Lady Lions Face Top Seed UConn in NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Sunday

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Ariel Edwards


Ariel Edwards

March 23, 2012

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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The No. 4 seed Penn State Lady Lions (26-6, 13-3) continue their NCAA Tournament run against No. 1 seed Connecticut (31-4, 13-3 Big East) on Sunday at 4:34 p.m. in Kingston, R.I. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and available on ESPN3.com.

The Penn State-UConn contest will be the first game of a doubleheader with No. 2 seed Kentucky (27-6, 13-3 SEC) facing No. 11Gonzaga (28-5, 14-2 West Coast) 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game on ESPN2. The winner of each game will face off in an Elite Eight matchup on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

TELEVISION: The Kingston Regional games air on ESPN2 with Dave O'Brien, Doris Burke and Holly Rowe on the call. The games are also available on ESPN3.com.

RADIO/GAMETRACKER: The game is on the Penn State Sports Network and on ESPN 1450 locally with Jerry Fisher calling the action. The audio feed and link to GameTracker are available at www.GoPSUsports.com for free.

SWEET SIXTEEN: With wins over #13 UTEP and #5 LSU, the Lady Lions advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2004 and the 12th time in program history. Penn State is 4-7 all-time in Regional Semifinal games.

LUCAS AND DOTY REUNITED: Sophomore guard Maggie Lucas will be reunited with high school teammate Caroline Doty as Lucas' Lady Lions face Doty's UConn Huskies in the Sweet Sixteen. The pair played together at Germantown Academy for Lucas' freshman and sophomore seasons. The Patriots won the Inter-Ac in Lucas's freshman and sophomore seasons. Doty was unable to play Lucas' sophomore season due to a knee injury, but was one the team. The pair even has a friendly trick shot video competition between them.

#1 VS. #4: The Lady Lions are 1-3 in games where the #1 seed and #4 seed face off. Penn State's only win came when the Lady Lions were the #1 seed in the 1994 NCAA Tournament and topped #4 seed Seton Hall, 64-60 in Austin, Texas. Penn State's three losses to the top seed were to USC in 1982 (73-70), Connecticut in 2002 (82-64) and Tennessee in 2003 (86-58). The #1 seed is 63-15 all-time against #4 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

RHODE ISLAND HISTORY: The Lady Lions have a bit of history at the University of Rhode Island as the Rams were an Atlantic 10 counterpart from 1984-91. During that time, the Lady Lions were 6-1 in games played at Keaney Gymnasium in Kingston. Overall the Lions are 9-1 in games played in the Ocean State (3-0 in Providence).

SCOUTING UCONN: The top-seeded Huskies move into the Sweet Sixteen after dominating wins over #16 seed Prairie View A&M (83-47) and #8 seed Kansas State (72-26). Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is one of the top freshmen in the country, averaging 15.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. She also has 61 assists and 45 steals in 35 games this year. Tiffany Hayes (14.8), Bria Hartley (13.8) and Stefanie Dolson (10.1) also average double figures for a UConn offense that is sixth in the NCAA. Additionally, the Huskies defense is tops in Division I, allowing just 45.1 points per game.

ALL-TIME VS. THE HUSKIES: The Lady Lions are 3-6 all-time against Connecticut, but have lost six in a row to the Huskies. Each of the last six meetings between the teams have been at neutral sites, including three in the NCAA Tournament. The teams last met in the 2008-09 campaign in the Maggie Dixon Classic with the Huskies earning the 77-63 win.

NCAA TOURNEY VS. UCONN: Penn State and Connecticut have met three times in the NCAA Tournament with the Huskies winning all three contests. The last NCAA Tournament encounter between the teams saw UConn hand Penn State a 66-49 loss in the Elite 8 of the 2004 Tournament. The Huskies also posted an 82-64 win over the Lady Lions in the 2002 Sweet Sixteen and topped Penn State, 89-67, in the 2000 Final Four.

LAST TIME VS. UCONN: The Lady Lions put up a strong fight against No. 1/1 Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2008, but the Huskies handed the Lady Lions a 77-63 loss in the Third Annual Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden. Tyra Grant poured in 26 points and tallied eight rebounds and three steals to lead the offensive charge for Penn State. Mashea Williams added 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Brianne O'Rourke was the third player in double figures with 13 points to go along with six assists and two steals.

SCOUTING KENTUCKY: The second-seeded Wildcats claimed a Sweet Sixteen bid after wins over #15 seed McNeese State (68-62) and #7 seed UW-Green Bay (65-62). A'dia Mathies paces the high-powered Kentucky offense with a 15.2 scoring average. She also pulls in 5.2 rebounds per game and averages 2.6 steals. Bria Goss chips in 11.0 rebounds per game, while Keyla Snowden tallies 9.2 points per outing.

ALL-TIME VS. THE WILDCATS: The Lady Lions have never met Kentucky in women's basketball. Penn State is 22-27 against SEC teams, including a 2-0 mark this season with wins over South Carolina and LSU.

