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Feb. 9, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The No. 18/21 Penn State Lady Lions (19-5, 9-3) connected on 48.3% of their shots and landed four players in double figures on the way to a 69-54 win over Wisconsin (8-16, 4-8) Thursday evening at the Bryce Jordan Center. Sophomore Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.), who was honored for surpassing the 1,000-point mark prior to the game, led the Lady Lions with 16 points via a 7-for-11 shooting performance.
Junior Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) had 14 points to go along with three assists, while sophomore Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) was a spark off of the bench with 14 points thanks to a 6-for-10 night from the field. Redshirt junior Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) rounded out Penn State's top scorers with 11 tallies to go with seven rebounds and three assists. In addition, senior Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) reached the 800-point milestone with five points. Junior Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) led the team in rebounds with 10.
The Lady Lions took off on an 8-0 run to start the game. Lucas started the game with a three-pointer followed by a three-point play by Nickson and a jumper by Bentley before Morgan Paige hit two free throws to put Wisconsin on the board. Lucas scored again for the Lady Lions before another two shots at the line by Jade Davis had the Badgers within six (10-4).
Lucas scored again on a jumper to give Penn State a 12-4 advantage at the 16-minute mark. Wisconsin fired back with two straight baskets to cut Penn State's lead to four (12-8). However, a layup by Edwards sparked a 14-2 Lady Lion for a comfortable 16-point lead (26-10) with less than eight minutes left in the half.
Despite another trip to the foul line for the Badgers, back-to-back Penn State jumpers, one each by Edwards and Lucas, moved the Lady Lions ahead by 18 (30-12). The Badgers managed a 6-2 run to make it 32-18 with 4:18 to play. After Bentley hit two free throws, the Badgers had a second 6-2 run to close the gap to 10 (34-24). Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) ended the run with a layup and Edwards tallied five consecutive points to put the Lady Lions ahead, 41-24, with under a minute left in the half. Anya Covington closed out the half with a basket for Wisconsin to send the Lady Lions into the break with a 41-26 lead.
Penn State continued to maintain a convincing double-digit lead in the second half. The Badgers mounted an 8-2 run, but Edwards slowed Wisconsin with a three-pointer to make it 50-33 in favor of the Lady Lions less than five minutes into the second half. The Badgers didn't give up and gained momentum courtesy of an 11-2 run to come within eight (52-44) with less than 12 minutes left in the game. The Lady Lions answered back with their own 11-2 run over the next seven minutes to give Penn State a 17-point lead (63-46) at the 4:50 mark. Bentley had six of Penn State's 11 points during the late run.
Wisconsin made one last run, scoring eight points to Penn State's two to narrow the Lady Lion lead to 11 (65-54), but Penn State scored the final four points to secure the 69-54 victory.
GAME NOTES: Coquese Washington picked up her 85th career win ... The win marks the Penn State's 10th home win on the season ... Senior Zhaque Gray hits the 800-point milestone with five tallies (803) ... The Lady Lions swept the two-game season series with the Badgers for the first time since 2004-05 ... Penn State is now 27-10 all-time against the Badgers, including a 16-2 mark in home games ... Maggie Lucas led the Lady Lions in scoring for the 15th time this season with 16 points ... Penn State signee Candice Agee (Victorville, Calif.) was named to the West roster for the 2012 McDonald's Girls All-American game today.
The Lady Lions close out the road portion of its regular-season schedule with a pair of games at Northwestern (Feb. 12) and at Purdue (Feb. 16). Both games will air on the Big Ten Network. Penn State returns to the BJC for its final two games against Ohio State on Monday, Feb. 20 and for the Pink Zone game vs. Minnesota on Sunday, Feb. 26. 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 2012 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. 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.