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Dec. 30, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Penn State Lady Lions (9-3, 1-1) will put their four-game winning streak on the line when they face Illinois (8-3, 0-1) on Thursday in Champaign. The game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network at 4 p.m. (Eastern). The Lady Lions are 23-13 all-time against the Illini, but are just 7-9 in games played in Champaign.
TV/RADIO: The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network with Lisa Cornwell and Patricia Babcock-McGraw describing play. The contest can also be heard on the Penn State Sports Network with Jerry Fisher and Stacey Brewer calling the action. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1450. The audio feed is available at www.GoPSUsports.com.
LAST TIME OUT: Senior Tyra Grant scored 11 of her game-high 28 points in overtime to lead Penn State to a thrilling 77-73 victory over Iowa Monday. The win snaps Penn State's five-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes. Grant was 13-for-14 from the free throw line on the way to the 32nd 20-point performance of her career. She also accounted for six rebounds and three steals. Junior Janessa Wolff was solid in relief for the Lady Lions with 10 points, eight rebounds and a blocked shot in 18 minutes, while freshman Alex Bentley added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
SCOUTING ILLINOIS: The Illini are 8-3 overall with a loss to nationally-ranked Ohio State in their Big Ten opener Thursday. All-Big Ten first teamer Jenna Smith is averaging a double-double with 20.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. She also has 24 blocks in 11 games. Freshman Karisma Penn is also averaging double-digits for Illinois at a 12.0 clip, while Lacey Simpson accounts for 9.1 points and 4.6 assists per game.
ALL-TIME VS. ILLINI: The Lady Lions are 23-13 all-time against the Illini, but are just 7-9 in games played in Champaign. Penn State is 17-10 all-time in Big Ten regular-season games versus Illinois. The Lady Lions swept the regular-season series with a 54-51 win at home and 67-56 victory on the road, but dropped a 58-49 decision in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament to the Illini.
LAST TIME VS. ILLINOIS: The Lady Lions held the lead early, but went cold from the field en route to a 58-49 loss to Illinois in the first round of the 2009 Big Ten Tournament. The Lions shot just 30.6% (19-of-62) on the game and 25.8% (8-of-31) from the field in the second half. Tyra Grant had a team-high 16 points to go along with four rebounds and two steals. Brianne O'Rourke and Mashea Williams added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
GRANT INTO SEVENTH PLACE: With a season-high 28 points in the win over Iowa on Dec. 28, senior Tyra Grant moved into seventh place on Penn State's all-time scoring chart, passing Lisa Shepherd (1,663). Grant has 1,675 points in her four seasons in Happy Valley. She needs 50 points to pass Angie Potthoff (1,725) for sixth place.
WHOPPER FOR WOMACK: Sophomore Renee Womack turned in an outstanding performance off of the bench against Iowa on Dec. 28. The guard was a defensive stopper for the Lions, blocking a career-high three shots and tying her personal mark with a pair of steals. She also got a piece of Kachine Alexander's field goal attempt that would have won the game for the Hawkeyes in regulation. Womack finished the game with seven points and equaled her career mark with eight rebounds in 30 minutes.
TY'S 20s: Senior guard Tyra Grant turned in her third consecutive 20-point game and sixth of the season with a season-high 28 tallies in the win over Iowa on Dec. 28. She also has 32 career games with 20 or more points.
BLOCK PARTY: The Lady Lions rejected nine Iowa Hawkeye shots on Dec. 28, led by Nikki Greene's career-high four blocks. The nine rejections are the most by a Penn State team since stuffing nine Bucknell shots on Dec. 15, 2007. Sophomore Renee Womack also blocked a career-high three shots.
The Lady Lions remain in the state of Illinois to face Northwestern on Sunday, Jan. 3. Penn State returns to the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday, Jan. 10 against Indiana at noon. Single-game tickets can be purchased by calling the Penn State ticket office at 814-865-5555.
The 2010 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m., as the Lady Lions take on Illinois in the Bryce Jordan Center. The game can be seen on www.bigtennetwork.com. The first three Pink Zone events have raised more than $80,000 for breast cancer awareness. This year's fundraising efforts will benefit the Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.gopsusports.com/pinkzone.
The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow head coach Coquese Washington (@psucoachquese), sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) and the Lady Lions and assistant coaches (@pennstatewbb) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook. Search Lady Lion Basketball and become a fan.