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Dec. 28, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - Senior Tyra Grant (Youngstown, Ohio) scored 11 of her game-high 28 points in overtime to lead the Penn State Lady Lions (9-3, 1-1) to a thrilling 77-73 victory over Iowa (7-6, 0-2) in the Big Ten home opener at the Bryce Jordan Center Monday night. The win snaps Penn State's five-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes and improves the Lady Lions to 20-16 all-time against Iowa.
Grant was 13-for-14 from the free throw line on the way to the 32nd 20-point performance of her career. With the effort, she also moved into seventh place on Penn State's career scoring list (1,675), passing Lisa Shepherd. Grant also accounted for six rebounds and three steals. Junior Janessa Wolff (Park Rapids, Minn.) was solid in relief for the Lady Lions with 10 points, eight rebounds and a blocked shot in 18 minutes, while freshman Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Sophomore Renee Womack (Lansdale, Pa.) was a defensive stopper for the Lady Lions as she rejected a Kachine Alexander shot that would have won the game at the end of regulation. Womack tallied seven points, eight rebounds, a career-high three blocks, two steals and four assists. Junior Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) was 3-for-4 from the field and perfect from the free throw line (2-for-2) en route to eight points. She also had three rebounds and three assists. Freshman Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) blocked a career-high four shots to go along with four points and six rebounds.
The Hawkeyes got on the board first with a Kachine Alexander layup 43 second into the game, but the Lady Lions responded with a 6-0 run thanks to a pair of Bentley baskets and a layup by Greene. Iowa came back to tie the game at 12-12 with 13:40 left in the opening period, but the Lions took control again with a Greene layup, a rebounds and jumper by Bentley and a layup by Wolff to gain an 18-12 advantage with less than eight minutes on the clock.
Iowa rallied to pull within two points on a Kelly Krei three-point play with 6:42 remaining, but a layup by Trogele sparked an 8-0 run. Trogele also accounted for a pair of free throws, while Grant added a layup and Wolff drained to freebies to give the Lady Lions a 28-18 lead with 4:37 remaining. The Hawkeyes immediately responded with a 6-0 run of their own to climb within four points (28-24) with three and a half minutes left in the first.
Following a three-point play by Grant, the Hawkeyes went on a 6-2 run to make it a 33-31 game with 27 seconds left. However, Grant responded immediately with a three-pointer with 19 seconds left to give the Lady Lions a 36-31 lead heading into the half.
The Lady Lions shot 51.7% (15-29) from the field in the opening half, led by Grant with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Bentley added eight points and two assists for the Lions.
Penn State came out in the second half and added to its lead with a Grant steal and layup to take a 38-31 lead at the 17:16 mark. The squads swapped baskets until a rebound and layup by Meredith Monroe (Olney, Md.) pushed the lead to 10 points (49-39) with just under 12 minutes to play. However, the Hawkeyes wouldn't go away, using a 12-1 run to take their first lead since the opening minute of the game at 51-50 with just under eight minutes left in the game.
A pair of Wolff free throws put the Lions back in front, but the Hawkeyes responded with a three-pointer by Kamille Wahlin to go ahead by a 54-52 margin with seven minutes to play. However, Penn State went on a 6-1 run to take a three-point lead (58-55) with less than four minutes on the clock. Wahlin drained a three-pointer to start a 7-0 run for the Hawkeyes to give Iowa a 62-58 lead with two minutes left in the game.
On the ensuing Penn State possession, Grant was fouled and made both of her free throw attempts to bring the Lions within two points with 1:45 on the clock. The Lions forced the Hawkeyes into a pair of missed layups and on the second miss, Wolff pulled down the rebound and was fouled. Wolff converted on both freebies to tie the game at 62-62 with 1:16 remaining. Neither team was able to break the tie in the final minute and the game went into overtime.
The extra period started with an athletic putback by Womack to put Penn State ahead, but Krei went 1-for-2 from the free throw line on the ensuing Iowa possession. The teams swapped baskets before Wahlin netted a three-pointer to put Iowa up by two (68-66) with less than three minutes left. Penn State tied the game with a jumper by Grant, but the Hawkeyes responded with a layup Krei.
On the Lady Lions' next possession, Grant converted on a three-point play to start an individual 7-0 run to give Penn State a 75-70 lead with six seconds remaining. Wahlin drained a three-pointer with three seconds remaining to pull within two points. Iowa called consecutive timeouts, but was assessed a technical foul as the Hawkeyes only had one timeout remaining. Grant drained both free throws for the final margin.
GAME NOTES: Tyra Grant registered her 32nd career 20-point game and sixth this season with a game-high 28 points ... Grant passed Lisa Shepherd for seventh place on Penn State's career scoring list with 1,675 tallies ... Penn State snaps a five-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes ... Freshman Nikki Greene had a career-high four blocked shots ... Sophomore Renee Womack rejected a career-best three shots ... The Lady Lions are now 20-6 all-time against the Hawkeyes ... This was the second overtime game between the squads in the last three meetings.
The Lady Lions head to Illinois (Dec. 31) and Northwestern (Jan. 3) following the Iowa game. Penn State returns to the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday, Jan. 10 against Indiana at noon. 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.