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Jan. 6, 2013
EAST LANSING, MICH. - The #9/9 Penn State Lady Lions (12-2, 2-0 Big Ten) shot 51.8% (29-56) from the field and held Michigan State (13-2, 1-1) to just 29.3% (17-58) shooting on the way to a dominating 76-55 win at the Breslin Center Sunday afternoon. Junior guard Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) paced four Lady Lions in double figures with a career-high 18 points.
Taylor, whose previous personal best was 17 points against Clemson on Feb. 14, 2010 while at Maryland, was 7-for-10 from the field with a 3-for-4 effort from three-point range. She also added three rebounds, four assists and three steals. Senior center Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) posted her second double-double of the season and 11th of her career with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
Senior guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) chipped in 13 points and three rebounds, while junior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) added 12 points and three assists and di not play the final 10 minutes due to foul trouble. With her performance, Bentley became the 12th player in school history to surpass the 1,500-point mark (1,505). Senior forward Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) joined the Lady Lions' 500-rebound club with six caroms to bring her Penn State career total to 504.
The Lady Lions got off to a nice start as Nickson made a solid post move for a layup on the opening possession and Greene grabbed a rebound and converted on the putback to give the Lions a 4-0 lead in the first 47 seconds. Lucas capped the 6-0 Penn State run to open the game with a pair of free throws at the 18:46 mark.
The Spartans scored the game's next four points before a three-pointer by Taylor and layup by Bentley stretched the lead to 11-4 with 15 minutes remaining. The squads exchanged scores over the next few minutes until five consecutive tallies by the Spartans closed the gap to five points (15-10) with 10:26 left.
Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) jump-started an 11-0 Lady Lion run that also included five consecutive points from Bentley via a layup and three-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play by Taylor to give the Lions a 26-13 lead less than six minutes to play. Michigan State outscored the Lady Lions by four points down the stretch to send the teams into the break with Penn State leading, 34-25.
After a pair of free throws for Klarissa Bell, Taylor drained a three-pointer and Lucas converted on an old-fashioned three-point play to push the lead to 13 and kick off 18-4 run for Penn State. Greene accounted for five points, Nickson and Bentley added two points each and Lucas capped the run with her first three-pointer of the game to give Penn State a 52-31 lead with 13:23 left.
After a three-pointer by Becca Mills, Greene scored three consecutive points and Bentley knocked down a jumper to make it a 23-point lead (57-34) with just over 10 minutes left. The Spartans scored the game's next five to slice into the lead (57-39) and the squads exchanged scores for the several possessions to make it 62-43 with seven minutes to play.
The Lady Lions kept their foot on the gas as they clicked off a 10-2 run to take a 72-45 lead with less than four minutes to play. However, the Spartans would respond with a 9-0 run of their own to cut the Penn State lead to 72-53 with 1:46 left. Penn State scored four of the final six points of the game for the 76-55 win.
GAME NOTES: The Lady Lions open Big Ten play 2-0 for the first time since the 2004-05 season ... With 12 points, Alex Bentley became the 12th player in school history to surpass the 1,500-point mark (1,505) ... Mia Nickson became the 28th member of the Lady Lions' 500-rebound club with six caroms today, she bring her Penn State career total to 504 ... Nikki Greene posted her second double-double of the season and 11th of her career with 14 points and 10 rebounds ... The Lady Lions snapped a four-game losing streak to the Spartans ... Penn State collected its first win in East Lansing since Jan. 5, 2008 ... Penn State snapped Michigan State's 12-game home court winning streak (the 11th-longest active streak in the NCAA) ... Penn State improves to 25-13 all-time vs. Michigan State ... Dara Taylor posted a career-high 18 points in the win, surpassing her previous mark of 17 vs. Clemson of Feb, 14, 2010 while she was with Maryland.
The Lady Lions return to the BJC to face Nebraska on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. for THON Day and Alumni Day. Fans that donate a hat to THON and get a $5 ticket and for every 10 single-game tickets sold, Penn State Athletics will donate a hat to THON. Additionally, Alumni Association members that present their membership card will get $5 admission. Maggie Lucas, Alex Bentley and Ariel Edwards will be signing autographs postgame. Go to www.GoPSUsports.com/promotions/wbb.html for complete promotions information.
Single game tickets for the Lady Lions are on sale now. Tickets are $15 and $12 for adults and seniors and $9 and $7 for youth (12 and younger). The PNC Flex Books are available again this year for $99. The Flex Book gives fans 12 vouchers, 10 that can be redeemed in any combination for Nittany Lion and Lady Lion Basketball tickets throughout the year and two extra vouchers for the Nittany Lions' Coaches Vs. Cancer game and the Lady Lions' Pink Zone game.
The 2013 Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 24 as the Lady Lions take on Michigan in the Bryce Jordan Center. Last year, the Lady Lions donated a record $203,000 to breast cancer causes. This year's fundraising efforts will benefit the Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Lewistown Hospital. For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.pennsylvaniapinkzone.org.
The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) and the Lady Lions and coaches (@pennstatewbb) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstateladylions.