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Lady Lions Down But Not Out After Road Loss To Nebraska

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By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Maintaining a perfect road record in the Big Ten is no easy feat. Penn State found out just how hard it is last night inside a raucous Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb.

The No. 11/8 Penn State Lady Lions (21-6, 12-3 Big Ten) registered its first conference road loss, 94-74, against the No. 17/16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (21-5, 11-3) and now sit in a three-way tie atop the Big Ten standings.

Ariel Edwards led Penn State by tying a career-high with 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting. She also tied a career-high by converting four three-pointers.

At the half the Lady Lions found themselves trailing, 52-30, but head coach Coquese Washington remained determined when she talked to her team inside the locker room.

"The halftime message was to play better," said Washington. "We needed to do a better job of contesting shots. I thought in the first half they got way to many open looks and uncontested shots. We had a few miscues defensively, and if we can sure those up it would have been a little bit of a different story."

Despite Penn State's efforts, the Cornhuskers were just too hot from the field, especially from beyond the arc. Led by Tear'a Laudermill, who scored 27 points on 7-of-10 shooting from three-point range, Nebraska as a team combined to shot 72.7 percent (16-for-22) from behind the 3-point line.

"I think [this game] is one you have to flush out," said Washington. "It's easily our worst defensive performance of the year. I thought Nebraska played extremely well. I thought they capitalized on opportunities that they had and when they had open shots they made them. They were just clicking on all cylinders tonight."

Maggie Lucas was held scoreless in the first half, but she connected on three three-pointers in the second half to finish with 17 points and move within two made three-point shots of Kelly Mazzante's Big Ten and Penn State's career three-pointers record.

Nebraska was just too quick in transition and too strong shooting from the floor for Penn State to mount a comeback on the road. Even the energy inside Pinnacle Bank Arena made it easy for the Cornhuskers to score and difficult for Penn State to get anything going offensively.

After the game Washington was asked if this is a loss that her team can overcome.

"Absolutely," said Washington. "I just think it's one of those things where you go on the road and you play in a tough environment. We have some really good venues in the Big Ten where people come out to support their teams. Nebraska is one of those venues.

"We've been on the road and we've competed and we've handled our own business on the road. Tonight was a night where Nebraska played an outstanding game. As a coach, when you're on the other side, you're feeling pretty good about all your kids coming through and being focused and executing. You know, it's fun to be on that side."

With the loss the Lady Lions fall into a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten standings, but with a win in their final home game against Michigan on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the BJC, the Blue and White can earn a share of their third straight Big Ten regular season championship.


What to Watch: Penn State at Nebraska

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By Mike Esse, Student Staff Writer

LINCOLN, Neb. - In the only matchup of the season, No. 11/8 Penn State and No. 17/16 Nebraska will clash Monday night in Lincoln with Big Ten regular season title implications on the line.

The Lady Lions currently sit atop the conference standings at 12-2 in conference with the Huskers right behind them at 10-3. Both teams are coming off wins their last time out; Penn State topped Northwestern on Feb. 20, 82-73, and Nebraska dispatched Ohio State in Columbus, 67-59, on Feb. 20.

Pregame Reading

What To Watch For - Penn State

Success Vs. Huskers: Penn State has won its last three contests against Nebraska and is 5-1 all-time against the Huskers. The Lady Lions are also 2-0 in games played in Lincoln. Senior guard Maggie Lucas has followed team success with personal success, averaging 23.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.8 steals in four career matchups with the Huskers.

B1G Road Success: Penn State has won a school best eight straight conference road games dating back to Mar. 3, 2013. Its last Big Ten road loss was at Minnesota on Feb. 28, 2013. The eight-straight road winning streak broke a record of seven that dated back to Jan. 31, 1999 - Jan. 16 2000.

Paint Job: On the stat sheet the Lady Lions most glaring advantage over the Huskers comes in the offensive rebound category. Penn State has 376 offensive rebounds this season, averaging over 14 per game. Nebraska's numbers are much lower at 263 on the season and 10.5 per game. Additionally, Penn State has seen consistent contributions from Talia East and Tori Waldner. Against Northwestern on Feb. 20 Waldner notched a career high 14 points in the win.

