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Jan. 13, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The #8/8 Penn State Lady Lions (13-2, 3-0 Big Ten) earned its second consecutive 20-point victory over a Big Ten opponent as they knocked off the RV/#23 Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-5, 2-2) on Sunday afternoon in front of 6,098 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State has knocked off two-straight Big Ten teams by 20 or more points for the first time since 2005, when it accomplished that feat against Wisconsin (76-43; 2/17/05) and Northwestern (83-56; 2/20/05).
Junior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) became the 13th Lady Lion to hit the 1,500-point plateau, as she chipped in 19 tallies to go along with three steals, two rebounds and two assists. Senior Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) also added 19 points, with three of those coming on a half-court buzzer beater to close out the first half. The point guard also added five steals, five rebounds and one assist in 32 minutes of action.
Penn State's posts were strong on the boards, as seniors Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) and Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) grabbed 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively. Greene also added nine points to the scoresheet, while Nickson recorded seven. Junior Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) was a spark off of the bench with 15 points and six rebounds. Junior point guard Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) also continued her strong play in the Lady Lion backcourt, scoring seven points to go along with a season-high eight assists and three steals.
The Cornhuskers got off to a good start, as Rachel Theriot opened the scoring with a deep three-pointer as the shot clock expired. Emily Cady gave Nebraska a 5-0 lead on a layup, but Bentley answered back with a three at the 17:27 mark. Following a Jordan Hooper field goal, Bentley scored on a baseline jumper to make it 7-5 in favor of Nebraska. A Cady three-pointer gave the Cornhuskers a 10-5 lead heading into the first media timeout.
The Lady Lions got back on track with an 8-1 run, while holding Nebraska without a field goal for the next 7:20. Lucas started the run with her first three-pointer of the game at the 15:17 mark. After Hooper made one of two from the charity stripe, Lucas answered with another catch-and-shoot three to tie the game up at 11. Nickson made two free throws to give the Lady Lions their first lead at 13-11. Cady snapped the run with a three-pointer with 8:48 to go in the half. Edwards went on to score off a steal to give Penn State a 15-14 advantage heading into the media timeout at 7:46.
Following two free throws by Cady, Penn State scored the game's next nine points thank to a layup by Greene, a Lucas transition three, an Edwards layup and Taylor score off an in-bounds steal to make it a 24-16 lead with 5:34 left. After an exchange of scores, Lindsey Moore hit a three and Tear'a Laudermill cut the Lady Lion lead to three (26-23) with a layup with 3:20 left.
Penn State would respond with a 9-0 run in a 55-second span that featured a three-pointer by Bentley, one free throw by Lucas, a rebound and layup by Greene and a three-pointer by Edwards to give PSU a 12 point lead (35-23) at the 2:09 mark. However, the Huskers answered with four points of their own to close within eight (35-27) with 44 seconds left. The Lady Lions closed the half with five quick tallies on a Lucas turnaround jumper with 12 seconds to go and then with 2.5 seconds, Bentley stole the ball from Theriot and drained a half-court shot as time expired to give Penn State a 40-27 lead going into the locker room.
The Lady Lions opened the second half with a 9-2 run, with the red-hot Bentley starting things off with a field goal at 19:24. Greene followed with a tip-in off her own rebound to increase the Penn State lead to 44-27. After Moore scored for Nebraska, Lucas drained her fourth three of the game and Bentley hit a jumper in the paint to force a Nebraska timeout at the 17:50 mark with the Lions leading by 20 (49-29)\.
Following a Cady field goal at the 16:54 mark, Edwards and Greene combined for six fast-break points in a 43-second span to give Penn State a 55-31 advantage. Laudermill countered with a field goal, but a Taylor jumper in the lane and two Lucas free throws increased the lead to 26 (59-33). The Cornhuskers answered with a 6-0 run, but Edwards made two free throws to put the Lady Lions up 61-39 lead heading into the 12-minute media timeout.
Coming out of the media timeout, Penn State and Nebraska would exchange baskets on the next four possessions to make the score 66-43 in favor of the Lady Lions. Despite Nebraska scoring the next five points to cut the lead to 18 (66-48), an Edwards drive to the basket and Taylor made free throw put Penn State back up 69-48 with 8:28 remaining.
Coming out of the media timeout leading 69-50, Penn State would score the next six points on two Bentley jumpers in the paint and a pair of made free throws by Lucas to give her 1,500 points in her Lady Lion career. A successful Greene free throw and a Theriot jumper made the score 76-52 with 4:21 to go. From there, Nebraska would outscore Penn State 6-4 to close out the game for the 80-58 win.
GAME NOTES: Penn State improves to 4-1 all-time against Nebraska ... Penn State opens Big Ten play 3-0 for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign ... For the first time since the 2004-05 season, the Lady Lions have beaten a Big Ten opponent by 20-plus points in consecutive games since topping Wisconsin (76-43; 2/17/05) and Northwestern (83-56; 2/20/05) ... The Lady Lions' homecourt winning streak is now 14 games, which is tied for the sixth-longest active streak in the nation ... With 19 points, Alex Bentley (1,525) passed Vicki Link (1,514) for 11th on Penn State's career scoring list. Bentley passed Link ... With 19 points, Maggie Lucas became the 13th player in Lady Lion history to score 1,500 career points ... With four three-pointers, Lucas moved into a tie for sixth on the Big Ten's career three-pointers chart with Northwestern's Michele Ratay (244) ... Dara Taylor tied her season-high mark of eight assists. She also had eight assists against NJIT ... Ariel Edwards tied her season high with six rebounds (Lafayette and South Dakota St.).
The Lady Lions remain home to face Wisconsin Thursday at 7 p.m. It's a Dollar Dog Night at the BJC. Additionally, Thursday marks the start of our wind-up walker series. Fans will get the first of the five senior class wind-up walker with the Marisa Wolfe walker giveaway at the gate (first 2,000 fans). 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.