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Jan. 21, 2013
ANN ARBOR, MICH. - The #8/8 Penn State Lady Lions (15-2, 5-0 Big Ten) used a late 12-0 run to secure a 59-49 win over the #23/RV Michigan Wolverines (15-3, 4-1) Monday night to take sole possession of first place in the Big Ten and secure their spot as the lone unbeaten team in Big Ten play (men or women). With the win, the Lady Lions extended their winning streak to nine games and snapped Michigan's streak at 10-straight wins. Penn State improves to 15-2 on the season, the best start since the 1999-00 squad started 16-2.
Junior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) connected on a trio of threes en route to 19 points with four rebounds and a steal, while Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) chipped in 16 points with a pair of rebounds, three assists and a game-best five steals. Senior center Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) posted her fourth consecutive double digit rebounding performance with 11 caroms to go with eight points and three blocks. Fellow senior Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) contributed seven points, including two key buckets in PSU's 12-3 run to end the game. Nickson also had four rebounds, a block and two steals
In the first minute and a half, the Wolverines jumped out to the early 5-0 lead on a layup by Nya Jordan and three-pointer by Kate Thompson before Greene got the Lady Lions on the board with rebound and layup. Following another triple for Thompson, Nickson kick-started a 15-0 run with an old-fashioned three-point play. During the run, Lucas had five points, Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) had a three-point play and Bentley and Greene each added two points to give Penn State a 17-8 lead with 13:49 left in the first.
After an exchange of scores, the Wolverines went on a 13-5 run to close within one point (24-23) with 5:22 left, but Penn State responded with two freebies by Maggie Lucas and a 15-footer by Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) to push the lead back to five points (28-23) with 4:50 on the clock. Both teams struggled over the next few minutes until back-to-back jumpers by Bentley closed out the 8-0 run and gave the Lady Lions a 32-23 lead. Michigan capped the scoring in the first half with one free throw to send Penn State into the break with a 32-24 lead.
The Lady Lions came out sloppy to open the second half and the Wolverines clicked of an 8-0 run to even the game at 32-32 with 16:22 to play. Taylor got the Lions on the board in the second half with a steal and layup, but Thompson responded with her third three of the game to give Michigan the 35-34 lead with 14:39 to play. A Greene layup, combined with a pair of free throws by Lucas and a Bentley layup pushed Penn State ahead by five (40-35) with 12:32 to play. After two Rachel Sheffer free throws, Lucas drained a step-back three-pointer to push the lead to 43-37 with 11:38 on the clock.
The Wolverines scored six of the game's next eight points with the lone PSU scoring coming on a rebound and coast-to-coast layup by Bentley to slice the Penn State lead to 45-43 with just over eight minutes left. After a Bentley layup, Michigan scored three points off of free throws to cut the Lady Lion lead to 47-46 with seven minutes left.
Gizelle Studevent (La Jolla, Calif.) was a spark off the bench as she connected on a jumper with 6:51 left to jump-start a 12-3 run to end the game. Nickson had back-to-back baskets and Bentley sandwiched two buckets around a pair of Lucas free throws to give the Lions a 59-46 lead with 1:50 remaining. Sheffer capped the game's scoring with a three-point play with 56 seconds left to give PSU the 10-point win.
GAME NOTES: Penn State improves to 29-9 all-time vs. Michigan and extends its winning streak to five games against the Wolverines ... The Lady Lions improve to 15-5 in games in Ann Arbor ... The Lady Lions are riding a nine-game winning streak, tied for the 10th longest streak in school history ... Penn State improves to 5-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2004-05 ... With a 15-2 start, Penn State is off to its best start since the 1999-00 season, when that team started 16-2 ... Penn State has won its last 12 conference games, dating back to last season. It is the longest conference winning streak since the Lions won 12-straight over the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons ... With 19 points tonight, Maggie Lucas passed Vicki Link for 12th all-time on the school scoring list with 1,530 career points ... With three three-pointers, Lucas passed Wisconsin's Jolene Anderson for fifth all-time on the Big Ten three-point field goals list with 249 ... Mia Nickson tallied her 700th career point in a Penn State uniform ... Nickson moved into 27th place on Penn State's career rebounding list (524), passing Adrie DeVries ... Nikki Greene has put together double-digit rebounding performances in four-straight games.
The Lady Lions return home to meet Minnesota on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Fans can get their second of five senior wind-up walkers at the gates. The Minnesota game is also Penn State Faculty/Staff night where PSU faculty and staff can get a buy one, get one free ticket offer. Additionally, it will be AT&T Night and AT&T customers that show their bill or cell phone will get a buy one, get one free ticket offer. 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.