Lady Lions Advance to Big Ten Championship Game With Win Over Illinois
March 5, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. - The Penn State Lady Lions (24-8, 11-5) used a record-breaking performance by Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) and the first career 20-point performance by senior Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) to earn a 79-64 win over No. 11 Illinois (9-23, 2-14) and advance to the Big Ten Championship game for the first time since 2004. The Lady Lions will face the winner of the No. 2 Michigan State-No. 5 Ohio State game at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2 tomorrow. Penn State last won a Big Ten Tournament title in 1996.
With five three-pointers, Lucas broke the Big Ten single-season three-pointers record previously set by Ohio State's Caity Matter (106) in 2002-03. Lucas now has 110 three-pointers on the year, which also moves her into the Top 15 in NCAA single-season history. The rookie guard finished the game with 23 points for her 13th 20-point game of the season. She also pulled in five rebounds and had two steals in the win. The scoring performance also moved into second place on Penn State's freshman scoring chart and gets her within five points of breaking Kelly Mazzante's mark (529 pts.).
Trogele scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half. Her 12-for-12 performance from the free throw line ties the Big Ten Tournament record. Trogele narrowly missed out on a double-double with nine rebounds to go along with two assists and a pair of steals. Sophomore guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) also reached double figures for the Lady Lions, who had nine different players score, with 11 points. She also had three assists and two steals.
The Lady Lions opened the scoring with a Bentley jumper off of the tip to give the Illini their first deficit of the Big Ten Tournament. However, the Illini responded by scoring the game's next seven point to take a 7-2 lead at the 17:44 mark. Lucas was a spark off of the bench for the Lady Lions as she connected on a three-pointer in her first attempt of the game to tie the Big Ten single-season three-pointers record set by Ohio State's Caity Matter in 2002-03 and make it 7-5 game. The Illini would stretch the lead to 11-7 two minutes later after scoring four of the next six points.
Lucas nailed her second and Big Ten record-breaking three-pointer of the game to kick off a 24-4 run to push the Lady Lions to a 31-15 lead with five minutes left in the half. Lucas and junior Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) each tallied seven points during the run, while Renee Womack (Lansdale, Pa.) added four points.
The Illini would not go away quietly as they reeled off an 18-4 run of their own to close within two points (35-33) at the break. The Lady Lions went without a field goal for the final 5:22 of the half.
Lucas led all players with 12 points to go along with four rebounds in the opening half, while Gray added seven points. Eight different players scored for the Lady Lions, who shot 41.4% from the field. Seven players had assists in the first half as Penn State had eight helpers on 12 buckets.
Illinois scored four of the first five points in the second half to take a 27-26 lead with16:44 left in the game. A basket by Bentley snapped a nearly nine-minute field goal drought of the Lady Lions, but the Illini responded with a pair of Karisma Penn free throws to regain the lead. Lucas rippled the net for her third three-pointer of the game to spark a 12-2 to take a 50-41 lead with 12 minutes left. Lucas accounted for eight points during the run and Trogele added four tallies.
The Illini fought back as they scored 10 of the game's next 14 points to pull within a possession at 54-51 with nine minutes left. Penn State reassumed control of the game with a 13-0 run that was once again sparked by a Lucas three-pointer to take a 67-51 lead with 4:19 to play. Five different players scored during the spurt, led by Trogele's four points. Illinois would not get any closer than 14 points in the final four minutes as the Lions sealed the win.
GAME NOTES: Penn State advances to the Big Ten Championship game for the first time since 2004 where it lost to Purdue (59-58) ... The Lady Lions are in the Big Ten Championship game for the seventh time, but last won the title in 1996 ... With five three-pointers Maggie Lucas breaks the Big Ten single-season three-pointers record of 106 set by Ohio State's Caity Matter in 2002-03. Lucas now has 110 three-pointers on the year, which moves her into the Top 15 in NCAA single-season history ... Lucas posted her 13th 20-point performance of the season with 23 tallies, which moved her into second place on Penn State's freshman season scoring list ... With 525 tallies this year, Lucas needs five points to break Mazzante's Penn State freshman scoring record (529) set in 2000-01 ... Senior Julia Trogele posted her first career 20-point effort in 110 career games with 20 tallies ... Trogele's 12-for-12 effort from the free throw line ties the Big Ten single-game record, held by three different players, including former Lady Lion Tanisha Wright.
Penn State will be hosting the first and second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 19 and Monday, March 21. Tickets are available in all-session packages or as single-session tickets. Tickets can be purchased by calling 814-865-5555 or visiting the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office.
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