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April 13, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Penn State women's basketball team held its annual postseason banquet today at the Penn Stater and honored both players, coaches and supporters of the program for their dedication and commitment during the season.
Senior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) collected her third Joanie O'Brien Most Outstanding Player Award, while senior guard Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) garnered her second-straight Collegiate Pride Defensive Player of the Year Award. Fellow senior Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) won the Jeanette Goss Courage/Leadership Award and shared the Most Improved Player honor with classmate Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.). East and Edwards also shared Most Improved Player accolades in 2011-12.
Freshman guard Lindsey Spann (Laurel, Md.) took home the Robin Lombard Award, in honor of those qualities that exemplify the true spirit of Lady Lion basketball, and the Academic Achievement Award. Assistant coaches Fred Chmiel, Kia Damon and Maren Walseth received the Tom Caldwell "Unsung Hero" Award.
Pennsylvania Pink Zone executive director, Miriam Powell, and Kish Bank were recognized for their outstanding service to Lady Lion basketball with the Hank Gambocurta Award. The Kent Petersen Student Fan of the Year Award was presented to Brian Mundy and Stefanie Day, both of whom are junior recreation, parks and tourism management majors from Palmyra, Pa., while Gorman Findley, the Lady Lion Cager Club photographer, was honored with the Ruth Ingram Award in recognition of a Lady Lion Basketball fan for outstanding enthusiasm and support.
Lucas turned in an outstanding season even as the focus of the opposing team's defensive game plan. The two-time Big Ten Player of the Year finished second in the conference in scoring (21.0), becoming just the second player in school history with back-to-back seasons with a scoring average above 20 points, joining Kelly Mazzante (2002-04). Lucas also led the league and was second nationally with a .949 free throw percentage, which broke the Big Ten's single-season record. The three-time All-Big Ten first team honoree also finished in the top 10 in the Big Ten in steals (7th; 1.9), three-point field goals made (6th; 2.3) and minutes played (9th; 35.0). Lucas finished her career fourth in Big Ten history and second in Penn State history in scoring (2,510 points) and as the all-time conference leader in three-point field goals (365) and free throw percentage (.907).
Taylor moved into a more prominent role as a senior after taking over as the starting point guard. She was a defensive dynamo, collecting a Big Ten-leading 2.7 steals per game on the way to earning the 2014 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award and a second-straight berth on the Big Ten All-Defensive team. Taylor also improved in nearly every offensive category from her junior year to her senior campaign, upping her scoring average by nearly five points to 11.7 points per game and finishing fourth in the conference in assists (4.8 apg). She finished her Penn State career fifth in program history in assist average (2.6) and 12th in assist average (4.1), while ranking 18th in assists (262) and 24th in steals (164) in just two seasons in Happy Valley. Taylor dished out 504 assists in her four-year collegiate career.
Edwards embraced her role as a full time starter this season, posting personal bests in nearly every statistical category. She jumped her scoring production by nearly eight points per game in her senior season, finishing seventh in the Big Ten with a 15.7 scoring average on the way to All-Big Ten first team honors for the first time in her career. Additionally, Edwards was second on the team in rebounding, pulling in 5.7 boards per game. She was also among the conference leaders in free throw percentage, finishing eighth with an .814 mark from the charity stripe. Edwards became the 36th member of Penn State's 1,000-point club with her performance in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
East became a force in the post for the Lions as a senior, collecting career bests in rebounds and blocked shots en route to All-Big Ten honorable mention accolades. The senior was 10th in the Big Ten in rebounding with a 7.4 average, sixth in the league with a .533 field goal percentage and tied for ninth in the Big Ten in blocked shots with a 1.4 average. East also chipped in 8.1 points per game as a senior, which is nearly a six-point jump from a year ago (2.2). East finished her career as a member of Penn State's 500-rebound club and ranks eighth in blocked shots (102).
Spann missed the 2013-14 season after tearing her ACL in the first practice of the summer session, but continued to boost her teammates from the bench, both at home and on the road. In the classroom, Spann excelled, posting a 3.62 grade point average in her first year in Happy Valley.
2013-14 Lady Lion Basketball Award Winners
Joanie O'Brien Most Outstanding Player Award - Maggie Lucas
Collegiate Pride Defensive Player of the Year - Dara Taylor
Robin Lombard Award - Lindsey Spann
Jeanette Goss Courage/Leadership Award - Ariel Edwards
Tom Caldwell "Unsung Hero" Award - Fred Chmiel, Kia Damon, Maren Walseth
Most Improved Player Award - Talia East and Ariel Edwards
Academic Achievement Award - Lindsey Spann
Hank Gambocurta Award - Kish Bank and Miriam Powell
Kent Petersen Student Fan of the Year Award - Brian Mundy and Stefanie Day
Ruth Ingram Award - Gorman Findley
The Lady Lions hold several camps throughout the summer. The 2014 Lady Lion Basketball Camp schedule is as follows: Total Package Team Camp (June 19-21), Elite Camp (June 21-22), Pre-National Team Shootout (22-24) and Games Galore Team Camp (August 1-3). For more information on Lady Lion Basketball Camps, please visit GoPSUsports.com/camps and click on Girls Basketball Camp under Summer Camps.
The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow the Lady Lions and coaches (@pennstatewbb) and sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstateladylions.