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Feb. 27, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The #7/7 Penn State Lady Lions (23-3, 13-1 Big Ten) begin the final week of the regular-season and a two-game road trip at Minnesota (16-12, 5-9) with a 9 p.m. (ET) tip on the Big Ten Network. Having already clinched a share of their second-straight Big Ten title, the Lady Lions can clinch the crown outright with a win Thursday evening. Eric Collins and Debbie Antonelli will have the call for the BTN.
TV: The game will air live on the Big Ten Network with Eric Collins (PBP) and Debbie Antonelli (color) describing play.
RADIO/LIVE STATS: The game is on the Penn State Sports Network and ESPN Radio 1450 locally with Jerry Fisher and Brian Tripp calling the action. A link to the audio feed and GameTracker are available at www.GoPSUsports.com.
LAST TIME OUT: With 14,173 fans, including a record 621 breast cancer survivors, filling the Bryce Jordan Center, the #7/9 Penn State Lady Lions clinched a share of their second-straight and seventh overall Big Ten regular season title with a 68-57 victory over the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday. The Lady Lions sported four players in double-figures with junior Maggie Lucas leading the way with 21 points to go along with five rebounds, two assists and three steals. Senior Alex Bentley accounted for 11 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds, while fellow senior Mia Nickson added 11 tallies and eight rebounds.
SCOUTING MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers are 16-12 overall and 5-9 in Big Ten play. Rachel Banham has consistently been Minnesota's top weapon, averaging team bests of 21.2 points, 3.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Micaëlla Riché also accounts for double figures at a 12.8 per game clip to go along with 7.3 rebounds per outing. Sari Noga chips in 6.9 points per game while connecting on 37% of her shots from three-point range.
ALL-TIME VS. THE GOPHERS: The Lady Lions are 26-11 all-time against Minnesota, including a 64-59 win at home on Jan. 24. Penn State has won its last six games against the Gophers. However, Penn State is just 9-8 in games played in Minneapolis. Last season, the Lady Lions snapped a seven-game losing streak at Williams Arena with a 68-65 victory on Feb. 5, 2012.
LAST TIME VS. MINN: The Lady Lions used four free throws from Maggie Lucas and two steals from Dara Taylor to secure a 64-59 victory over Minnesota on Jan. 24. Senior Nikki Greene became the 35th player in school history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau with nine tallies. Additionally, Greene was big on the boards, grabbing 13 rebounds. Lucas netted 26 points and filled the stat sheet with six rebounds, four assists, three steals and a blocked shots.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONS: The Lady Lions clinched at least a share Big Ten regular-season title for the second-straight year with a 68-57 win over Michigan on Feb. 24. It is the seventh overall regular-season crown for the Lady Lions (1994, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2012). Penn State will serve as the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament for the sixth time in program history (1995, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2012).
BACK-TO-BACK BIG TEN CHAMPS: The 68-57 win over Michigan in front of 14,173 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center clinched at least a share of Penn State's second consecutive Big Ten regular season title. It is the first back-to-back titles for the Lady Lions since the 2002-03 and 2003-04 squads accomplished the feat. The Lady Lions are also the ninth team to claim consecutive championships in Big Ten history, joining Ohio State (6 straight; 2004-05 through 2009-10); Penn State (2002-03 & 2003-04); Purdue (2000-01 & 2001-02); Purdue (1993-94 & 1994-95); Penn State (1993-94 & 1994-95); Iowa (1991-92 & 1992-93); Iowa (4 straight; 1986-87 through 1989-90) and Ohio State (6 straight; 1981-82 through 1986-87).
ANOTHER POW HONOR FOR LUCAS: Junior guard Maggie Lucas was selected as the Feb. 26 Big Ten Player of the Week after averaging 21.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals in two wins for the Lady Lions. This is the third Big Ten Player of the Week honor for Lucas this season (Nov. 26, Dec. 10) and the fourth of her career. Lucas is the first Lady Lion to garner at least three Player of the Week awards in a season since Kelly Mazzante won five weekly honors in the 2003-04 campaign.
BENTLEY & LUCAS ON USBWA WATCH LIST: Senior guard Alex Bentley and junior guard Maggie Lucas are among the 20 players on the 2013 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Midseason Watch List for women's basketball National Player of the Year as voted on by the members of the USBWA. The Penn State duo are the only players from the Big Ten on the list. PSU is also one of five teams to have multiple players on the list. The winner will be selected on April 7 and presented with the award at the Women's Final Four in New Orleans.
PERFECT AT HOME: Penn State rounded out its home season with a 68-57 win over Michigan on Feb. 24. The win secured a perfect 14-0 record in home games for the Lady Lions, marking the first unbeaten home slate since 2004-05. It is also Penn State's 10th unbeaten home season in school history and the fourth in the BJC. The win was also the Lady Lions' 200th win at the Bryce Jordan Center.
4TH LARGEST CROWD: The Lady Lions packed the Bryce Jordan Center on Feb. 24 for the Seventh Annual Pink Zone at Penn State with 14,173 fans, including a record 621 survivors, in attendance. The crowd is the fourth-largest in school history, trailing the two sellouts in 2004 and one near-sellout on Senior Day in 2005.
AB STEALING SPOTS: Senior guard Alex Bentley nabbed four steals in the Feb. 24 win over Michigan to move into 10th place on Penn State's single-season thefts list. She has 97 steals on the year and needs on thefts to move into a tie for eighth place with her own 2011-12 performance and Jess Strom's 2003-04 total. Bentley also needs three steals to become the eighth player in school history to record 100 steals in a season and tie Helen Darling (100; 1999-00) for seventh spot.
LUCAS' LUCKY 500: With 21 tallies against Michigan on Feb. 24, junior guard Maggie Lucas moved into the Top 25 on Penn State's single-season scoring list. With 518 tallies, Lucas sits in 24th place and becomes just the sixth player in school history to have three seasons with 500 or more points. She joins the likes of Kelly Mazzante (4 times), Susan Robinson (4), Kahadeejah Herbert (3), Angie Potthoff (3) and Tanisha Wright (3) as Lady Lions to accomplish the feat. Lucas needs 10 points to move into the Top 20 on the season charts.
THEFT BY A BENTLEY: With four steals versus Michigan on Feb. 24, senior guard Alex Bentley moved into third place on Penn State's all-time steals chart, passing Jess Strom (310; 2002-05) for the spot. Bentley has 313 career thefts and needs one steal to tie Helen Darling (314; 1997-00) for second place all-time.
GREENE CLIMBS INTO FOURTH ON CAROMS LIST: Senior center Nikki Greene moved into fourth place on Penn State's career rebounding chart with eight boards versus Michigan on Feb. 24. With 945 career caroms, she moved past Vicki Link (943; 1984-87) for fourth position.
PICKING UP Ws IN THE BJC: With the 68-57 win over Michigan on Feb. 24 to close out the home slate, the Lady Lions extended their home court winning streak to 20 games, which is the third-longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the fifth-longest streak in school history. The Lady Lions last lost at home Jan. 7, 2012 to Michigan State. In addition, PSU's eight home conference wins are the most for the Lady Lions since 2004-05 (8).
Penn State closes out the regular-season with road games at Minnesota on Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. (ET) and Nebraska on March 2 at 6 p.m. (ET), both of which can be seen on the Big Ten Network.
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.