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Feb. 20, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The #7/9 Penn State Lady Lions (22-3, 12-1 Big Ten) used a 61.1% shooting effort, their first time better than 60% in a game since 1996, in a 95-62 victory over Illinois (15-10, 8-5) on Wednesday night in the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State's last 60% shooting performance came against Michigan State on Feb. 23, 1996 where the Lady Lions shot at a 60.8% clip. The mark is also the best shooting percentage by the Lady Lions in a conference game since joining the Big Ten in 1992-93. The 95 points scored by the Lady Lions are the most in a conference game since the 95-62 victory over Ohio State on Feb. 3, 2002.
Junior Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) just missed out on her second career double-double with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. Senior Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) filled the stat sheet with 20 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals. Senior Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) was very effective in the post, scoring 13 points to go with seven rebounds, while junior Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points.
Freshman Candice Agee (Silverado, Calif.) had a strong night for the Lady Lions off the bench, netting career bests of eight points to go along with three blocks. Junior guard Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) tallied nine points, four assists, three rebounds and five steals and senior Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) chipped in six points on a perfect 3-of-3 performance from the field and eight rebounds.
Illinois jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but Lucas scored the first eight Lady Lion points, including two threes, to give Penn State an 8-7 advantage early. Bentley converted on a strong take to the basket to increase the lead to 10-7 at the 15:10 mark and would answer and Illinois three with a triple of her own to give the Lady Lions a 13-10 edge.
Leading 13-12, the Lady Lions would put together a 19-3 run in an 8:08 span. Greene and Taylor started the run with back-to-back field goals, followed by four free throws from Nickson that were sandwiched around an Illini freebie. Bentley scored the next four on a pair from the line and a fastbreak layup off an Agee block. After an Adrienne GodBold field goal for the Illini, Lucas hit her third triple of the game at the 8:59 mark to give the Lady Lions a 28-15 advantage. Agee scored the next four points on back-to-back field goals to give the Lions a 32-15 lead with 8:10 on the clock.
Amber Moore snapped the Penn State run with a three-pointer to make it 32-18. Penn State would score five of the game's next seven points from the free throw line before Taylor scored on a fastbreak layup and Nickson followed with an old-fashioned three-point play to put Penn State up 42-20 with 4:54 to go. A three-point play by Alexis Smith began a stretch where Illinois scored eight of the next 11 points to make the count 45-28 with 3:13 to go. Following a Taylor free throw, she found Edwards on a nice cross-court pass to increase the lead to 20 (48-28). Karisma Penn scored the final five points of the half for the Illini, but Lucas, Agee and Edwards combined for the final six Lady Lion points to give them a 54-33 lead entering the half.
The Lady Lions came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, as Greene opened the half with a layup just 12 seconds in. Following a three-point play for Penn, Taylor picked GodBold's pocket and took it in for a layup. Nickson scored the next five points on a three-point play and a layup to give the Lady lions a 63-36 advantage with 16:13 to go. Following two Illini buckets, Lucas scored her first field goal of the half to give the Lady Lions a 25-point edge (65-40).
Following an exchange of baskets, the Illini put together an 8-0 run and shrunk the Lady Lion lead to 71-53. Taylor and Bentley each answered with jumpers, but a Penn three at the 8:43 mark cut the lead back down to 19. An exchange of baskets then led to a Bentley three with 7:23 to go and an 80-58 PSU lead. After a Penn layup with 7:01 remaining, the Lady Lions strung together a 9-0 run that started with a Bentley jumper. Edwards then drained a three to increase the lead to 25, followed by four-straight free throws by Waldner and Lucas on a an over the back call and a technical foul against the Illini.
Exchanges of free throws and baskets led to a Lucas made a layup to give the Lady Lions a 31-point advantage. Bentley capped off the game with a jumper, resulting in a 95-62 victory.
GAME NOTES: The Lady Lions extend their home court winning streak to 19 games, tied for sixth-longest streak in school history and third-longest active streak in Division I ... The seven home conference wins marks the most for Penn State since 2006-07 (7) ... The Lady Lions scored 95 points in a conference game for the first time since Feb. 3, 2002 in a 95-62 victory over Ohio State ... The Lady Lions shot 61.1% from field, marking the first time Penn State shot better than 60% in a game since Feb. 23, 1996 (.608) vs. Michigan State ... The 61.1% effort from the field is the highest shooting percentage for the Lady Lions in a Big Ten game since joining the conference in 1992-93 ... The 61.1% mark from the field is also Penn State's highest shooting percentage since knocking down 63.3% of its shot against Morgan State on Dec. 29, 1993 ... Penn State improves to 29-14 all-time against Illini and 16-2 in games played in Happy Valley ... Penn State blocked 10 shots, the most since blocking 11 vs. Purdue on Jan. 28, 2010 ... The Lady Lions tied their season high 29 turnovers (29 at Miami on Nov. 29, 2012) ... The last time Penn State committed 25-plus turnovers and won was vs. Minnesota (26) on Jan. 13, 2011 ... The Lady Lions scored 40-plus points in half for ninth and 10th times this season (54 and 41) ... The Lady Lions scored 50-plus points in half for fifth time this season (54) ... The 54 points in a half are the most since scoring 55 in the second half at Nebraska on Jan. 15, 2012 ... Candice Agee tallied career highs with eight points (third time) and three blocks ... Maggie Lucas tallied her 43rd career 20-point game and 12th of the season with 22 markers ... Lucas also surpassed the 200-assist mark for her career with 202 ... Alex Bentley had her 24th career 20-point game (20).
Penn State closes out its home schedule with its annual Pink Zone game and Senior Day against Michigan Sunday. Fans will get a pink silicon bracelet, while supplies last and $3 of each single game ticket sold will go to the Pink Zone fundraising efforts. Prior to the game, the Lady Lions will recognize their five seniors. Penn State closes out the regular-season with road games at Minnesota on Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. (ET) and Nebraska on March 2 at 6 p.m. (ET), both of which can be seen on the Big Ten Network. Go to www.GoPSUsports.com/promotions/wbb.html for complete promotions information.
Single game tickets for the Lady Lions are on sale. 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.