Lady Lions Down Illinois in Fourth Annual WBCA Pink Zone, 70-66
Jan. 24, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Penn State Lady Lions (15-4, 7-2) used the emotion of the 8,471 fans and 285 breast cancer survivors in the crowd to hold off a late Illinois (11-8, 3-6) charge for a 70-66 win in the Fourth Annual WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday. The preliminary fundraising total for the Fourth Annual WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State is $66,446.24 for the four Pink Zone charities (Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund) with a few outstanding fundraising efforts still ongoing.
The win is the sixth-straight for the Lady Lions and gives Penn State seven wins in Big Ten play, which is the highest win total since the 2006-07 squad was 7-9 in Big Ten action. The Lady Lions moved the ball well against the Illini, tallying 19 assists on 23 baskets.
Freshman Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) had a career-high 19 points to go along with five rebounds, six assists, two blocks and two steals in the best all-around performance of her career. Senior Tyra Grant (Youngstown, Ohio) also reached double figures for Penn State with 15 tallies, a career-best nine assists, five rebounds and a steal, while freshman Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.
The Lady Lions jumped out to a three-point lead (5-2) a minute and half into the game and would hold that lead until a 7-0 run for Illinois put the Illini ahead 13-8 at the 13:37 mark. A pair of Greene free throws and a fastbreak jumper by Bentley pulled the Lions within a single point at 13-12 with 12 minutes remaining. Following a pair of Karisma Penn free throws, the Lady Lions assumed the lead with a layup by Greene and two freebies by Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) to make it 16-15 with 9:33 on the clock.
The Illini moved back in front with a three-pointer by Jenna Smith, but the Lady Lions immediately responded with an 8-2 run to assume a 24-20 lead 4:44 left. Grant accounted for four points, while Bentley and Emily Phillips (South Bend, Ind.) added two points each during the run. Illinois scored the game's next three points, but Marisa Wolfe (Ford City, Pa.) responded with her first career three-pointer on her first career three-point attempt to give the Lady Lions a 27-23 cushion with three minutes remaining. The Illini tallied four of the final five points of the half to send the teams into the locker room with Penn State leading 28-27.
Bentley led Penn State with nine points, two blocks and two steals in the opening frame, while Greene added five points and seven rebounds. Grant chipped in five tallies and four rebounds. Karisma Penn led Illinois with eight points.
The Lady Lions came out firing in the second half with a layup by Greene and two free throws by Meredith Monroe (Olney, Md.) to take a 32-27 lead less than a minute in. Illinois scored three consecutive points to slice the Penn State lead to two points (32-30) before the Lady Lions bounced back with a fastbreak layup by Trogele off of a Bentley pass to spark a 13-2 run. Wolfe drained her second three-pointer of the game, while Wolff, Trogele and Grant added the next six points to make it a 45-32 game with 13:20 remaining.
Illinois would not go quietly, as the Illini clicked off an 8-0 run to close within five (45-40) with 11:39 left in the game. Janessa Wolff (Park Rapids, Minn.) drained a jumper and Grant connected on a wide-open scoop shot to start an 8-2 run to push the Penn State lead back to 11 points at 53-42 with nine minutes left to play. After Illinois cut Penn State's lead to seven points, Bentley drained a three-pointer as the shot clock expired and converted on a layup off of a Grant steal to push the lead back to 12 points (65-53) with three minutes left in the game. The Illini made one last charge with a 13-5 run to finish the game, but it wasn't enough as the Lady Lions held on for the win.
GAME NOTES: The Lady Lions had a record 285 registered breast cancer survivors at today's game...The preliminary fundraising total for the fourth annual WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State is $66,446.24 for the four Pink Zone charities (Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund) with a few outstanding fundraising efforts still ongoing...Penn State's seven Big Ten wins are tied for the most since 2006-07...PSU's six-game winning streak is the longest since 2004-06...With her 15-point effort, Tyra Grant has surpassed the 1,800-point plateau... Grant posted a career-high nine assists...Alex Bentley tallied a career-high 19 points and seven field goals...Marisa Wolfe drained her first two three-pointers of her career...With 11 boards, Nikki Greene posted her third double-digit rebound game of the season...The Lady Lions improve to 7-0 when scoring 70 or more points...Penn State is 8-0 now when leading at the half...With the victory, Penn State improves to 24-14 all-time vs. Illinois...The Lady Lions are now 2-2 in Pink Zone games at Penn State...Bentley surpassed the 200-point plateau for her career.
The Lady Lions continue their homestand against Purdue on Thursday at 7 p.m., before traveling to Michigan (Jan. 30) and Michigan State (Feb. 4). Single-game tickets can be purchased by calling the Penn State ticket office at 814-865-5555.
The 2010 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State took place on Sunday, Jan. 24 when the Lady Lions take on Illinois in the Bryce Jordan Center. The first three Pink Zone events have raised more than $80,000 for breast cancer awareness. This year's fundraising efforts will benefit Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. For more information or to donate online to the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.gopsusports.com/pinkzone.
The Lady Lions hold several camps throughout the summer. There is a Lady Lion Basketball Camp available for girls of all ages, ranging from shooting camp to elite camp. The 2010 Lady Lion Basketball Camp schedule is as follows: Shooting Camp (June 13-15), Elite Camp (June 20-22), Skills Camp (June 20-23), Total Package Team Camp (June 24-26) and Games Galore Team Camp (August 6-8). For more information on Lady Lion Basketball Camps, please visit psusportscamps.com and click on Lady Lion Basketball Camp.
The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow head coach Coquese Washington (@psucoachquese), sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) and the Lady Lions and assistant coaches (@pennstatewbb) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook. Search Lady Lion Basketball and become a fan.