What To Watch For - Nebraska

Hooper Can Hoop: Husker senior forward Jordan Hooper will counter Maggie Lucas' scoring prowess on Monday night. Hooper comes into the contest averaging 20.2 points per game on 43.3 percent shooting from the field. Hooper has 13 20-plus point games this season and two 30-plus point games. In her last three outings she has tallied 23, 31 and 24 points and hasn't been lower than 10 points in a game since Jan. 19 vs. Purdue.

Hot Streak: Behind the strong play of Hooper, Nebraska has won its last seven games dating back to Jan. 29. Four of those sevens wins have come in double-digit fashion. In the month of February, the Huskers are on an overall 14-game winning streak. Nebraska has two more February games remaining both at home against Penn State and Illinois.

Recent Home Success: Put Penn State's road success with Nebraska's recent home success and we could be in for a good one Monday night. The Huskers have won their last three home contests by an average of 22.7 points per game and are 14-2 on the season at the new Pinnacle Bank Arena. Their only two home losses came by a combined six points against Purdue and Washington State.



Complete Team Effort Leads Lady Lions Past Wildcats

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 11/9 Penn State Lady Lions worked together as one team to walk away with another victory as they defeated Northwestern, 82-73, with a high level of production from all each players that stepped on the court.

It came as no surprise that senior guard Maggie Lucas continued to make huge contributions for the team as she broke the Penn State career free throw record, completing her 517th successful free throw.

The senior's performance also marked the third consecutive game where she scored 25 or more points, ending the night with 26 points - including seven free throws - to go along with four rebounds, three assists and four steals.

Lucas was able to rely on her teammates to put her in the position to be able to make key shots and add points to the scoreboard.

"I was able to find some holes in their zone [defense] and Dara [Taylor] set me up nicely a couple times," said Lucas. "Tori [Waldner] made a real nice pass to me on that four-point play. My teammates set me up with a lot of catch-and-shoot opportunities, which is something I don't get too often anymore, and I was able to take advantage of that. A couple times I used the shot-fake to get in the lane and then tied to get my teammates some looks, too."

Although Lucas was the leading scorer for the Lady Lions, she wasn't the only one making big plays. Everyone on the court stepped up adding depth and contribution amongst the players.

"We have been getting a lot more production from a lot more people in the last few games," head coach Coquese Washington said. "Tori [Waldner] stepped up and has been more of a factor and Kaliyah [Mitchell] stepped up and has made some big plays for us, so I think just that we are starting to get a little more depth and contribution is helping us fight through this grind of conference play."

Tori Waldner came into the night with a career-best of 11 points, but through aggressive play and accurate shooting, the junior was able to come out with a new career high of 14 points as she went 6-for-11 from the field.

For Waldner, thinking about her timing, slowing down the game, and making sure that she was open instead of shooting as soon as she got the ball contributed to her success on the court.

"We wanted her [Tori] to be more of a threat and I think she's starting to put together some things mentally on the court," Washington said. "She is starting to figure out how she can be more effective and I think she is slowing the game down and not rushing through things. She's not playing too fast, but playing at a pace that allows her to see the game and see what her opportunities are and being impactful that way."

Another player adding to the depth of the team is Ariel Edwards. The senior guard/forward contributed 15 points after making back-to-back three point plays late in the second half to help her gain momentum. She also added six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

It became obvious that Edwards is a versatile player for the Lady Lions as she knocked down shots from the perimeter, attacked the basket, rebounded well, and brought the ball up against the press.

"She might be one of the most underrated players in the conference because she impacts the game in so many ways," Washington said. "She did a little bit of everything for us tonight and we are not in this position without what she's done this season. I tip my hat to her because she has been an impact player for us all season long."

With 12 minutes left in the second half, Northwestern slowly closed the gap to six points before Kaliyah Mitchell scored a layup to help the Lady Lions extend their lead. As the clock continued to wind down, Mitchell faced some tense free throws, but made six consecutive from the line with under one minute left.

