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May 16, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - Four former Penn State Lady Lions, Tanisha Wright, Alex Bentley, Nikki Greene and Maggie Lucas, are on opening day WNBA rosters as the season opens tonight. Wright will continue as a member of the Seattle Storm, while Bentley moves to the Connecticut Sun after spending last season with the Atlanta Dream. Greene earned a spot on the Los Angeles Sparks as a free agent and Lucas will begin her WNBA career with the Indiana Fever after being drafted by the Phoenix Mercury with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft.
Penn State's four players on WNBA opening day rosters are the most among current Big Ten members. Future conference members Maryland and Rutgers have six and five players on WNBA rosters, respectively. The Lady Lions have produced three WNBA players in the last two seasons in Bentley, Greene and Lucas.
Wright is in her 10th season in the WNBA, all with the Seattle Storm. In her only preseason appearance, Wright accounted for five points, three rebounds and three steals against the L.A. Sparks. Last season, Wright accounted for 11.9 points, 4.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 3.7 rebounds per game for the Storm. She also collected her fourth WNBA All-Defensive first team honor. Her 4.1 assists per game mark ranked eighth in the league a year ago, while her .855 mark from the free throw line was 13th in the WNBA. Wright was solid in the WNBA Playoffs, averaging 14.5 points, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals in two games. In her nine WNBA seasons, Wright is averaging 7.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals with a 43.1% field goal percentage and a 85.0% free throw percentage. Last June, Wright reached the 2,000-point plateau for her career and is closing in on 2,500 points, needing 140 tallies to reach the milestone. She also needs 95 assists for 1,000 and needs two steals for 300 in her career.
Bentley is in her second season in the WNBA after garnering WNBA All-Rookie team accolades with the Atlanta Dream a year ago. Bentley was obtained by the Connecticut Sun in a three-way trade in the off-season. In two preseason contests, she averaged 5.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists. As a rookie in 2013, Bentley averaged 8.3 points, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game. She ranked third in the league in assists per turnover (2.4), 18th in total assists (95) and 19th in three-point field goal percentage (.329). Among rookies, Bentley ranked fourth in scoring and third in steals and assists. Earlier last season, she broke the WNBA record for consecutive three-pointers made with 10.
Greene, who was the 26th overall pick of the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury, played last season with Samsung Life Blue Minx of the Korean WBKL. She averaged 4.9 points and 3.8 rebounds with a .532 field goal percentage. She had two double-doubles during the season. Greene quietly became one of the best centers in Penn State's storied history as she became the first player record 1,000 points, 900 rebounds and 200 blocks. Greene became the 35th 1,000-point scorer in school history with her nine-point performance at Minnesota on Jan. 24. She broke the school record for games started and consecutive games started having jumped for the tip in all 131 games of her career. Greene finished her career ranked second in blocked shots (215), fourth in rebounds (994) and 30th in points scored (1,132).
Lucas was selected by the Phoenix Mercury with the 21st overall pick of the 2014 WNBA Draft, but was traded to Indiana on May 12 for a 2015 second round pick. A native of Narberth, Pa., Lucas completed one of the most prolific careers in Lady Lion and Big Ten history. She is a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, three-time first team All-Big Ten honoree, two-time Wade Trophy finalist, two-time USBWA All-American, two-time WBCA All-American and Senior CLASS Award All-America second team pick. Lucas is also a two-time finalist for the Wooden Award. As a senior, Lucas finished second in the Big Ten in scoring with a 21.0 average, which is second in the conference. She has improved her scoring average each of her four seasons, while leading the team in that category in that time. Her 672 tallies this season rank fifth in program history and she is one of two players to wear a Lady Lion uniform to score 600 or more points in three seasons (Mazzante). Additionally, Lucas broke the Big Ten single-season free throw percentage record with a 94.9% mark from the charity stripe, which ranks second in NCAA Division I and is second in single-season school history. Lucas also ranked in the Top 10 in the conference in steals (7th; 1.9), three-point field goals per game (6th; 2.3) and minutes played (9th; 35.0). Lucas also broke the Penn State single-season free throws made record with 185. Lucas is the only player in NCAA women's basketball, WNBA and NBA history to average 20 or more points with a free throw percentage of 94.9% or better.
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.