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Feb. 15, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Penn State Lady Lions (9-15, 4-10) led by as many as 20 points in the second half, but could not hold on en route to a 63-57 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes (16-9, 9-5) in front of 9,536 pink-clad fans on the Third Annual WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State proudly supported by Mimi Barash Coppersmith. The crowd of 9,536 was the largest crowd in Pink Zone history and is the largest Lady Lion home crowd since Feb. 20, 2005 against Northwestern.
It was a tale of two halves as the Lady Lions shot 43.2% (16-37) in the first half, but only managed to knock down 25% (7-28) their shots in the second frame. Penn State also had a 15-rebound advantage in the first half, but only won the game's rebounding battle by two boards (43-41).
Junior Tyra Grant (Youngstown, Ohio) had 20 points in the first half and finished with a game-best 26 tallies to go along with six rebounds and a blocked shot. Sophomore Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) was solid with eight points and six rebounds, while senior Brianne O'Rourke accounted for seven points, four rebounds and four assists. Freshman Renee Womack (Lansdale, Pa.) pulled down a career-high eight rebounds to go along with four points and blocked her second career shot. Senior Mashea Williams (Erie, Pa.) accounted for four points, four rebounds, five assists, a block and a steal in the loss.
The Lady Lions opened the game with a very balanced scoring attack as four players combined to give the Lady Lions a 12-8 lead at the 13-minute mark of the first period. Grant was the catalyst for the Lions early as she knocked down back-to-back three-pointers during the opening stretch. After a jumper by Kristi Smith sliced the Penn State lead in half, Grant drained a three-pointer and added a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 17-10 with 10:27 left in the half.
Iowa went on an 8-2 run that included a pair of three-pointers by Smith to cut the Penn State lead to two points (20-18) with seven minutes left in the half, but the Lady Lions responded as they reeled of an 11-2 run. Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) sparked the run with a bank shot three-pointer to make it a 23-18 lead. Grant and Meredith Monroe (Olney, Md.) each added a bucket before Womack tallied back-to-back layups to cap the run and extend the Lady Lion lead to 11 points at 31-20 with 3:46 remaining.
Wendy Ausdemore drained a three-pointer just 23 seconds later to make it a 31-23 game, but that was the last basket that the Hawkeyes would score in the half. The Lady Lions continued their first-half domination as Monroe banked in a shot from elbow, which was followed by a fade away jumper by Grant and two free throws by Williams to push the PSU lead to 14 points (37-23) with just under two minutes left in the half. Trogele added to the lead with a jumper and Grant knocked down a scoop shot with five seconds left to send the Lady Lions into the locker room with a 41-23 lead.
Grant had an outstanding opening half with 20 points, four rebounds and an assist. Williams, Trogele, Womack and Monroe each added four tallies for the Lady Lions, who had seven different players score in the opening frame. Smith led the Hawkeye attack with 13 points.
The second half started much the same way that the first half went for the Lady Lions as Trogele sandwiched a pair of baskets around a three-pointer by Smith to extend the Penn State lead to 45-26 with 18 minutes left in the game. They Hawkeyes fought back as they went on a 15-2 run to cut Penn state's lead to eight points (47-41) with 11 remaining. O'Rourke pushed the lead back to eight points with a layup, but four consecutive Hawkeye free throws to slice the deficit in half (49-45) with nine and a half minutes to play.
Grant converted on her field goal attempt to make it a 51-45 game, but Iowa scored the next seven points to take a 52-51 lead with 5:38 on the clock, their first lead since the 18:05 mark of the opening half. The squads swapped points as Grant made her layup and Ausdemore netted two free throws to keep it at a one-point Iowa lead (54-53). Janessa Wolff (Park Rapids, Minn.) tied the game at 54-54, but the Hawkeyes remained hot and scored seven consecutive points to take a 61-54 lead with eight seconds left. O'Rourke drained a three-pointer to slice the deficit to four points, but Kachine Alexander converted on two free throws to seal the 63-57 win.
GAME NOTES: The Lady Lions announced the game times of their final two games. The Feb. 26 vs. Northwestern will be at 7 p.m., streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com, while the season finale on March 1 at Ohio State will tip at 4 p.m., and will air on the Big Ten Network...Today's attendance of 9,536 was the largest crowd in Pink Zone history and is the largest Lady Lion home crowd since Feb. 20, 2005 against Northwestern...Freshman Renee Womack had a career-high eight rebounds...With 26 points, Tyra Grant now has had 14 games with 20 or more points this season and 24 contests with 20-plus points in her career...With five assists today, Mashea Williams moves into the 19th spot on the Lady Lions all-time assists chart with a total of 223 helpers in her career.
The Lady Lions complete their two-game homestand with their Code Blue event against Purdue on Thursday at 7 p.m., before traveling to Illinois on Sunday, Feb. 22 for their Pink Zone Day at 3 p.m. (Eastern). For information on Lady Lion Basketball tickets, call the Penn State ticket office at 814-865-5555.
The 2009 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State proudly supported by Mimi Barash Coppersmith online auction will run until Monday, Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. Items that will be available up for bid include all 13 of the uniforms worn by the Lady Lions for the Pink Zone game, as well as a one-week timeshare for anywhere in the world, Penn State football experiences, NASCAR experience and autographed memorabilia. For more information on the Pink Zone Online Auction, visit the Pink Zone auction website (http://psupinkzone.cstvauctions.com). The funds raised from the online auction benefit the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.
Dine at Harrison's the week after WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State game on February 15, 2009, mention Pink Zone and 20% of the check before taxes and gratuity will directly benefit Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. There is no limit to the number of times you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner between February 16 - 21, 2009 to benefit these charities. The more that you, your family and friends enjoy delicious food at Harrison's, the greater the fundraising benefit! In fact, tell others who would like to support our efforts, just have them mention the Lady Lions Pink Zone, WBCA or simply, the fight against Breast Cancer when they dine at Harrison's that week and we will continue to score important funds to beat breast cancer! Harrison's is locally owned and conveniently located on E. College Avenue, within the Hilton Garden Inn.