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Tori Waldner had a career-high 11 rebounds.
Dec. 15, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) scored 17 of her game-high 26 points in the second half to power the #12/12 Lady Lions (7-3, 0-0 Big Ten) to a 66-58 win over #20/24 Texas A&M (6-3). The win marks Penn State's first victory over a ranked opponent this season.
Lucas was 10-for-20 from the field en route to her seventh 20-point performance of the season for the senior and the 52nd of her sensational Lady Lion career. With the performance, Lucas moved into third place on Penn State's all-time career scoring list with 2,054 points for her career, passing Tyra Grant (2,044). The senior guard also climbed to 14th on the all-time Big Ten career scoring list, surpassing the aforementioned Grant and Minnesota's Laura Coenen (2,044).
Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) also reached double figures on the afternoon with 14 points, shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. She completed her performance with five boards and four assists. Penn State's starting post players, Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.), each finished with notable numbers. East did a little bit of everything, scoring eight points and adding six rebounds, three blocks, an assist and a steal. Waldner's afternoon was highlighted by a career-high 11 boards, while the junior netted four points, blocked three shots and swiped two steals.
The Lady Lions opened the game by scoring the first 12 points in the first nine minutes of action, the largest run by Penn State to open a game this season. Edwards was the first player to put her name in the scoring column, connecting on a jumper. Lucas followed by drawing a foul as she converted a layup and knocked down the ensuing free throw. Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.), Lucas and Edwards each added two more points and a make from the charity strip capped off the Blue and White's 12-0 run.
After missing its first 13 shots of the afternoon, Texas A&M got on the board at the 10:57 mark off a jumper from Tori Scott and immediately went on an 18-3 run over the next five minutes to grab its first lead of the game at 18-15. Penn State's three points during the Aggies' run came from a made jumper from Lucas and a free throw from Candice Agee (Victorville, Calif.).
Waldner cut the Texas A&M lead back to one at 18-17 with just over five minutes left in the first by finishing a layup at the rim. The two teams then traded baskets over the next minute before the Aggies reeled off seven-straight points to increase their lead to eight at 27-19, their largest of the first frame.
The Lady Lions fought back and closed the half on an 11-1 lead to take a 30-28 lead into the halftime intermission. East was the catalyst of the Penn State surge, scoring six of the points during the stretch off two layups and a jumper in the paint. Edwards added a jumper, while Kaliyah Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Waldner combined to chip in three free throws.
Penn State used the momentum it built up at the end of the first half and used it coming out of the break to begin the second stanza. After a made layup from Texas A&M's Achiri Ade, the Lady Lions scored the next nine points to open up a nine-point advantage at 39-30 with 17:21 left in the contest. Taylor scored the first two points for the Blue and White and then Lucas took over, scoring seven-straight points off a jumper, two layups and a free throw.
The Aggies responded with four-straight points of their own to draw back within five at 39-34, with all four points coming from sophomore guard Courtney Walker. Over the next nine minutes of play, neither team could grab control of the game, as the Aggies narrowly outscored the Lady Lions 12-11 during the timeframe to move the score to 50-46 with just over seven minutes of action remaining.
Trailing by four, Texas A&M's Rachel Mitchell knocked down a jumper to cut the Lady Lion lead in half to two points at 50-48, but once again Penn State would not allow the Aggies to even the score. Lucas scored the game's next five points with two makes from the charity stripe followed by her first trey of the afternoon. East followed by hitting a jumper in the paint and Edwards capped off the Lady Lions' 9-0 run by converting two free throws, pushing the lead to double digits at 59-48 with a little more than two minutes remaining.
The Aggies had one last scoring spurt in them, scoring the next six points off back-to-back three-point makes and cutting Penn State's lead to five (61-56) with one minute left in the game. However, that is as close as the Lady Lions would allow the visitors to get, as Penn State outscored the Aggies 5-2 with all five points coming from the free throw line in the final 52 seconds to secure a well-earned 66-58 victory.
GAME NOTES: Today's win marked the fifth consecutive season with a win over a ranked opponent for the Lady Lions ... The win is the 125th of Coquese Washington's career ... Maggie Lucas notched her seventh game with 20 or more points and 54th of her career with 26 tallies ... Lucas moved third place in Penn State history and 14th place in Big Ten history in scoring with 2,054 career points ... Lucas passed Tyra Grant (2007-10; 2,044) for third spot in PSU history and supplanted Grant and Minnesota's Laura Coenen (1982-85; 2,044) for 14th place in conference history ... Lucas also moved into a tie for 14th place in program history in career steals, tying Brianne O'Rourke (2006-09) with 196 career thefts ... Talia East moved into 15th place on Penn State's career blocks chart with her 70th career rejection. East passes Kelly Mazzante (2001-04; 68) for the 15th spot ... Tori Waldner pulled in a career-high 11 rebounds, surpassing her previous career mark of 10 set last Sunday at Georgetown and during her freshman season against Wagner ... Waldner also moved into a tie for 18th spot on Penn State's career blocks list with her 66th rejection. She is tied with Adrie DeVries (1987-90).
The Lady Lions take a break for a week for exams before returning to the court to take on Alcorn State on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. as part of a men's and women's doubleheaders. Tickets are just $5 and will gain the holder access to both games. The Nittany Lions face Mount St. Mary's at 2 p.m.
Lady Lion Basketball single-game and season tickets are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY. Single-game tickets are $15 and $12 for adults and seniors and $9 and $7 for youth (12 and younger). Season tickets are $99 for adults and $50 for youth (12 and under), this includes a Nittany Lion Kids Club Membership for 2013-14. New this year, the Lady Lions have introduced a Family Season Ticket package. For $200, fans will get two adult tickets and two youth tickets for the 2013-14 campaign. 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 2014 Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 16 as the Lady Lions take on Wisconsin in the Bryce Jordan Center at 1 p.m. Last year, the Lady Lions donated a record $260,000 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.
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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