No. 18/19 Lady Lions Sprint Past Michigan, 77-56
Jan. 26, 2012
Ann Arbor, Mich. - The No. 18/19 Penn State Lady Lions (16-4, 6-2) shot 56.1% from the field, including 66.7% in the second half, on the way to a dominating 77-56 win at Michigan (16-5, 5-3) Thursday night. The Lady Lions are 4-0 in Big Ten road games this season, marking the first time since the 2003-04 season that PSU opened the conference slate perfect through its first four games.
Sophomore guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) posted her 11th 20-point game of the season with 23 tallies via a 10-for-13 effort from the field. She also pulled in eight rebounds with four assists and two steals. Junior Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) had a solid all-around game with 18 points, eight assists, four rebounds and a steal. With the performance, Bentley moves into 25th place on Penn State's all-time scoring chart.
Junior center Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) notched her first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while sophomore Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) added six points and eight rebounds. The Lady Lions outrebounded the Wolverines by a 45-29 count.
The Lady Lions jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first four minutes thanks to six consecutive points from Lucas and a bucket from Bentley. However, the Wolverines responded with a 6-0 spurt to tie the game at 8-8 with 12:20 remaining in the half. A basket by Lucas kicked off a 17-1 Penn State run, that also featured nine consecutive tallies by Greene, to give the Lady Lions a 25-9 lead with seven minutes left in the opening frame. Bentley also chipped in four points during the run.
Michigan would cut the lead to 14 (33-19) before Bentley capped the scoring in the half with a fade away jumper to send the teams into the break with Penn State holding a 35-19 lead.
Lucas led the Lady Lions in the opening half with 12 points via a 6-for-8 shooting effort. She also had six rebounds and a pair of steals. Bentley also reached double figures in the first half with 10 tallies, while Greene added nine points and seven rebounds. Penn State shot 48.5% (16-33) while holding the Wolverines to just a 24.2% effort from the field.
Penn State opened the second half with continued success as the Lady Lions scored seven of the first nine points in the period thanks to two points each from Greene and Bentley and a three-pointer from Lucas to establish a 21-point lead (42-21) just over two minutes into the second frame. The Wolverines closed the gap with a 7-2 spurt of their own to make it 44-28 with less than 16 minutes on the clock.
Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) netted her first basket of the game on a three-pointer and followed it up with another triple on the next PSU possession. Edwards capped the 8-0 run for the Lions with a jumper to make it a 52-28 lead with 13:28 left. Michigan would score five of the next seven points to close within 21, but the Lady Lions seized control with a 7-1 run to make it 61-35 with 9:43 to play. Penn State would stretch the lead to 31 (71-40) over the next three minutes before the Wolverines made a final charge to cut the lead to 22 (75-53) before Bentley ended the run with a fastbreak layup with less than a minute remaining. Michigan closed out the scoring with a three-pointer by Jamillya Hardley to make it a 77-56 Penn State win.
GAME NOTES: The Lady Lions are 4-0 in road games to start conference play for the first time since 2003-04 and snapped Michigan's eight-game home court winning streak ... With 18 points, Alex Bentley moved into 25th place on Penn State's career scoring list, passing Lisa Faloon (1,162) for the position. Bentley has 1,174 points in her career ... Bentley also moved into a tie for 15th place on the school's all-time steals chart with Dana Eikenberg and Vanessa Painter (182) ... Nikki Greene surged up the PSU career rebounding chart into 19th place with her 630th career rebound, passing Tanisha Wright for the position ... Greene also surpassed the 700-point mark for her career and now has 705 career points ... Sophomore Maggie Lucas notched her 11th 20-point game of the season with 23 tallies via a 10-for-13 shooting night ... Lucas also reached the 200-rebound mark for her career (200) ... Penn State is 28-9 all-time against the Wolverines, including 13-5 in Ann Arbor.
The Lady Lions continue their road swing in the state of Michigan when they visit the Spartans Sunday, a game which will be televised on ESPN2. Penn State is back in the BJC to meet Indiana on Thursday, Feb. 2 for THON night at 7 p.m. Single game tickets and PNC Flex Books are available by calling 800-NITTANY. PNC Flex Books are $99 and give fans 12 vouchers, including one for the Coaches vs. Cancer game and one for the Pink Zone game, which can be redeemed for Nittany Lion and Lady Lion Basketball tickets in any combination. The Starting 5 Pack is $49 and features tickets to three games of the buyer's choice, a ticket for the Ohio State ESPN2 Big Monday game on Monday, Feb. 20 and a ticket for the Pink Zone game against Minnesota on Sunday, Feb. 26.
The 2012 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26 as the Lady Lions take on Minnesota in the Bryce Jordan Center. Last year, the Lady Lions donated nearly $200,000 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, 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.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.