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Dec. 5, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Penn State Lady Lions (7-2) led wire-to-wire on the way to a 76-68 win over Texas Tech (8-1) in the inaugural Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge at the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday. Redshirt sophomore Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) tallied her first career double-double with personal bests of 26 points and 14 rebounds. She was 8-for-10 from the field and 10-for-11 from the free throw line.
The Lady Lions shot a season-best 54.7% (29-53) from the field in the game and outrebounded the Lady Raiders by a 38-30 margin. Sophomore guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) added 16 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals in the win, while freshman guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) accounted for 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Senior guard/forward Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) and sophomore guard Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) chipped in seven points each.
The Lady Lions started the game on fire, making four of their first five shots from the field en route to a 9-0 lead at the 18-minute mark. Bentley started the game with a layup off of the tip to score her 500th career point, which was followed by a jumper by Trogele and an offensive rebound and layup by Nickson. Trogele capped the 9-0 run with a three-pointer with 18:01 left in the half.
Texas Tech got on the board with a free throw by Casey Morris that started a 6-2 run to pull the Lady Raiders within five points (11-6) with less than 14 minutes on the clock. After an exchange of scores to make it a 17-12 Penn State lead, Gray drained a three-pointer and a jumper sandwiched around a bucket by the Raiders. The Lady Lions then got two free throws from Nickson to push their lead to a game-high 10 points (24-14) with 8:03 remaining.
The Lady Raiders pushed back, scoring the game's next six points to slice the Penn State lead to 24-20 with less than six minutes left in the half. However, the Lady Lions responded with a 6-2 run to stretch the lead back to eight points (30-22) with 4:22 on the clock. Nickson accounted for four points and Marisa Wolfe (Ford City, Pa.) added a pair in the run. The lead remained eight for the next several minutes until Nickson converted on a pair of free throws to stretch the lead back to 10 points (38-28), but the Lady Raiders nailed a three-pointer as time expired to send the teams into the locker room with Penn State leading 38-31.
Nickson led all scorers and rebounders with 14 points and eight boards, while Bentley added eight tallies with three steals. Trogele was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field on the way to seven points. Monique Smalls led Texas Tech with six points and four steals.
Turnover plagued the Lady Lions to start the second half with three turnovers in their first four possessions, which allowed Texas Tech to close within three tallies at 38-35 just over one minute into the second half. Gray got the Lions on the board in the second half with a layup, but the Raiders would tie the game at 40-40 with five consecutive points with 15:26 on the clock.
Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) scored on a wide-open layup off of a pass from Bentley and followed it up with a nifty hook shot and was fouled in the act. Greene would miss the ensuing free throw, but Nickson grabbed the rebound and converted on the layup to give Penn State at 46-40 lead with 14:30 left in the game. However, the Raiders would not go away with five-straight points in the next minute of play to close within a single point (46-45).
Wolfe grabbed the rebound off of a Lucas miss and laid it in to extend the lead to 48-45 with less than 12 minutes to play. On the ensuing Penn State possession, Nickson pulled down the rebound and put it back up to push the lead to five (50-45). Following a bucket by TTU's Kierra Mallard, Greene took a pass from Bentley and laid it in, but the Lady Raiders responded with a three-pointer by Mary Bokenkamp to cut the lead to a pair (53-50). Penn State responded with a layup from Nickson and a three-pointer Lucas to make it a 57-50 game with 8:38 left.
Following a 4-0 run from the Raiders, Lucas went on a personal 5-0 run with a three-pointer and layup off a pass from Renee Womack (Lansdale, Pa.) to give Penn State a 62-54 lead with 7:30 on the clock. The squads exchanged scores for the next several minutes until until a three-pointer by Casey Morris got Texas Tech within five points (68-63) with 2:13 remaining. The Lions bounced back with a four points by Nickson and a layup by Bentley to stretch the lead to a game-high 11 points (74-63) with 36 seconds left. Following another triple by Morris, Bentley iced the win with a pair of free throws. Teena Wickett closed out the scoring with a pair of freebies with 10 seconds left.
GAME NOTES: Mia Nickson made her first career start ... Nickson posted her first career double-double with career highs of 26 points and 14 rebounds. Her previous career high in points came on Nov. 12 when she drained 15 points at Dayton. Her previous mark in rebounds also came at Dayton when she had nine ... Nickson also eclipsed the 100-rebound plateau for her career ... With her 16-point performance, Alex Bentley eclipsed the 500-point mark for her career ... The Lady Lions shot a season-high 54.7 percent from the field. Penn State's previous high this year came on Nov. 14 when it shot 52.9 percent vs. Rider ... Penn State improves to 3-2 all-time against Texas Tech, including a perfect 3-0 record in home games.
The Lady Lions continue their seven-game homestand against Army on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at a special 6:30 p.m. start. Any military members can present their ID to get a free ticket to the game. The first 200 fans will receive a camouflage Coquese's Corps t-shirt. 2010-11 Lady Lion Basketball Single-game tickets are available by calling 814-863-1000 or 800-NITTANY. The PNC Flex Books are available again this year for $99. The Flex Book gives fans 12 vouchers, including one for the Coaches vs. Cancer game and one for the Pink Zone game, that can be redeemed for Nittany Lion and Lady Lion Basketball tickets in any combination.
The 2011 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 27 at noon as the Lady Lions take on Northwestern in the Bryce Jordan Center. The game can be seen on the Big Ten Network. Last year, the Lady Lions donated more than $80,000 for 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 and J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital. For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.gopsusports.com/pinkzone. The WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pinkzoneatpennstate.
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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