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Jan. 16, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - Freshman Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) etched her name into the Penn State record books as the Lady Lions (15-4, 4-1) cruised to an 83-62 win over Illinois (7-11, 2-3) Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center. Lucas nailed six three-pointers on the day to up her season total to 66, which breaks Kelly Mazzante's freshman season three-pointers record of 65 triples. As a team, the Lady Lions connected on 60% (12-20) of their shots from deep against the Illini. With the win, Penn State moves into a tie for first place in the Big Ten standings with Michigan State.
Lucas was 8-for-13 from the field, including 6-for-8 from three-point range en route to a game-high 22 points. She also tied her career high with eight rebounds to go with an assist. Junior guard Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) was also stellar from deep going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc to finish with 15 points. She also had three assists and two rebounds.
Sophomore guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) also reached double figures for Penn State with 11 points, eight assists and two steals, while redshirt sophomore Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) added seven points and eight rebounds. Senior guard/forward Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) once again filled the stat sheet with eight points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
The Illini came out strong by scoring nine of the game's first 11 points to take a 9-2 lead five minutes into the game. However, the Lady Lions found their touch from long range and clicked off a 12-0 run over the next two minutes to take a 14-9 lead. Lucas drained two threes and Bentley and Gray added on triple each during the run. Illinois responded by scoring seven of the next nine points to even the score at 16-16 with 11:29 on the clock.
Penn State went on a 10-0 run to establish a 26-16 lead with less than eight minutes to play. Gray had four points during the run and Lucas connected on her third-straight three-pointer, while Bentley and Trogele added two points and one point, respectively. Karisma Penn sparked the Illini by scoring three-straight points, but Gray responded with a three-pointer to neutralize Penn's scoring and make it a 29-19 game with seven minutes left in the half.
Penn scored her fifth-straight point for the Illini to make it an eight-point game, but Trogele hit her 10th three-pointer of the year to start an 8-0 spurt for the Lady Lions, which featured a bucket by Bentley and Lucas' fourth three-pointer of the contest, to give Penn State a 37-21 lead with less than three minutes left in the half.
Following a basket by Amber Moore, the Lady Lions closed the half by scoring the final four points of the half thanks to a layup by Lucas and a pair of free throws from Trogele to send Penn State into the break with a 41-23 lead.
Lucas paced all scorers with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting and a team-best four rebounds, while Gray added 10 points and three assists. The Lady Lions were 8-for-16 from three-point range in the opening half. Penn led Illinois with nine points and eight rebounds.
Just as they did in the first half, Illinois scored first in the second half with a bucket by Eboni Mitchell, but Penn State responded with a baby hook by Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) and five-straight points by Nickson to take a 48-25 lead with 17 minutes to play. After a three-pointer by Amber Moore, Gray nailed a three-pointer and Bentley hit a jumper in the paint to stretch the lead to 25 points (53-28) with 15:43 on the clock.
After back-to-back scores by the Illini cut the lead to 53-32, the Lady Lions went on a 9-3 run that included a three-pointer by Lucas to tie Mazzante's Penn State freshman season three-pointers record with her 65th trey of the year. The run put the Lady Lions ahead 62-35 with 12:21 to play. The Illini fought back with an11-2 spurt of their own to make it an 18-point Lady Lion lead at 64-46 with 8:35 to play.
With 8:09 on the clock, Lucas stopped the Illinois run with her record-breaking 66th three-pointer of the season to pass Mazzante on the Penn State freshman season three-pointers chart. Lucas' triple started a 12-2 Lady Lion run that would put the Penn State lead at 76-48 with 5:35 to play. The Illini would not get any closer than 20 points for the final five minutes.
GAME NOTES: Maggie Lucas breaks Kelly Mazzante's freshman season record for three-point field goals with her 66th triple ... Lucas moved into seventh place on Penn State's season three-pointers Top 10 list with 66 ... Penn State picked up its 10th consecutive home win over the Illini ... The Lady Lions are now 25-14 overall against Illinois, including 15-2 at home ... The win gives the Lions their best Big Ten start since going 7-0 to start the 2004-05 campaign ... Nikki Greene now seventh on Penn State's career blocks list (98) ... The Lady Lions scored 80 or more points for the ninth time this season, marking the most 80-point efforts in a season since 2002-03 ... Lucas surpassed the 300-point plateau with 22 points ... Lucas posted her 10th 20-point game of the season, which ties for the most 20-point games by a freshman since Kelly Mazzante (2000-01) ... Penn State now has 144 three-pointers this season, which is the highest three-point total in a year since the 2003-04 campaign (189) ... The Lady Lions added to their record for games with 10 or more three-pointers in a game with their seventh contest with 10 or more treys ... Penn State's 12 three-pointers is tied for third on Penn State's single-game chart.
The Lady Lions travel to Purdue on Thursday, Jan. 20, before returning to the Jordan Center to host Indiana on Sunday, Jan. 23 at 2 p.m., for a Subway Full Court 4-Pack game. 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.