No. 16/17 Lady Lions Come Up Short Against No. 23/RV Nebraska
Dec. 30, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The #16/17 Penn State Lady Lions (10-3, 0-1 Big Ten) scored just seven points over the final 12:53 on the way to a 71-63 loss to #23/RV Nebraska (12-1, 1-0) in the Big Ten opener in front of 5,116 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center. Junior Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) had 22 points to go along with a career-high eight steals. The eight thefts are the most by a Lady Lion since Kelly Mazzante had eight steals against Fairfield on Dec. 2, 2001.
Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) tallied 18 points to go along with seven rebounds and a pair of assists, but did not score in the final 16:40. Junior center Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) came up one short of her first double-double of the season with nine points and a season-best 15 rebounds. She also rejected a pair of shots and had four steals. Junior post player Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) returned after missing six games with a concussion to tally four points and seven rebounds.
Greene opened the scoring with a rebound and layup to start a 10-2 Penn State run to open the game. Lucas accounted for four points, while Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Nickson added two points each in the run. Following a Nebraska bucket, Lucas converted on an old-fashioned three-point play and Bentley had a steal and layup on the ensuing Cornhusker possession.
Following a exchange of scores, the Cornhuskers clicked off a 9-0 run to pull within two at 17-15 with 11:29 remaining. The lead remained two for the next several possessions until Greene went to the line for a pair of free throws. She converted on the first and missed the second but Nickson pulled in the rebound and found Bentley for a three-pointer and a 23-17 lead with less than nine minutes left in the half. However, Nebraska scored 13 of the game's next 17 points to take a 30-27 lead with 4:32 on the clock.
Penn State responded with back-to-back buckets by Lucas and Bentley to move ahead, 31-30, but the Cornhuskers tallied the next five points to surge ahead 35-31 with 2:39 on the clock. Lucas converted on a pair of free throws and Bentley had a layup to pull the Lady Lions even at 35-35 before a Jordan Hooper three-pointer gave the Cornhuskers the lead with 1:40 to play. Following a free throw by Bentley, Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) closed out the half with a layup to send the teams into the break tied at 38-38.
Lucas led all scorers with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. She also pulled in four rebounds. Bentley also reached double figures with 12 points and five steals. Greene added five points and four rebounds in just six minutes of action.
The Cornhuskers continued their momentum from the end of the first half as they scored the first five points of the second frame to establish a 43-38 lead just over a minute in. Penn State clicked off a 7-0 spurt with three points by Lucas and two points each by Bentley and Greene to take a 45-43 lead with just over 17 minutes remaining.
Following a Hooper three-pointer, the Lady Lions went on an 11-1 run to take a 56-47 lead with just under 13 minutes to play. Bentley accounted for five points during the run and Lucas, Edwards and East added two points each. The Cornhuskers came back strong, outscoring Penn State 24-7 in the final 12:53 for the win.
GAME NOTES: Penn State is now 2-1 all-time against Nebraska and 1-1 at home against the Huskers ... The Lady Lions are 12-9 all-time in Big Ten openers and are 15-6 in Big Ten home openers ... Junior Alex Bentley had a career-high eight steals. The last time a Lady Lion tallied eight steals was on Dec. 2, 2001 when Kelly Mazzante recorded eight against Fairfield ... Bentley is moved past Nancy Kuhl (1,061) for 30th place on Penn State's career scoring list. Bentley now has 1,073 career points ... Sophomore Maggie Lucas passed the 800-point milestone with 18 points. She now has 801 for her career ... Junior Nikki Greene tied her career-high with four steals ... Greene also led the team with 15 rebounds. The last time a Lady Lion tallied 15 boards was on Nov. 20, 2011 when Talia East posted 15 vs. South Carolina ... Greene is now tied with Kelly Mazzante in the Penn State records with 563 career rebounds ... Junior Mia Nickson returned after missing six games and tied for second on the team with seven rebounds.
The Lady Lions visit Wisconsin on Jan. 2 before returning home to meet Michigan State on Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. in a CBS game. The game is a Subway Full Court 4-Pack where fans can get four tickets, a voucher for four Subway subs and four sodas for $40. Also, Penn State Alumni Association members can get tickets for $5. Lady Lion Basketball season tickets are available by calling 814-867-2557. Season tickets are $117 for adults, $52 for youth and $91 for seniors. Single game tickets go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 11. 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 2012 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26 as the Lady Lions take on Minnesota in the Bryce Jordan Center. Last year, the Lady Lions donated nearly $200,000 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, 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.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.