SCOUTING GONZAGA: The #11 seeded Bulldogs earned their spot in the Sweet Sixteen with upset wins over #6 seed Rutgers (86-73) and #3 seed Miami (65-54). Kayla Standish leads Gonzaga in scoring (16.1) and rebounding (7.7), while Katelan Redmon adds 13.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Haiden Palmer also averages double figures for the Zags at a 12.7 clip.

ALL-TIME VS. THE ZAGS: The Lady Lions have never met Gonzaga on the hardwood. Additionally, Penn State has never played a team from the West Coast Conference.

LAST TIME OUT: Maggie Lucas netted five three-pointers and was 11-for-11 from the free throw line to lead the fourth-seeded Lady Lions past the host and No. 5 seed LSU, 90-80, Tuesday. Lucas finished with 30 points for her second career 30-point game. Mia Nickson posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Ariel Edwards was a spark off of the bench with 15 points in 18 minutes.

ALEX ALL-REGION: Junior guard Alex Bentley was named as one of the 52 All-Region nominees for the 2012 Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division I Coaches' All-America Team. She is the first Lady Lion to garner WBCA All-Region accolades since Amanda Brown took home honors in 2007. Bentley is the 15th different Penn State player to earn All-Region accolades, joining the likes of Kelly Mazzante, Helen Darling, Maren Walseth, Susan Robinson, Suzie McConnell and Kahadeejah Herbert. Those 15 Lady Lions have combined for 24 total All-Region honors in program history.

COQUESE WBCA REGIONAL COY: Head coach Coquese Washington was selected as the 2012 Russell Athletic/WBCA Region 6 Coach of the Year. Washington is now one of eight finalists for the 2012 Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coach of the Year. Washington is the first Lady Lion coach to earn Regional Coach of the Year honors since Rene Portland won the WBCA National Coach of the Year award in 2004. Joining Washington on the list of finalists are her mentor Muffet McGraw of Notre Dame, Maryland's Brenda Frese, Arkansas' Tom Collen, Bowling Green's Curt Miller, Baylor's Kim Mulkey, Utah State's Reagan Pebley and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer. The winner will be announced at the second annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 2, in conjunction with the Women's Final Four in Denver.

90S IN NCAAs: With a 90-80 win over LSU on March 20, the Lady Lions reached the 90-point plateau for the first time since a 96-79 win over Florida International in the second round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament. It is the seventh time Penn State has topped 90 points in an NCAA Tournament game.

FOURTH TO 600: Sophomore guard Maggie Lucas became the fourth different Lady Lion to score more than 600 points in a season with a 30-point performance against LSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It is the sixth time in program history a player has surpassed the 600-point mark in a season. With 627 tallies on the year, Lucas joins Kelly Mazzante (three times; 872, 2001-02; 837, 2002-03; 681, 2003-04), Suzie McConnell (682, 1987-88) and Susan Robinson (633; 1989-90) as the only players in program history to accomplish the feat.

ROAD WARRIORS: The Lady Lions picked up their 11th road win of the season with a 90-80 win over fifth-seeded LSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournametn. The 11 road victories are the most by a Penn State team since the 1993-94 team also won 11 contests away from Happy Valley.

GREENE JOINS SEASON BOARDS LIST: Junior center Nikki Greene joined Penn State's single-season rebounding chart as she passed Mary Donovan (253) and Andrea Garner (254) to move into 19th place. With 255 caroms this season, Greene needs five rebounds to tie Mag Strittmatter (260; 1977-78) for 18th spot and six boards to tie Susan Robinson (261; 1990-91 & 1988-89) for 16th place.

BENTLEY ON SEASON THEFTS CHART: Junior guard Alex Bentley has established herself as one of the top defenders in the Big Ten, nabbing 96 steals along the way. The 96 steals rank ninth on Penn State's single-season thefts list. She needs two steals to tie Jess Strom (98; 2003-04) for eighth place. Additionally, she needs four thefts to become just the eighth player in school history with 100 or more steals in a season.

LUCAS DROPS 30: Sophomore guard Maggie Lucas was deadly from long range in the first half and efficient from the free throw line in the second half en route to 30 points in the NCAA Second Round win over LSU Tuesday. Lucas' 30 points are the most by a PSU player in the NCAA Tournament since Kelly Mazzante had 32 vs. Florida International in the Second Round on March 17, 2003.

MAGGIE MAKES FT MARK: Sophomore guard Maggie Lucas' 11-for- 11 effort from the free throw line in the NCAA Tournament Second Round win over LSU put her in the record books. Lucas' perfect 100% mark from the charity stripe ties the record for percentage in an NCAA Tournament game. Additionally, Lucas broke the Penn State record for free throws made in an NCAA Tournament game, surpassing the mark of 10 held by Helen Holloway vs. Kansas (3/19/94) and Suzie McConnell vs. La Salle (3/16/88).

GRAY HITS 900: Senior guard Zhaque Gray surpassed the 900-point mark for her career with 10 tallies against LSU March 20. Gray now has 906 markers in her four seasons in the Blue & White.

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.

 

 

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