Lady Lions Rally Past Oakland, 69-64

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Tyra Grant

Tyra Grant

Dec. 21, 2009

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Senior Tyra Grant (Youngstown, Ohio) proved why she is an All-Big Ten performer as she scored 13 of Penn State's points during a 26-3 run in the second half as the Lady Lions (8-3, 0-1) rallied for a 69-64 victory over Oakland (2-9, 0-1 Summit) Monday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. Grant finished the game with 21 points via a 6-for-10 shooting performance. She also added five rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals. The Lady Lions finished the non-conference season 8-2.

Junior guard/forward Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) also reached double figures with 13 points to go along with a team-best eight rebounds. Sophomore Emily Phillips (South Bend, Ind.) was a spark off of the bench with a career-best eight points and two assists, while classmate Renee Womack (Langhorne, Pa.) added six points, five rebounds and two steals.

The Lady Lions showed signs of rust after having an eight-day layoff, turning the ball over twice and missing their first five shots (three from the field and two from the free throw line) as Oakland took a 7-0 lead just over three minutes into the game. Grant got Penn State on the board with a three-pointer at the 16:19 mark. Following a by Melissa Jeltema, Grant was fouled on her three-point attempt and converted on all three free throws to make it a 9-6 game with 15:50 on the clock.

The Golden Grizzlies scored the game's next four points to take a 13-6 lead, but the Lady Lions fought back with a three-pointer by Womack and a deep jumper by Trogele to pull within two points (13-11) with 13 and a half minutes left in the opening period. Oakland extended its lead back to six points (17-11) with back-to-back baskets at the 12-minute mark.

Penn State pulled within a basket at 17-15 with a pair of free throws from Janessa Wolff (Park Rapids, Minn.) and a fastbreak layup by Womack. Phillips had the only field goal for the Lady Lions during a 15-2 run that allowed Oakland to take a 32-17 lead with less than three minutes left in the half. Marisa Wolfe (Ford City, Pa.), Womack and Gizelle Studevent (La Jolla, Calif.) combined for a 7-2 run to end the half and cut the Oakland lead to 34-22 at the break.

 

 

Grant and Womack had six points each to pace the Lady Lions in the first half. Oakland's Jeltema led all scorers with 14 first-half tallies. Penn State turned the ball over nine times and shot just 26.9% (7-26) in the first half.

The Lady Lions started the second half on fire with back-to-back layups by Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) and a jumper by Trogele to cut the deficit in half (34-28) just a minute and a half into the second frame. However, Oakland rattled off an 11-3 run to establish a 45-31 lead with 15:42 on the clock. Phillips registered consecutive baskets to pull the Lions within 10 points before Oakland's Bethany Watterworth drained a three-pointer to push the lead back to 48-35 with 13:29 to play.

Grant ignited the Lady Lions' comeback with a three-pointer that started a 26-3 run over the next seven and a half minutes. Grant scored Penn State's first nine points of the run and half of the Lady Lions' total points during the spurt. Wolff continued the run with a layup off of a great pass from Phillips, while Trogele accounted for six points and Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) added a three-pointer.

After the squads swapped baskets, Oakland pushed its way back into the game with an 8-2 run to pull within three points (64-61) with 2:23 on the clock. Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) gave the Lady Lions a bit of a cushion with a three-pointer, her first points of the game, to make it a 67-61 game with two minutes remaining. The Golden Grizzlies had one last rally in them as they scored the game's next three points to pull within one possession (67-64) with 53 seconds left, but Grant sealed the win for Penn State with a pair of free throws.

GAME NOTES: Penn State finished the non-conference season 8-2...The Lady Lions improve to 2-0 vs. Summit League opponents...Emily Phillips recorded a career-high eight points. Her previous career-best was seven vs. Buffalo on Nov. 27...Phillips also set career marks for field goals made (4) and minutes played (27)...Julia Trogele tied her career-high for field goals with six...Alex Bentley recorded a career-high six rebounds...Marisa Wolfe tied her career-high in points with four...With her two blocked shots, Tyra Grant moved into a tie for 15th in program history with Tanisha Wright with 61 blocks...With a blocked shot, Nikki Greene moved into a tie for eighth place all-time for most blocks in a freshman season with 19.

After taking a break for the holidays, the Lady Lions close out their four-game homestand with their Big Ten home opener against Iowa on Mon., Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. It is "Take a Kid to the Game" night with the offering of a free youth ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket. Following the Iowa game, the Lady Lions will head to Illinois (Dec. 31) and Northwestern (Jan. 3). Single-game tickets can be purchased by calling the Penn State ticket office at 814-865-5555.

The 2010 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m., as the Lady Lions take on Illinois in the Bryce Jordan Center. The game can be seen on www.bigtennetwork.com. The first three Pink Zone events have raised more than $80,000 for breast cancer awareness. This year's fundraising efforts will benefit the Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, 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.

The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow head coach Coquese Washington (@psucoachquese), sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) and the Lady Lions and assistant coaches (@pennstatewbb) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook. Search Lady Lion Basketball and become a fan.

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