Lady Lions Rally to Defeat Minnesota, 58-54
Jan. 13, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Penn State Lady Lions (14-4, 3-1) used a 22-7 run to erase an 11-point second-half deficit on the way to a 58-54 win over Minnesota (8-10, 0-5) at the Bryce Jordan Center Thursday night. Despite 20 points from freshman guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.), the Lady Lions were held to their lowest scoring output of the season, which is 25 points below their season average.
Lucas was 4-for-5 from three-point range in the second half on the way to her contest-best 20 points, three rebounds and three assists. Lucas is now tied for sixth on Penn State's single-season three-pointers list with 60 treys this season. She is also five three-pointers away from tying Kelly Mazzante's Penn State freshman three-pointers record.
Redshirt sophomore Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) posted her second career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, including five caroms on the offensive glass. Sophomore Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) added six points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals, while senior Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) added four points, five rebounds and three steals.
It was slow-going to start with the Golden Gophers establishing a 6-4 lead four minutes into the game, but the Lady Lions fired back with back-to-back three-pointers by Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) and Lucas to take a 10-6 advantage with 14:17 left in the half. Minnesota scored the game's next four points to even the score at 10-10 at the second media timeout.
Penn State bounced back with a layup from Bentley to start an 8-2 spurt that featured two free throws from Renee Womack (Lansdale, Pa.) and Lucas and a layup from Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) to take an 18-12 lead with less than seven minutes remaining. However, the Golden Gophers would respond with a 14-3 run to take a 26-21 lead with 37 seconds remaining. Penn State capped the scoring in the first half with a three-pointer by Gizelle Studevent (La Jolla, Calif.) to make it a 26-24 game heading into the break.
Lucas had a team-high six points with two rebounds, while Nickson added four points and six rebounds. Studevent added five points in the opening frame. Katie Loberg led all scorers with 10 points.
The Gophers continued their strong play to start the second half by scoring the period's first nine points to take a 35-26 lead with less than 16 minutes to play. Bentley broke the Lions' scoreless streak with a jumper to start an 8-0 run. Nickson converted on a three-point play and Lucas nailed a three-pointer in transition off of a feed from Bentley to make it a one-possession game at 35-32 with 14 minutes left.
With Minnesota leading 42-37 with less than 11 minutes left, the Lady Lions got a spark from their rookie. Lucas kicked off a Penn State run with a jumper and a three-pointer off of a behind the back pass from Bentley. Gray, Nickson and Trogele each scored buckets for the Lions and Lucas capped the run with a three-pointer in transition to make it a 51-44 Penn State lead with 5:55 remaining.
Minnesota would not go quietly with four-straight points to cut the Penn State lead to three points (51-48) with less than four minutes on the clock. However, the Lady Lions responded with a jumper by Bentley and a three-pointer by Lucas that brought the Jordan Center crowd to their feet to make it an eight-point lead (56-48) with 2:19 left. The Golden Gophers scored the game's next six points to pull within two points (56-54) with 15 seconds left. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Gray was fouled and drained both free throws to give Penn State the 58-54 win as the Gophers did not get a shot off in the final 14 seconds.
GAME NOTES: Penn State posted its lowest points this season (58) ... The win is Penn State's first home win over Minnesota since Feb 15th, 2007 ... The Lady Lions improve to 22-11 all time vs. Minnesota ... Freshman guard Maggie Lucas moved into a tie for eighth place on Penn State's single-season three-pointers list with 60 ... Lucas is five three-pointers away from tying Kelly Mazzante's record of most three-pointers by a freshman (65) ... Lucas posted her ninth 20-point game of season ... Sophomore center Nikki Greene is now tied for seventh on the PSU career blocks list with 94 ... Redshirt sophomore Mia Nickson posted the second double-double of her career with 12 points and 11 rebounds ... The last time PSU started the Big Ten season 3-1 was during the 2007-08 season.
The Lady Lions wrap up a two-game homestand against Illinois on Sunday on a game that will be televised on ESPN2. Sunday is SAAB THON Day where all $5 from student tickets will go to 2011 THON. Additionally, fans will receive a "We Are Penn State" t-shirt while supplies last. 2010-11 Lady Lion Basketball Single-game tickets are available by calling 814-863-1000 or 800-NITTANY. The PNC Flex Books are available again this year for $99. The Flex Book gives fans 12 vouchers, including one for the Coaches vs. Cancer game and one for the Pink Zone game, that can be redeemed for Nittany Lion and Lady Lion Basketball tickets in any combination.
The 2011 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 27 at noon as the Lady Lions take on Northwestern in the Bryce Jordan Center. The game can be seen on the Big Ten Network. Last year, the Lady Lions donated more than $80,000 for 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 and J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital. For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.gopsusports.com/pinkzone. The WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pinkzoneatpennstate.
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.