskets. As I asked in my previous paragraph, Bentley hit her second three pointer of the night and Lucas is on the board with a pair of free throws, but it is still a long road for the Lady Lions in this one and LSU has Uncle Mo on their side right now, shooting 58 percent from the floor with 12 points in the paint. Nikki Greene will be at the line shooting two coming out of the break.

1st Half: 3:47 - No. 8/8 Penn State 35, LSU 33
Trailing by eight points with 10:28 to go in the half, Penn State looked like they were completely out of sync, but Bentley and Dara Taylor have turned up the pressure defensively and forced a couple of  turnovers that has led to some easy baskets. The Lady Lions have started to find a little bit of flow on the offensive side. There has been a lot of contact and a few bodies have hit the floor. Penn State has three players with two fouls (Bentley, Edwards and Waldner), while LSU has only Bianca Lutley with two.

End of 1st Half - No. 8/8 Penn State 42, LSU 35
Alex Bentley and Nikki Greene have carried the offensive load for the Lady Lions in the first half, scoring  over half of the team's points in the opening 20 minutes. Bentley has 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting with two assists and three rebounds, while Greene was 3-for-4 from the field and hit all four of her free throws to account for 10 points.

It didn't seem like LSU had a lot of gas in the tank as the half wore on, but Penn State wasn't pressing the issue on the defensive end due to some pseudo foul trouble. Bentley, Ariel Edwards, Mia Nickson and Tori Waldner all had two fouls in the opening half.

LSU shot 50 percent and Penn State connected on 51 percent of their shots during the first 20 minutes and each team ended the half with seven assists. Penn State holds a slight edge on the boards (15-14), turned the ball over two fewer times (7-9) and had two more steals (6-4).

The Lady Lions closed the half with a 21-9 run to stretch their lead to seven points heading into the break. When leading at the half, Penn State is 20-2 on the season. The Lions let a four point lead slip away at Wisconsin during the regular season and led by two points vs. Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals at the half.

2nd Half: 17:05 - No. 8/8 Penn State 42, LSU 43
Penn State has three turnovers already in the second half and LSU has made them pay with an 8-0 run to open the second half and recaptured the lead for the first time since the 4:37 mark of the first half. After making the adjustment to the physicality of LSU in the first half, the Tigers have raddled the Lady Lions cage again here to open the second half. PSU will need to get back to the fast pace of play and try to ware down the shorthanded LSU squad.

2nd Half: 11:51 - No. 8/8 Penn State 52, LSU 55
LSU's senior duo of Adrienne Webb and Biana Lutley have put the roster of just seven on their shoulders and are carrying the Tigers towards the upset. Webb has 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting, while Lutley is 5-of-8 from the field and has 12 points. Maggie Lucas has one field goal already in the second half, after hitting just one in the opening 20 minutes, but it has been Ariel Edwards providing the offensive spark early in the second with six of the team's 10 points. LSU is shooting 81 percent from the field so far this half, compared to just 33 percent for PSU.

2nd Half: 7:56 - No. 8/8 Penn State 58, LSU 55
There hasn't really been one player you can point to that has carried the Lady Lions against LSU, it has just been a team effort and they will need that to continue down the stretch if they want to win this game. Nikki Greene already has a double-double with 14 points and 14 huge rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. Dara Taylor is doing a nice job on the offensive side of the ball and is keeping the game at a steady Lady Lions pace. Webb continues to hound Maggie Lucas, who is just 2-for-7 from the field in the game, and Lucas hasn't had an open look really this half.

2nd Half: 3:29 - No. 8/8 Penn State 62, LSU 60
Folks if you are just reading what I am writing, you need to find a TV with ESPN2, ASAP. This game is going to be a Maalox Masher coming down the stretch. LSU and Penn State have been trading punches - figuratively - the entire game and it doesn't seem that either team is going to give an inch to the other. The Tigers are shooting a tad better than PSU from the floor, 45 percent to 34 percent in the second half, and Penn State has yet to connect on a three pointer this half.

The LSU faithful is trying to cheer their team to the finish line, but will Lucas, Bentley and the rest of the Lady Lions be able to grab their second win in front of a hostile crowd? Tune in and watch, but keep reading, as well.

FINAL - No. 8/8 Penn State 66, LSU 71
It was all that I thought it would be inside the PMAC. I knew that LSU would play inspired in front of their home crowd, but with a short bench I was not sure if they would be able to keep up with the Lady Lions for a full 40 minutes. Well, they proved me wrong.

After Penn State built a five point lead, 60-55, with 7:54 to play, LSU proceeded to close the game on a 16-6 run behind the efforts of Lutley and Webb. The pair of LSU guards combined for 47 of the team's 71 points, and were the only two LSU players in double figures.

It seemed like each time that LSU needed a hoop they got it, followed by an eruption from the 3,055 fans in the stands, and the Lady Lions just couldn't find a rhythm in the second half on either end.

Maggie Lucas ended the game with just nine points on 2-of-10 shooting and was locked up by Webb for most of the night.  Greene made her last game in the blue and white count with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Bentley netted 14 points in her last game at PSU. Ariel Edwards had 10 of her 13 points in the second half.


What To Look For:

Penn State has enjoyed the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament since first grabbing the seed in the 1985 bracket. In their fifth trip to the national tournament as the third seed, Penn State has advanced to the Regional Semifinals in three of those appearances. Prior to 2013, the Lady Lions earned the seed in 1985, '86, '92 and '93  tournament, with their only early bow-out coming in 1993  with a loss to Georgetown in University Park, Pa.

- The Lady Lions will be looking to do something that doesn't often happen in college basketball; beat the same team in the NCAA Tournament twice. Making it even rarer, they will be trying to accomplish that task in consecutive years in the same round. Last season, Penn State grabbed a 90-80 victory in Baton Rouge to punch their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen and a date with Connecticut. This season Penn State or LSU will advance to meet Cal in the Spokane, Wash. on March 30.

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