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Junior Mia Nickson had a team-best 10 rebounds.
March 20, 2012
BATON ROUGE, La. - The No. 4 seed Penn State Lady Lions (26-6, 13-3) ended the No. 5 seed and the host LSU Lady Tigers (22-11, 10-6 SEC) season on Tuesday night with a 90-80 victory to advance to the NCAA Regional. The Lady Lions will make their first appearance in the NCAA Regional semifinals since 2004. Penn State will face No. 1 seed Connecticut in Kingston, R.I. on March 25.
Penn State improved to 4-2 all-time against LSU. The Lady Lions are no 10-8 in NCAA Tournament Second Round action and 29-22 overall.
The Lady Lions had five players total double-digit points led by sophomore Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.), who posted 30. Sophomore Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) was second on the tema with 15, while junior Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) posted 15 and both junior Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) and senior Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) had 10 apiece. Nickson led the squad with 10 boards and Bentley had a team-leading five steals.
Penn State shot 45 percent for the game and held LSU to 37 percent. The Lady Lions outscored the Lady Tigers 34-30 in the paint and 16-11 off turnovers.
The Lady Lions wasted no time grabbing the lead in the first half as five points from Lucas and four from Nickson had Penn State with a 9-0 lead. The Lady Tigers finally got on the board with two points at the 16:56 mark and cut Penn State's lead to five with two points at the foul line. A three by Lucas had Penn State leading by eight, 12-4, and despite a trey from LSU's Krystal Forthan, two foul shots by Lucas had the Lions leading 14-7.
An 8-0 run by the Lady Tigers moved LSU into the lead, 15-14, with 10:57 to play in the first half. Lucas cut off the run with a three pointer to move PSU back on top, 17-15. The squads traded buckets for the next four minutes as the Lady Lions maintained at least a two-point lead, However, a layup by LSU's Adrienne Webb and two free throws from Forthan had the score knotted at 26-26 with less than four minutes remaining in the half.
Penn State regained the lead with a jumper from Nickson and soon after, Penn State was back in front by four, 34-30, with 2:28 in the first. After a basket from LSU, Edwards headed to the foul line and made two shots to keep Penn State up by four, 36-32. The Lady Tigers grabbed the next four points to tie it up at 36 all at the 1:10 mark.
After a Lady Lion timeout, Webb scored one final point at the foul line for LSU before time ran out. LSU headed into the halftime break with a slim 37-36 edge.
The teams went back and forth to start the second half, but a Bentley jumper and a Gray layup had Penn State leading by one, 42-21, at the 17:13 mark. Greene fouled LSU's Lasondra Barrett who made both of her free throws to push the Lady Tigers in front, 43-42. Back-to-back jumpers by LSU gave LSU's a five-point lead, 47-42, with the clock at 15:52.
PSU called a timeout, and a Bentley bucket had the Lady Lions within three before a three-pointer from LSU saw the Lady Tigers leading by six, 50-44. The Lady Lions embarked on a 9-2 run to take back control, 53-52. Three points from LSU had the Lady Tigers with a 5-53 lead, but an 8-2 PSU run, including six points from Edwards, had the Lady Lions leading by four, 61-57.
Penn State's lead grew to six, 67-61, with a little more than five minutes to play in the game. Two straight baskets from the Lady Tigers narrowed the gap to two, 67-65, but it didn't faze Penn State. A Nickson jumper and two free throws from Edwards had the Lions back ahead by six, 71-65.
Free throws from Bentley gave the Lady Lions an eight-point advantage, a lead the Lady Tigers cut to three twice. With 2:15 to play, Penn State used a 6-0 run for a 82-73 lead. The Lady Tigers came within six on two occasions, but six successful free throws from Lucas, one from Gray and one from Greene aided Penn State to the 90-80 triumph.
Tickets for the Kingston Regional will be on sale Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. All tickets sold through 1-800-NITTANY, option 1 or the athletic ticket office reception area. Tickets prices are $52 for All-Session adult tickets, and $37 for All-Session youth/student tickets. Single Session adult tickets are $31 with single session youth/student tickets $21. Ticket prices include fees. All tickets must be picked up at Will Call in Kingston.
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.
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