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Feb. 24, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The No. 11/15 Penn State Lady Lions (22-5, 12-3) close out their regular-season against Minnesota (14-15, 6-9) Sunday for a 2 p.m. tip in the Bryce Jordan Center. Sunday will be a special day as it is the Sixth Annual WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State, as well as Senior Day for Zhaque Gray. The Lady Lions, who clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 2004, can claim the title outright with a win. For every single-game ticket sold for Sunday's game, $3 will be donated to the Pink Zone fundraising efforts. As always, Penn State students will get in for free and the first 100 PSU students will get a Pink Zone t-shirt, courtesy of the Lady Lion Cager Club, and the first 200 PSU students will be entered to win a Nike Lady Lion jersey. The game will be televised on the Big Ten with Dan Kelly, Patricia Babcock-McGraw and Dave Leno describing play.
SENIOR DAY: The Lady Lions will honor senior Zhaque Gray in a pregame Senior Day ceremony. Senior Day festivities will begin at 1:40 p.m.
2012 WBCA PINK ZONE: The 2012 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. 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.
TEXT TO DONATE: Fans can text "PSUPINK" to 50555 to donate $10 to the Pink Zone at Penn State fundraising efforts.
PROMOTIONS: For every single-game ticket sold for Sunday's game, $3 will be donated to the Pink Zone fundraising efforts. Additionally, Penn State Alumni Association members can buy tickets for $5. As always, Penn State students will get in for free. The first 100 PSU students will also receive an official Pink Zone t-shirt, courtesy of the Lady Lion Cager Club.
GIVEAWAYS: Fans will receive a blinking pink ribbon pin while supplies last at the gates.
HALFTIME: Grammy Award winning performer Regina Belle will perform at halftime as the Lady Lion honor breast cancer survivors on the court.
POSTGAME: The Lady Lions will auction off their game-used Pink Zone jerseys in a live postgame auction.
TELEVISION: The game will air on the Big Ten Network with Dan Kelly, Patricia Babcock-McGraw and Dave Leno on the call.
RADIO/LIVE STATS: The game is on the Penn State Sports Network and on ESPN 1450 locally with Jerry Fisher and Brian Tripp calling the action. The audio feed and live stats are available at www.GoPSUsports.com.
LAST TIME OUT: In front of a raucous crowd of 5,209 fans, the No. 11/17 Lady Lions clinched a share of their first Big Ten title since 2004 with a wire-to-wire win over No. 8/11 Ohio State, 84-66. The Lady Lions had three players record double-doubles, led by junior Nikki Greene's career-high 25-point, 15-rebound performance. Joining Greene in a tremendous effort from the post players was junior Mia Nickson, who registered her third double-double of the season with 18 points and 15 boards. Sophomore Maggie Lucas posted her first career double-double with 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
SCOUTING MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers are 14-15 overall and 6-9 in Big Ten play, including wins over Michigan State, Ohio State and Nebraska. Rachel Banham continues to have a solid freshman campaign, leading the team in scoring (16.3) and being second in rebounding (5.3). Kiara Buford chips in 13.4 points with 3.2 assists per outing, while Katie Loberg tallies 9.1 points and a team-best 6.3 rebounds per game.
ALL-TIME VS. THE GOPHERS: The Lady Lions are 23-11 all-time against Minnesota and have won the last three meetings between the teams, including a 68-65 win in Minneapolis Feb. 5. Penn State is 13-3 in home games against the Golden Gophers. The last time the teams met in the BJC, the Lady Lions claimed a 58-54 win on Jan. 13, 2011.
LAST TIME VS. MINN: Junior guard Alex Bentley connected on a three-pointer with 38.9 seconds left to lift the Lady Lions to a 68-65 win at Minnesota Feb. 5. Additionally, sophomore guard Maggie Lucas became the third sophomore and 34th player overall in Penn State history to reach 1,000 career points. Mia Nickson was 5-for-9 from the field and 10-for-12 from the free throw line en route to a season-high 20 points. She narrowly missed out on a double-double with nine rebounds.
PINK ZONE CHAMPION AWARD: The Third Annual Penn State Lady Lion Basketball Pink Zone Champion Award will be given to Steve Falke and the Penn State Bookstore for their generosity in supporting the WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State. The Penn State Bookstore has been a key sponsor of the Pink Zone at Penn State for all six years. Falke and the Penn State Bookstore have donated more than $59,000 in the five-year history of Pink Zone at Penn State through t-shirt sales and other donations and are hoping for another big number again after this year's sales are tallied. The Penn State women's basketball team gives out the Lady Lion Basketball Pink Zone Champion Award at each year's Pink Zone game. This award recognizes those who help champion our cause in finding the cure for breast cancer. The individuals or groups will be chosen to be honored because they have made significant contributions in the area of breast cancer awareness, prevention, education, treatment, research or care.
OFFICIAL PINK ZONE T-SHIRTS: The Official 2012 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State t-shirt is available at all Penn State Bookstore location. This year, there is an official adult shirt that is $15 with $5 of every shirt going to the Pink Zone fundraising efforts, as well as an official youth shirt that is $10 with $2 of every shirt going to Pink Zone.
LUCAS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Maggie Lucas claimed her first career Big Ten Player of the Week award after leading the Lady Lions to a pair of ranked wins and a share of the Big Ten regular-season title for the first time since 2004. Lucas averaged 20.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in wins over #17/19 Purdue and #8/11 Ohio State. Lucas is the first Lady Lion to earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors since Tyra Grant claimed the award on Jan. 27, 2009. In Thursday's road win at #17/19 Purdue, Lucas was 10-for-18 from the field, including 5-for-7 from three-point range, en route to a game-high 28 points. She also pulled in two rebounds and had an assist against the Boilers. Lucas posted her first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in Penn State's win over #8/11 Ohio State that clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and the #1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament on Monday night. Lucas also had an assist and three steals versus the Buckeyes.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONS: The Lady Lions clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season title for the first time since 2004 with an 84-66 win over #8/11 Ohio State Feb. 20. With the win, Penn State clinched the top seed and a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament, March 1-4 in Indianapolis. It is Penn State's first No. 1 seed since 2004 and the fifth in program history (1995, 2000, 2003, 2004).
BIG TEN WINS: The Lady Lions picked up with 12th Big Ten win of the season. The 12 victories are the most by a Penn State team since the 2004-05 squad went 13-3 in conference play.
TOP 10 WIN: The Lady Lions never trailed as they defeated #8/11 Ohio State Feb. 20 to secure their first win over a Top 10 team since defeating #11/10 Duke (86-84) in the inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Dec. 2, 2007. The 84-66 win over the Buckeyes also marked the first double-digit win over a Top 10 foe since topping #10 Minnesota (81-68) on Jan. 30, 2005. Additionally, the victory over the Buckeyes was the highest-ranked win for the Lady Lions since topping #8 Michigan State (73-56) on Jan. 23, 2004.
FOUR RANKED WINS: The Lady Lions' win over #8/11 Ohio State Feb. 20 was the fourth win for Penn State this season. It is the first time since the 2004-05 that the Lady Lions have picked up three ranked wins in a season. The 2004-05 squad defeated six ranked teams - North Carolina (#2), Ohio State (#7), Iowa (#18), Purdue (#23), Michigan State (#8) and Minnesota (#10).
BACK-TO-BACK TOP 20 WINS: The Purdue and Ohio State wins gave the Lady Lions back-to-back victories over Top 20 opponents for the first time since the 1999-00 season. The 1999-00 squad defeated #10 Iowa State (March 25) and #3 Lousiana Tech (March 23) in the NCAA Tournament.
DOUBLE VISION: The Lady Lions had three player register double-doubles in the win over #8/11 Ohio State Feb. 20. Nikki Greene led the way for Penn State with a career-high 25 points and season-best 15 rebounds, while fellow post player Mia Nickson chipped in 18 points and 15 boards and sophomore Maggie Lucas earned her first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. This was the first time that three Lady Lions have recorded double-doubles in the same game since Brianne O'Rourke (12 points, 13 assists), Julia Trogele (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Janessa Wolff (15 points, 10 rebounds) accomplished the feat against Coppin State on November 29, 2008.
GREENE CONTROLS POST: Junior center Nikki Greene dominated the post in the win over #8/11 Ohio State Feb. 20 with a career-high 25 points and a season-best 15 rebounds for her second double-double of the season and ninth of her career. Greene's 25 tallies surpass her previous career mark of 24 points against Utah on Nov. 25, 2010 in Cancun, Mexico. She is the first Lady Lion to post a double-double with more than 20 points and 10 rebounds since Mia Nickson accomplished the feat against Indiana on Jan. 23, 2011.
NICKSON HITS 500 IN BLUE & WHITE: Redshirt junior Mia Nickson surpassed the 500-point mark for her Penn State career with 18 tallies against Ohio State Feb. 20. She has 508 markers as a Lady Lion and 553 points for her collegiate career.
The Lady Lions head to Indianapolis for the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. Penn State is the #1 seed and will face the winner of the #8 vs. #9 game at 6 p.m. Friday. The Lady Lions are the top seed for the first time since 2004. Penn State is 23-15 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament with tourney championships in 1995 and 1996.
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