"The great thing was Kaliyah shot seven-for-seven from the line and we know teams are going to try and not let Maggie get the ball when its situations like that so we need other people to be able to step up and make free throws and Kaliyah did that tonight."

After four consecutive conference wins, the Lady Lions will look for continued production from every player on the court. They travel to Lincoln, Neb. with some momentum and will be looking to clinch at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title with a victory over the Cornhuskers on Monday, Feb. 24.



GAME BLOG: Lady Lions host Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live in-game coverage on for the No. 11/11 Penn State women's basketball contest against Northwestern on Thursday, Feb. 20 inside the Bryce Jordan Center at 7 p.m.

BLOG: What to Watch  |  BLOG: Taylor Becoming a Scorer in Final Stretch of Senior Season

Be sure to interact with today's blog coverage with questions or comments at the bottom of our widget. Post your photos to Instagram or Twitter and use #PennState or #LadyLions and your photos may be chosen for use on our in-game coverage.



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By Mike Esse, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Two years ago when Dara Taylor stepped on the Penn State campus after transferring from the University of Maryland as a pass-first point guard.

Earlier this season she was still a pass-first point guard. Her coaches had to constantly get on her to be more of a shooter and more aggressive. Even to the point where Taylor had to do push-ups and spend time on an exercise bike as punishment.

"When she passes up shots, I get on her about passing up shots," head coach Coquese Washington said. "If you make them or miss them it doesn't matter. You have to take them. She's a good enough shooter.

"I used to yell at her for passing up shots and if she passed up enough of them I would make her ride the bike or do some push ups or something and said 'if you don't want to shoot then we'll wear out your arms another way.' She'd rather shoot than ride the bike."

Taylor has made that clear over the second half of Big Ten play as she has scored 10 or more points in her last seven games dating back to Jan. 26. Washington credits Taylor's recent aggressiveness and consistency to her understanding of what the team needs.

The senior guard took that to heart and has since been much improved offensively and has seen the team be better off for it as well. A unique bond between Washington and her point guard has allowed Taylor to excel over the past season.

That bond is that they both are point guards and have the mindset of point guard, which Taylor says is the bulk of the reason why her mentality has changed and her play has improved.

"She [Coquese] was a point guard herself so from stepping on campus to now the growth I've had rests a lot on her shoulders," Taylor said. "She's constantly telling me what to look for and the reads to make and I think I've grown in that department based off of her."

Being able to interact with her head coach and ask for advice and criticisms has made Taylor more open to shooting because she now believes is it what her team needs.

"Down the stretch with the games remaining if Coquese needs me to shoot more, score more and be aggressive that's what I have to do for the team," she said. "With coach and my teammates putting that confidence in me I really don't mind taking those shots if that's what the team needs me to do. I'm fine with that."

Washington has commended Taylor's ability to make that change and embrace the role. With three regular season games and postseason play remaining in her Lady Lion career, Taylor has blossomed into the guard Washington wanted her to be when she first arrived on campus.

The key to that, in Washington's eyes, is that she is her own type of point guard. Not a mirror image of previous Lady Lion point guard Alex Bentley, but her own brand with her own type of contributions to the team.

"She's really grown into understanding how to be a point guard here at Penn State and what we want her to do is just play and lead the team," Washington said. "She's done it in a way that is authentic and comfortable for her.

"We still wanted to be an up tempo team and expect the point guard to be the leader of the team and the voice of the team and she has embraced all of those and done a fantastic job of being a leader on the court."

Taylor will have another chance to avoid push-ups or the exercise bike as Penn State faces Northwestern Thursday at 7 p.m. where her coach will be looking for her to, as always, shoot the ball.



What To Watch: Penn State hosts Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On of the toughest tests for No. 11/9 Penn State so far in Big Ten play came on Feb. 2 at Northwester, a 79-75 victory. In that game, the Wildcats (14-11, 4-8) led by four points with three minutes to go, but the Lady Lions (20-5, 11-2) closed the game on a 13-5 run to claim a big road victory.

The Lady Lions will be looking to improve their home court record to 5-2 on the year and continue their success against Wildcats in Happy Valley. Penn State is 32-7 all-time vs. Northwestern - winning eight straight games - and own an 17-1 record at home in the series.

Pregame Reading
What To Watch For - Penn State

Limiting Turnovers: Penn State has taken care of the basketball at home this season, averaging just 12.6 turnovers per game, including just seven in their victory over Wisconsin on Sunday. On the road, however, Penn State is giving the ball away nearly 19 times per game. That was a huge reason why their first meeting with Northwestern was decided by just four points. Penn State turned the ball over 21 times and the Wildcats scored 19 points on those missteps.

First in Freebies: Penn State has attempted more free throws than any other Big Ten team, leading to more made freebies than their conference colleagues. Penn State's 606 attempts from the charity stripe are over 30 more their Iowa's 570 and their 468 makes are over 30 more than Purdue's 430. Penn State is shooting .772 from the free throw line, which ranks third in the Big Ten and 12th nationally.

Just One Left: If you haven't been to the Bryce Jordan Center for a regular season game yet this season, you are running out of time. Though Penn State will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament, they have just one "true" home game left - Senior Day on March 4. There are few senior classes that have left an imprint like this quartet. Talia East, Ariel Edwards, Maggie Lucas and Dara Taylor bleed blue and white, so get your tickets now and, who know, you might even get to see another Big Ten title clinched on the court.

What To Watch For - Northwestern

Freshman Phenom: There are a handful of impact freshman in the Big Ten this season and Northwestern's Nia Coffey is one of them. She ranks among the top-15 in the conference in scoring (15.8), rebounds (7.8), steals (1.8) and blocked shots (2.0). She is among the top eight in points, rebounds and blocks, but missed the first meeting between the two teams due to injury.

B1G Blocks: As mentioned in the "What to Watch" in our previous meeting with Northwestern, the Wildcats can block shots. Northwestern swatted seven Penn State shots in their Feb. 2 meeting and continue to lead the conference with 7.2 blocks per game. That average is nearly 2.5 blocks per game better than the No. 2 team in the conference (Iowa, 4.9) and helps the Wildcats limit opponents to the 3rd lowest field goal percentage (.372).

Taking Care of the Rock: When you have a stout inside presence, you can make teams play out on the perimeter and that can lead to steals. That is something Northwestern does very well. On top of leading the conference in blocks per game, they rank second in the Big Ten with 8.9 steals per game. That helps them force 17.9 turnovers per game - they forced 21 Penn State turnovers in the first meeting - which contributes to their plus-2.36 turnover margin.



Pink Zone Shows Basketball Is More Than A Game

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By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "When life kicks you, let it kick you forward."

Those were the words said by the late, great Kay Yow, former North Carolina State University head women's basketball coach who passed away in 2009 of stage four breast cancer.

9718870.jpegIn her honor, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund was created in 2007 and the WBCA Pink Zone was formed. Now, her fund is one of six beneficiaries of the Pennsylvania Pink Zone.

And even though No. 11/11 Penn State (20-5, 11-2) defeated conference foe Wisconsin (10-15, 3-10), 78-68, on Sunday, Feb. 16 at the Bryce Jordan Center, it was more than just a game of basketball.

Just ask one of the 698 breast cancer survivors in attendance for the Eight Annual Pink Zone at Penn State.

"It is just so neat to have people acknowledge what we've been through," said 18-year breast cancer survivor and State College resident Linda McKean. "Everyone is so supportive of this cause. It's just amazing what they do."

McKean was part of 3,499 years and six months worth of breast cancer survivorship present at the game yesterday, to not only cheer on the Lady Lions, but also to also raise awareness for the disease that gave her the battle of her life 18 years ago.

The entire arena, packed with 12,585 fans, was covered from head to toe in pink. From the 12,000 pink shakers, to the 10,000 pink light up bands, to the pink shirts, to the cheerleaders and dancers' pink pompoms.

There were also pink hats, the Penn State pink-trimmed jerseys with pink shoes, all the way to Penn State head coach Coquese Washington's pink skirt.

The entire Bryce Jordan Center lit up in pink was an extraordinary site for an extraordinary cause.

