No. 8/8 Lady Lions Head to the Big Ten Tournament
March 6, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The #8/8 Penn State Lady Lions (24-4, 14-2 Big Ten) claimed their second consecutive Big Ten regular-season title and will now look for their first Big Ten Tournament crown since 1996 when they travel to Hoffman Estates, Ill., for the 2013 Big Ten Tournament. The top-seeded Lady Lions will open action on Friday with a quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. (ET) against the winner of Thursday's Minnesota-Ohio State first round contest. The quarterfinal contest will air live on the Big Ten Network with Kevin Kugler and Stephanie White calling the action.
TV: The quarterfinal and semifinal contests will air live on the Big Ten Network with Kevin Kugler and Stephanie White calling the action. The Championship game will air on ESPN2 with Adam Amin and Stephanie White describing play.
RADIO/LIVE STATS: The game is on the Penn State Sports Network and ESPN 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.
LADY LIONS AT THE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT: The Lady Lions are 24-16 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament and claimed the first two tourney crowns in 1995 and 1996. Last season, Penn State topped #8 seed Minnesota, before falling on a buzzer-beater to #4 seed Purdue in the semifinals. Penn State is 12-3 all-time in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Tournament. In addition, the Lady Lions are 4-5 in the Big Ten Tournament under Coquese Washington, but have won at least one game each of the last three years. PSU is also 2-1 in quarterfinal games under Washington. This is just the second time that the Big Ten Tournament has been held outside of Indianapolis. The only other city to host was Grand Rapids, Mich. in 2001. That year, Penn State lost in the quarterfinals to #5 seed Michigan.
TOP SEED IN THE BTT: Penn State will serve as the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament for the second consecutive season. It is the sixth time in program history that the Lady Lions are the top seed (1995, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2012). The Lady Lions are 9-4 when they are the #1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. PSU won the title in 1995 as the top seed.
SCOUTING #8 SEED MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers finished the regular-season 18-12 overall and 7-9 in Big Ten play. Minnesota is led by sophomore Rachel Banham, who averages 21.0 points and 4.1 assist per game. Micaella Riche accounts for 13.3 points and a team-best 7.5 rebounds per game. She also has 23 blocks on the season.
ALL-TIME VS. THE GOPHERS: The Lady Lions are 26-12 all-time against Minnesota. The teams split the season series this year with each team winning on their home court. After not facing the Gophers in the first 15 Big Ten Tournaments, these teams have met in two out of the last three tourneys. Penn State has won both Big Ten Tournament encounters.
LAST TIME VS. MINNESOTA: Minnesota shot 66.7% from the field on the way to an 89-81 win over the Lady Lions on Feb. 28. The 66.7% shooting mark is a Penn State school record for an opponent. Junior guard Maggie Lucas accounted for a team-best 23 points to go along with two rebounds, three assists and two steals. Alex Bentley added 19 points, three rebounds, three assists and four steals, while Nikki Greene came on strong in the second half scoring all 15 of her points in the second half and pulling in eight of her nine boards after the break.
SCOUTING #9 SEED OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes are 17-12 overall and 7-9 in Big Ten play heading into the Big Ten Tournament. Tayler Hill paces OSU with a 20.9 scoring mark to go along with 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals per outing. Ashley Adams contributes 9.6 points and a team-high 7.0 rebounds for the Buckeyes.
ALL-TIME VS. THE BUCKEYES: The Lady Lions are 33-21 all-time against Ohio State. PSU has won the last two meetings with the Buckeyes. Penn State is 4-5 in Big Ten Tournament games against OSU. Penn State won the only meeting between the squads this year, a 71-56 decision in Columbus on Jan. 27.
LAST TIME VS. OSU: The Lady Lions rallied from an 11-point deficit early in the second half on the way to a 71-56 win at Ohio State on Jan. 27. Senior center Nikki Greene turned in her fourth double-double of the season and 13th of her career with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Maggie Lucas scored 14 of her team-high 18 points in the second half and also added four rebounds, two assists and one steal, while senior guard Alex Bentley chipped in 16 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win.
LUCAS = PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Junior guard Maggie Lucas was selected as the 2013 Big Ten Player of the Year by both the coaches and the media. Lucas is the third Lady Lion (Kelly Mazzante and Helen Darling) to win Player of the Year and the first since Kelly Mazzante won back-to-back honors in 2003 and 2004. Lucas is the first junior to win Player of the Year accolades since Ohio State's Jantel Lavender in 2010.
COQUESE WINS COACH OF THE YEAR, AGAIN: Penn State mentor Coquese Washington won her second consecutive Big Ten Coach of the Year award from the media. She is the first PSU coach to win back-to-back COY honors since Rene Portland won the award in 2003 and 2004. This is the fifth time in Big Ten history that a coach has won back-to-back Coach of the Year accolades.
BACKCOURT NAMED TO FIRST TEAM: Junior guard Maggie Lucas and senior guard Alex Bentley were named to the All-Big Ten first team. Lucas was a unanimous selection by the coaches. Bentley garners first team accolades for the third time in her career, making her the fifth player in program history to earn the honor three or more times. She joins Tina Nicholson (1994, 1995, 1996), Angie Potthoff (1995, 1996, 1997), Kelly Mazzante (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) and Tanisha Wright (2003, 2004, 2005) as the only players to garner first team honors three or more times in their career. Lucas is the first unanimous selection for the Lady Lions since Tanisha Wright in 2005. Lucas is also the 10th Lady Lion to win first team accolades multiple times in a career.
MORE BIG TEN ACCOLADES: Senior center Nikki Greene was selected third team All-Big Ten by the coaches and honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media. It is the third all-conference selection for Greene, who was a media third team choice and coaches honorable mention choice last year and an honorable mention recipient in 2011 by the media. Guards Alex Bentley and Dara Taylor were named to the Big Ten All-Defensive team. It is Bentley's second consecutive berth on the defensive squad. PSU has had a representative on the team each of the last three seasons. Senior guard Gizelle Studevent was Penn State's Sportsmanship Award recipient.
BIG TEN STATS TITLES: Maggie Lucas tied for the Big Ten lead in three-point field goal percentage in conference play with a .430 mark. She is the first Lady Lion to win the Big Ten long range percentage crown since Jess Brungo shot .487 from deep in 2000-01. Lucas is the fourth Penn State player to win the three-point field goal percentage title (Brungo, Lisa Shepherd - twice, Tina Nicholson) and it is the fifth time that a Lady Lion claimed the title. The Lady Lions led the Big Ten in scoring offense in conference play with a 74.4 mark, nearly six points better than the second-ranked team. Penn State wins back-to-back scoring titles for the first time since accomplishing the feat in 1994 and 1995. It is the seventh overall scoring crown for the Lady Lions. The Lady Lions shot .435 from the field in league play to finish atop the Big Ten in field goal percentage for the first time in school history. It is the first time in nine years that Ohio State hasn't won the field goal percentage title. PSU also led the league in three-point field goal percentage (.393) for the fourth time in school history and first time since 2011. Penn State is the first team to ever lead the conference in scoring offense, field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage in a Big Ten season.
WINS UNDER COQUESE: The Lady Lions have increased their Big Ten win total in each of Coquese Washington's six seasons in Happy Valley. Penn State won four games in Washington's first year and improved to six wins in 2008-09. In Washington's third year, PSU had eight wins before collecting 11 victories in 2010-11 and 13 wins a year ago. This season, the Lady Lions collected 14 conference wins, the most since the 2003-04 team went 15-1.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONS: The Lady Lions clinched the Big Ten regular-season title outright for the second-straight year with an 82-67 win at Nebraska on Mar. 3. The back-to-back titles are the first for the program since the 2002-03 and 2003-04 squads accomplished the feat. This is the fifth outright regular-season title for the Lady Lions (2000, 2003, 2004, 2012). PSU is the ninth team to claim consecutive championships in Big Ten history. Penn State has won seven overall regular season crowns (1994, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2012). The Lady Lions earned the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Ten Tournament for the sixth time in program history (1995, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2012). Penn State's 14-2 Big Ten record is the best since the 2003-04 squad went 15-1.
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