UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. January 22, 2004 - Kelly Mazzante (Montoursville, Pa.) scored 29 points Thursday night in No. 7/8 Penn State's 75-56 win over No. 9/9 Minnesota, in the process breaking the Big Ten all-time scoring mark of 2,613 held by Indiana's Calbert Cheaney. Mazzante, a two-time Kodak All-American and Wade Trophy candidate, now has 2,623 career points, more than any other player in Big Ten Conference history.
The Lady Lions (14-3, 7-0) used stifling defense and forced the Golden Gophers (15-2, 4-2) into 19 turnovers on the game, a contest played in front of 9,879 at the Bryce Jordan Center, and a win that kept the Lady Lions as the only perfect team in Big Ten Conference play. The win also extended the Lady Lions' record over Top-10 teams to 4-0 this year. Junior Tanisha Wright (West Mifflin, Pa.), the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, led the defensive effort, holding Minnesota's leading scorer Lindsay Whalen to 15 points, seven under her season average. She also kept Whalen from breaking the Minnesota school scoring record, a mark Whalen is one point away from tying. Wright also added nine points, seven rebounds and seven assists, the latter both game highs.
Lady Lions Head Coach Rene Portland got quality minutes out of two freshmen, including Amanda Brown (Kennett Square, Pa.) who chipped in 10 points, and starting 6'6" center Reicina Russell (Indianapolis, Ind.) who overcame early foul trouble to convert several key second-half buckets, while also causing trouble for the Golden Gophers defensively, swatting four shots in the game.
The two teams came out hot, each shooting at a 48.1 percent clip in the first half, highlighted by Mazzante's four 3 pointers in the stanza. After a back-and-forth half, the two teams went into the break knotted at 34 points apiece. Mazzante, meanwhile, finished the game with six 3-pointers.
The Lady Lions head to the road for their next two games, beginning Sunday, Jan. 25 at Ohio State, and then Thurs. Jan. 29 at St. Joseph's before returning home Feb. 1 for a matchup against Northwestern.
Fans can purchase single game tickets at the Bryce Jordan Center ticket windows weekdays from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fans also can call 800-863-3336 or 865-5555 locally or order tickets online at www.GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.
RENE PORTLAND QUOTES
"We're thrilled. This is a big time win with a big time challenge ahead of us. Obviously, Minnesota is a great team with some great players and I thought our players, especially came out in the second half and played a great game. But they kept their composure in the first (half). Obviously, Kelly breaking the record, again, is something that is exciting for her and her family. It puts Penn State in a very special place in the Big Ten history books and we all should be very proud of that. The little things. Foul shots and we can take care of them. But I do think our defensive intensity in the second half made a major difference."
Concern coming in was Minnesota's post game. But you got some unexpected points from the post.
"Yeah we did. Reicina (Russell) got herself into foul trouble quick. Ashley (Schwab) went in and didn't really help us offensively, but occupied defensively. And then Amanda came up with some trash stuff to be quite honest. Just her natural instincts gave us some nice points when we needed them. But I think they did a terrific job playing her."
How many changes did you make at the half?
"I think we made some changes, but I always have credited every team that we have for how they speak to each other before we even walk in the locker room. The coaches don't go in for about five minutes. We stand in the hallway. I trust that our leaders are speaking and that they are remembering things that we were saying and that everybody respects each other and I think that works."
Did you ever consider going to that trap earlier on?
"We have to be in shape to do that. Unfortunately, we still aren't getting what we should off our bench. I was real disappointed with myself at halftime for not throwing a few people into the wolves in the first half, but I just think that they gutted it out. We subbed earlier in the second half and had enough energy to make it through the whole half."
PENN STATE PLAYER QUOTES
Thoughts on Lindsay Whalen.
"I wasn't only thinking about her presence tonight but the whole team's as well. We knew they were coming off a loss. This was a big game for us and everyone had to contribute."
Are you aware of your surroundings with the fans cheering for the records?
"This game I just wanted to keep playing. When I broke the record, Rene (Portland) told me to wave and then I just wanted to get back out there."
What were your thoughts when Minnesota started to come back in the second half?
"We don't panic in those situations. We know that teams will come back and we just needed to get to the foul line and score."
What was the difference between the first and second half?
"Both teams were scoring in the first half and we were just trying to get stops. We just had to rebound in the second and we were effective doing that."
How would you sum up all of the records you have broken?
"I won't think about them until I'm gone. My teammates, coaches and the fans have made every record special and I just want to thank them all."
On guarding Lindsay Whalen.
"I knew she would be tough but the whole team was there to help and step up if she got around me. I was excited to guard her because she is a great player."
On her overall defense in the game.
"I don't think I've lost myself. We are all allowed to have one bad defensive game. Tonight I came out strong and I think I was effective."
Lady Lion Basketball
Game Notes - 1/22/04 vs. #9/9 Minnesota
- With the 19-point win, the Lady Lions improve to 18-2 in the all-time series versus Minnesota. The Lady Lions also improve to 4-0 in games versus top-10 foes and 7-2 against top 25 opponents.
- Penn State won its seventh consecutive game, all coming against conference opponents.
- Minnesota lost its first road game of the season, falling to 8-1 away from home.
- Penn State's Kelly Mazzante broke Calbert Cheaney's all-time Big Ten scoring record, scoring her 2,614th point, a fast break lay-up, with 15:57 remaining in the game.
- Mazzante finished the game with 29 points for her 10th 20-plus point performance of the season. Penn State is 8-2 in such games.
- Each team shot an identical 13-of-27 from the floor in the first half, while each sinking four three-pointers and four free throws.
- The Lady Lions forced 19 Golden Gopher turnovers, while committing just nine and holding a 25-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
- Penn State improves to 14-0 this season when allowing fewer than 70 points.
- The Lady Lion defense held Minnesota to just 22 points on seven-of-25 shooting in tonight's second half. It was Minnesota's lowest scoring output in a half this season.
- Penn State also held Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen, the Big Ten's No. 2-ranked scorer (21.8 ppg) to 15 points on just three-of-eight shooting. Her three field goals and eight field goal attempts are both season-lows.
- Penn State's Jess Strom recorded four steals in tonight's contest, giving her 14 straight games with two or more steals. The junior point guard entered tonight's contest second in the Big Ten in steals with her 3.00 steals per contest.
- Freshman Amanda Brown dumped in double-digit points for the third time in her career; each double-figure effort has come in the team's last five games.
For the complete box score in PDF format [click here]