"It is a phenomenal day for us," said Washington. "There are so many people partner with our program from the community and from within Intercollegiate Athletics for this cause. They give their time and efforts to make this day a special celebration for the survivors.

"Every year we have this opportunity to celebrate people who are battling breast cancer and the courage, the fight and the determination that it takes to do that day-in and day-out. This is our way of honoring them and giving back to them. It means a lot to me."

One in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. At yesterday's game it was announced that after eight years in existence the Pennsylvania Pink Zone had surpassed the $1-million mark in funds raised.

It simply is amazing what a group of determined people can accomplish when they all have a common goal: to find a cure.

"The fight against breast cancer transcends the game," said Wisconsin head coach Bobbie Kelsey. "The game is a way to show them that we really are fighting with them as far as raising money. Penn State does a great job and we try to do our part as well to raise money for breast cancer research. My aunt had breast cancer and she survived. Hopefully, one day there will be a cure and we won't have to play these games."

It was clear that the players understood the meaning of yesterday's contest, too. The game was about more than just winning and losing.

"We love Pink Zone," said Penn State senior forward Talia East. "It is a game where we go out and give our all. Coquese [Washington] talked to us about playing outside of ourselves and playing for all of the survivors and people who are going through treatment that were in the arena. We were just so happy and blessed to be able to play for them."



Lady Lions Thrive in Final Minutes to Seal Win

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By Mike Esse, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was like a switch went off. After No. 11/11 Penn State (20-5, 11-2) allowed Wisconsin (10-15, 3-10) creep back into the game with 4:31 remaining and after seeing the Badgers take a one point lead, the Lady Lions finally had enough.

Taylor-Dara (8).jpegOver the next 90 seconds, Penn State went from down one to up eight points and Maggie Lucas was pumping up the crowd of 12,585 at the 8th Annual Pink Zone game as time wound down and the Lady Lions clinched their fourth consecutive 20-win season.

"It was just crunch time at the end," Lucas said after her 25-point afternoon. "We had to get string together a few [defensive] stops and just try to extend our lead. We know that any team in the Big Ten is capable of beating anybody, so we knew that we had to get a few stops and I thought we played great team defense at the end, which led to that."

Penn State's 20-9 run to close the game was the statistical difference in a game with a handful of momentum swings. Tactically, Coquese Washington's squad simply outplayed Wisconsin when it mattered most.

The Lady Lions were 6-for-7 from the field and 8-for-10 from the field over the final 4:31 while allowing just nine Wisconsin points in that same time period.

Offensively, the final 20 points came from five different players as Lucas, Talia East, Ariel Edwards, Talia Mitchell and Dara Taylor all contributed. It was an encouraging sequence for Penn State as it gives them confidence that any one can be a part of clinching a victory.

Mitchell's bucket with 46 seconds to go put Penn State up seven and was noted after the game by her teammates. Shots like that are what Edwards believes makes the Lady Lions more of a complete team.

"It is just great having so many players out there that can score and we can count on them in any situation and they can be successful," Edwards said. "That was a great shot by Kaliyah [Mitchell] that put us in a good position in the game.

"Moving forward the games are not going to get any easier. The Big Ten is tough and then [postseason] play will be even tougher, so knowing that we have our freshmen that can step up and contribute is going to be great for us."

Multiple scorers didn't only occur in the latter part of the game, though. Penn State finished with four players in double figures and six with seven or more points causing Wisconsin to have to worry about much more than Lucas, Penn State's leading scorer.

However, Washington said postgame that the offensive outburst in the final five minutes doesn't occur with out their improved defensive play.

Washington made a switch to go into a zone defensive scheme in the second half because of foul trouble on multiple players, but it was that switch that allowed Penn State to play more aggressive defense and force Wisconsin to make mistakes.

Penn State took advantage of missed shots and turnovers and in turn went on the game-clinching scoring run.

"Our rhythm defensively really helped us," Washington said. "We got some big stops down the stretch and that provided us the confidence that we needed and we transfer that to the other end of the floor."

