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Nov. 28, 2008
MALIBU, CALIF. - Tyra Grant (Youngstown, Ohio) had 22 points and a career-high six steals and the Penn State Lady Lions (3-2) rallied from as many as 15 down in the second half in a tough 61-57 loss to #8/5 Texas A&M (5-0) in the first round of the Timeout 4 HIV/AIDS Tournament in Malibu, Calif. Penn State will face Coppin State at 1 p.m. Pacific time tomorrow afternoon.
Grant's 22-point effort is her third consecutive game with 20 or more points and the 14th of her career. She is now 20 points away from becoming the 31st player in school history with 1,000 points. Senior point guard Brianne O'Rourke (Pittsburgh, Pa.) also had a solid all-around game with 14 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals, while sophomore Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) added 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting and six rebounds in the loss.
The Lady Lions also received significant contributions from freshmen Renee Womack (Lansdale, Pa.) and Emily Phillips (South Bend, Ind.). Womack had five points and seven rebounds, while Phillips registered career highs of three steals and two assists. Penn State's free throw woes continued as the Lions connected on just 8-of-20 shots from the charity stripe.
Texas A&M jumped out to the 5-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game before Grant got the Lady Lions on the board with a layup at the 16:47 mark. The Aggie reeled off seven straight points to establish a 12-2 lead as the Lady Lions struggled to find their offensive rhythm, missing six of their first seven shots.
Grant snapped the drought with a layup and the Lady Lions turned up their defensive pressure to spark a 13-0 run that pushed the Lady Lions into the lead. During the run, O'Rourke drained a jumper and on the ensuing play, Grant stole the ball and converted on her breakaway layup. Following a free throw from Womack, Trogele drained a driving layup off of a Rashida Mark (Brooklyn, N.Y.) steal to make it a 12-11 game. On the very next play, Grant stole the ball and went the length of the court to give the Lady Lions their first lead of the game at 13-12. O'Rourke capped the Penn State run with a layup off of a pass from Grant to make it a 15-12 Penn State lead with 10 minutes left in the half.
After an exchange of baskets, Texas A&M went on a 15-4 run to end the opening period and send the squads into the locker room with the Aggies holding a 31-21 lead. Grant had a game-high 10 points and five steals in the first half, while O'Rourke added five points and three assists in the opening frame. The Lady Lions recorded eight steals on 10 A&M turnovers in the first half.
The Lady Lions came out firing in the second half as Trogele scored back-to-back baskets to slice the Texas A&M lead to 31-25 just a minute and a half into the second period. The squads exchanged baskets before an 11-1 Aggie run made it a 15-point game (46-31) with 14 minutes remaining in the game.
After another exchange of scores, Penn State scratched and clawed its way back into the game as the Lady Lions scored 13 of the game's next 14 points to pull within one point at 49-48 with nine minutes to play. Grant started the run with a layup off of an O'Rourke pass, which was quickly followed by a layup by Trogele and a three-pointer by O'Rourke. On the ensuing A&M possession, Phillips stole the ball and tossed the outlet pass to O'Rourke who drained the jumper to bring PSU within six points. The defense remained intense for the Lady Lions as they scored their next four points off of Aggie turnovers. Trogele completed the Lady Lion run with a layup on a nifty post move to make it a one-point game (49-48).
A pair of A&M baskets brought the lead back to five points (53-58), but the Lady Lions got a rebound and putback from Janessa Wolff (Park Rapids, Minn.) to make it a 53-50 game with seven minutes on the clock. A driving scoop shot by Grant coupled with an O'Rourke bucket in transition gave the Lady Lions their first lead since the 10-minute mark of the first half at 53-52 with 3:40 left in the game.
The Aggies would score the next five points of the game to take a 58-54 lead with 1:31 on the clock, but Womack skied for a rebound and tip-in to cut the lead to 58-56 with one minute to play. The Lady Lions earned a defensive stop on the next A&M possession as Trogele came down with the rebound and punched the ball ahead to Grant, who was fouled by Danielle Gant. Grant stepped to the line with six seconds remaining and a chance to tie the score, but could only connect on the front-end of the one-and-one to keep the Texas A&M lead at 58-57. The Aggies made three of their four free throw attempts down the stretch for the final margin.
GAME NOTES: Junior guard Tyra Grant had a career-high six steals...Grant's 22-point effort was her third consecutive game with 20 or more points and is the 14th of her career...Freshman Emily Phillips had a career-high three steals and tied her career high with two assists...Senior Brianne O'Rourke reached the 450 assist mark for her career...Junior Meggan Quinn missed the first free throws of her career early in the first half. She had made the first seven free throw attempts of her career.
Following the Timeout 4 HIV/AIDS Tournament, the Lady Lions travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to play Florida State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday, Dec. 3. The Lady Lions return to the friendly confines of the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday, Dec. 6 to face Dayton at noon and remain home to face Bucknell on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m. 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 (formerly known as THINK PINK Day) will take place on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 3 p.m., as the Lady Lions take on Iowa in the Bryce Jordan Center. The game can be seen on www.bigtennetwork.com. The first two Pink Zone events have raised more than $50,000 for breast cancer awareness. This year's fundraising efforts will benefit the Penn State Hershey Breast Cancer Institute, the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.gopsusports.com/pinkzone.