LUBBOCK, TEXAS - The #16/15 Penn State Lady Lions (6-2, 0-0 Big Ten) struggled from the field in the second half, shooting just 25% (8-32), as #19/25 Texas Tech (7-0) used the energy from the 8,923 fans in attendance to claim a 70-66 win over the Lady Lions Saturday in the Big 12/Big Ten Challenge. The Lady Lions closed within one point late, but a three-pointer by Jordan Barncastle as the shot clock expired sealed the four-point win for the Lady Raiders. Texas Tech outrebounded the Lady Lions, 48-36, including 22 offensive boards.
Junior guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) had a game-high 18 points to go along with two rebounds, three assists and a steal, while sophomore guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) added 15 points and three steals. Junior center Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas), playing in her home state of Texas for the first time, staved off foul trouble to register 11 points and eight rebounds.
The game was off to a fast pace, but neither team was able to find the basket until Bentley scored on a layup at the 17:23 mark to give the Lady Lions the early lead. After a three-pointer by the Lady Raiders, Greene and Lucas scored back-to-back layups to make it a 6-3 lead for Penn State four minutes into the game.
The Lady Raiders would score seven of the next 11 points to make it a 10-10 game, but two free throws by Greene started an 8-2 run for Penn State to establish an 18-11 lead with 10:48 to play. The Lady Lions would push the lead to eight (21-13) on a free throw with less than 10 minutes to play, but Texas Tech bounced back with a 9-0 run to take a 22-21 lead with less than eight minutes remaining in the opening frame.
After several exchanges, Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) headed to the free throw line where she made the front-end, but missed the second shot. Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) grabbed the board and converted on the layup to give Penn State a 28-26 lead with 5:25 on the clock. On the ensuing offensive possession, Waldner snared a rebound and putback to make it a four-point lead (30-26) with 4:41 left.
The Lady Raiders scored the next five points to take a 31-30 lead with just over two minutes remaining, but a jumper by Bentley and layup by East off a Lucas pass put the Lady Lions ahead by three (34-31). However, Casey Morris knocked down a three-pointer with less than a minute to play to even the score at 34-34. On the ensuing Penn State possession, Bentley connected on a 15-footer to give Penn State a 36-34 lead heading into the break.
Bentley led all scorers with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. She also dished out a pair of assists and had a steal. Greene, who was limited to 11 minutes due to foul trouble, had six points and four rebounds. Waldner was also a solid contributor in the opening frame with five points and three rebounds. The Lady Lions shot 53.8% (14-26) from the field in the opening frame, but were outrebounded, 23-17. The Lady Raiders pulled in 13 offensive rebounds to extend multiple possessions.
Texas Tech scored on its first three possessions of the second half to take a 41-36 lead just over a minute into the closing frame, but the Lady Lions responded with six consecutive tallies, including four from Lucas. The Lady Raiders would score six of the next eight points to establish a 48-44 lead with 13:15 on the clock.
The Lady Lions clicked off a 7-2 run that saw four different players score to retake the lead at 51-50 with 10:33 remaining. After several exchanges of free throws to saw Penn State take a 55-53 advantage, but the Lady Raiders used their enthusiastic crowd to push them to a 11-2 run and a 64-57 lead with 3:30 remaining.
Three free throws by Greene brought Penn State within four (64-60) with just over two minutes left and Lucas' three-pointer snapped a nearly nine-minute field goal drought to get the Lady Lions within one (64-63) just seconds later. However, Mallard responded with a three-pointer of her own to push the lead back to four. With 34 seconds left, Bentley nailed her first three-pointer of the game and made it a one-point deficit (67-66). On the ensuing Texas Tech possession, the Lady Lions forced an air ball, but Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) could not control the rebound and it was TTU's ball with one second on the shot clock. Off the of in-bounds play, Jordan Barncastle connected on her second field goal of the game as the horn sounded to extend the lead back to four points (70-66). Penn State's in-bounds pass was stolen, clinching the win for the Lady Raiders.
--PSU Sports Information--