Lucas Leads No. 8/8 Lady Lions Past Howard in Season Opener, 72-61
Nov. 11, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The eighth-ranked Penn State Lady Lions (1-0) used a 14-0 run to close out the first half in a 72-61 victory over the Howard Bison (0-2) on Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center. Junior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) led the way for the Lady Lions with 25 points, her 32nd career 20-point game. Penn State improves to 37-12 all-time in season openers and a perfect 6-0 under head coach Coquese Washington.
Lucas was 9-of-17 from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point range in the win. She also accounted for three assists and three steals. Senior Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) recorded her 11th career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds coming on 6-of-10 shooting, while senior point guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) tallied 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and seven steals. Bentley's seven steals are just one short of her career-high of eight set against Nebraska on Dec. 30, 2011. Junior point guard Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) made her Lady Lion debut, scoring five points to go along with four rebounds and three assists.
The Bison jumped out to a quick 7-1 lead, but the Lady Lions would accumulate a 12-1 run to take a 13-8 advantage at the 14-minute mark. Trailing 7-1, Bentley started with a jumper and then a steal and layup 12 seconds later to cut the Howard lead to 7-5. Lucas drained her first three of the game at 15:40 and hit a mid-range jumper to give Penn State an 11-8 lead. A putback by Nickson ended the run and gave Penn State a 13-8 advantage with 14 minutes left in the half.
With Penn State leading 21-17, Howard managed to go on a 14-5 run and would take a 31-25 lead at the 4:41 mark in the first half. Despite the Howard run, the Lady Lions countered with a 14-0 run to end the half. Lucas was responsible for nine of the 14 points scored during the run, coming on three field goals, including one three-pointer, and a pair of free throws. Junior Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) and senior Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) started the run by making a free throw each to cut the Bison lead to four. Lucas would score the next five points on a three-pointer and two free throws to help Penn State retake the lead. The Lady Lions closed the half with seven points in the final minute. Bentley stole a ball of an inbound pass and laid it in. Another Bentley steal led to a layup by Lucas to give the Lady Lions a 36-31 advantage. A free throw from Greene and a Lucas jumper completed the 14-0 run to end the half. Penn State took a 39-31 lead into the locker room.
Penn State would continue the run into the second half, when Bentley scored on a transition layup at the 18:10 mark. A drop step layup by Nickson and a Lucas three gave the Lady Lions a 46-33 lead. Nickson converted on a jumper in the paint to cap off what a 25-4 run in total. The Lady Lions led 48-35 with 15:20 remaining.
Lucas drained her third three-pointer with 12:41 remaining to give Penn State a 53-39 advantage. Howard would chip in the next five points, but Taylor would convert on a free throw and score on a transition layup to give the Lady Lions a 56-43 lead with 8:54 to go. The Lady Lions went on to make their next seven free throws, four coming from sophomore Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) and two coming from Nickson. Following Nickson's free throws, Penn State held a 62-47 edge with 6:03 remaining in the contest. The Bison closed out the game on an 11-5 run, ending in a score of 72-61.
GAME NOTES: Penn State wins its seventh consecutive season opener ... Coquese Washington improves to 6-0 in season openers as head coach of the Lady Lions ... Penn State is now 37-12 in season openers and 41-8 in home openers ... Penn State to 3-0 all-time against Howard ... Maggie Lucas surpassed the 1,200-point mark for her career, the junior now has 1,219 career points ... Junior Ariel Edwards reached the 300-point mark for her career (304) ... Alex Bentley had seven steals, one shy of her career high (8, vs. Nebraska, 12/30/11) and moved into the Top 10 in the Penn State record books, tying Tanya Garner (1978-91) with 223 steals ... Senior Mia Nickson earned her 11th career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds ... Lucas posted her 32nd career game with 20 or more points with 25 tallies ... Edwards tied her career high with two blocks (Oakland, 11/18/10) ... Sophomore forward Tori Waldner tied her career high with six points, all of which came from the free throw line ... Saadia Doyle's 23 free throw attempts breaks the record for free throw attempts by a Penn State opponent, surpassing the mark set by West Virginia's Georgeann Wells (20; 2/8/86).
The Lady Lions travel to #15/12 Texas A&M on Wed., Nov. 14 for an 8 p.m. matchup with the Aggies before returning home to face Lafayette on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. for Kids Day and YMCA Day. Kids will take over the BJC by partaking in various jobs on game day and the Lady Lions will host a kids clinic postgame for kids that register by emailing their information (names and ages) to email@example.com by Saturday, Nov. 17. YMCA members can show their card at the ticket office on game day and can get $5 off per ticket. Additionally, fans that show their ticket from the Penn State-Indiana football game will receive a buy one ticket, get one free offer for the day. The Lady Lions are also helping the Penn State football team Stuff the Blue Bus for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and will offer fans that bring a canned good to the game a $5 ticket.
Single game tickets for the Lady Lions are on sale now. Tickets are $15 and $12 for adults and seniors and $9 and $7 for youth (12 and younger). Lady Lion Basketball season tickets are still available by calling 1-800-NITTANY. Season tickets are $99 for adults and $50 for youth (12 and under), this includes a Nittany Lion Kids Club Membership for 2012-13. 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.
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