Penn State will return to the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday when they host Northwestern at 7 p.m. The Lady Lions are in control of the Big Ten race, just one and one-half games up on No. 21/19 Nebraska and No. 25/NR Michigan State with three games to play.



Game Blog: Lady Lions host Wisconsin

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live in-game coverage on for the No. 11/11 Penn State women's basketball contest against Wisconsin on Sunday, Feb. 16 inside the Bryce Jordan Center at 1 p.m. Today is the 8th Annual Pink Zone game. 

BLOG: What to Watch  |  BLOG: Record Setting Night for Lucas in Win

Be sure to interact with today's blog coverage with questions or comments at the bottom of our widget. Post your photos to Instagram or Twitter and use #PennState or #LadyLions and your photos may be chosen for use on our in-game coverage.


What To Watch: Penn State vs. Wisconsin

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By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 11/11 Penn State women's basketball team (19-5, 10-2) returns home Sunday afternoon to tip off at the Bryce Jordan Center at 1 p.m. versus conference foe Wisconsin (10-14, 3-9). The Lady Lions have compiled a home record of 9-4 this season, including a 3-2 home record in Big Ten play.

The 3-2 mark at home is not what the Lady Lions want, but they have exhibited dominance away from home this Big Ten this season. The Lady Lions are a perfect 7-0 on the road in conference play, including two road wins at Ohio State and Indiana this past week.

This is the first and only meeting between Penn State and Wisconsin. Last season these two teams faced each other twice, with each team winning on their respective home courts. Penn State holds an all-time record of 28-11 over Wisconsin, with the Lady Lions winning the last two meetings played at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Fans, make sure to wear the color pink to support the Pennsylvania Pink Zone and their fight against breast cancer.

Pregame Reading
What To Watch For - Penn State

Offensive Attack: Penn State has won eight of its last 10 matchups due to a continued stress on the defensive side of the ball. However, it is the Blue and White's offensive output that has pushed them to victory as of late. The Lady Lions have scored at least 70 points in each of their past six games, winning five of those contests. Penn State ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 75.3 points per game. Coquese Washington's squad will look to continue its offensive fire against Wisconsin, who ranks last in scoring offense in the conference, averaging just 65.4 points a contest.

Legendary Lucas: After corralling two rebounds in the first half against Indiana on Thursday, Maggie Lucas reached the 500 rebound milestone, becoming the first player in program history and sixth in Big Ten history to register 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists and 200 steals. Following her 32-point performance versus the Hoosiers, Lucas eclipsed the 500-point mark for the season, becoming just the third player in Penn State history to score at least 500 points in each of her four seasons.

Crashing The Boards: All season long, opponents have fought hard to get position in the paint, but Penn State continues to assert its rebounding dominance within the conference. The Lady Lions rank number one in the Big Ten in rebounding on both sides of the ball, averaging 14.6 offensive boards and 31.1 defensive boards per game. Senior forward Talia East leads the team with 8.3 rebounds per conference game. As a team, Penn State is outrebounding the opposition by an average of 7.8 rebounds per contest.

What To Watch For - Wisconsin

Jumping With Johnson: The Badgers may be second-to-last in the Big Ten, but junior Michala Johnson has provided Wisconsin with consistent offensive play this season. Johnson is averaging 16.4 points and seven rebounds per game this season to pace the Badgers. Her 16.4 points per game is good enough for sixth in the Big Ten for individual scoring.

Competitive Mindset: Despite this being the first and only matchup between these two teams this season, Wisconsin faced the Lady Lions twice last season. After a lopsided 84-40 loss at the Bryce Jordan Center last year, the Badgers adjusted accordingly to upset the Lady Lions 63-61 in their second matchup. Head coach Bobbie Kelsey has experience regarding what it takes to beat a team as talented as Penn State. Coming into Happy Valley with a competitive mindset will certainly help the Badgers in their attempt to upset the Lady Lions.

From Way Downtown: The Badgers are averaging 6.3 three-pointers per game. Compare that to Penn State, which is averaging just 3.5 three-pointers per game, and Wisconsin has the clear advantage. Jacki Gulczynski is converting on 45.9 percent (17-for-37) of her shots from downtown to lead the Badgers.