CORAL GABLES, FLA. - The #6/7 Penn State Lady Lions (5-1) battled turnover trouble and rallied late, but Miami (4-1) got a bucket from Suriya McGuire and two free throws from Michelle Woods to earn a 69-65 win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Thursday night. Junior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) posted her fourth 20-point game of the season with 20 markers, including the game-tying three-pointer with 23 seconds left.
Lucas also added five rebounds and three assists in the loss. Senior guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half to go along with four steals and two assists. Fellow senior Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) added eight points and four rbeounds, while junior Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) accounted for six points, six rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
The Lady Lions got off to a rough start with nine turnovers in their first 11 possessions, which allowed the Hurricanes to take a 10-2 lead just five minutes into the game. With Bentley and Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) on the bench within the first five minutes, Lucas made Penn State's first basket from the field, a three-pointer at the 14:48 mark to make it a 10-5 deficit. However, Miami scored the game's next four points to extend the lead to 14-5 with 13:22 on the clock.
Lucas drained another three-pointer, but the Hurricanes tallied six of the game's next eight points to push the lead to 10 points (20-10) with 10:39 left in the half. Freshman Candice Agee (Victorville, Calif.) kicked off a 7-0 run for the Lady Lions to pull Penn State within three (20-17) with nine minutes remaining. During the run, Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) connected on a three-pointer and Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) added a layup.
The Hurricanes scored the next four points before the Lady Lions got a jump start from Taylor with a coast-to-coast fastbreak layup, followed by buckets by Nickson and Bentley. After a three-pointer by Krystal Saunders, Gizelle Studevent (La Jolla, Calif.) connected on a jumper and Nickson converted on a pair of free throws to tie the game at 27-27 with 3:09 left. Unfortunately for the Lady Lions, the Hurricanes finished the first half on a 9-2 run to take a 36-29 lead into the break.
Penn State was hampered by 20 turnovers in the opening frame. Lucas and Nickson had six points apiece to lead the Lady Lions.
Greene scored the first four points of the second half to pull the Lady Lions within three (36-33) with 17:47 left. However, Miami would click off a 6-0 run over the next minute to extend the lead back to 42-33. Lucas scored the game's next four points to make it a five point game (42-37) with 16 to play. After a pair of free throws for Miami's Morgan Stroman, Nickson and Bentley scored on back-to-back possessions to slice the deficit to three points (44-41) with 14:32 on the clock.
The Canes sandwiched a three-point play and basket around a bucket by Lucas to make it a 49-43 game with 11:15 left. Penn State came to life starting with two freebies by Bentley combined with scores by Greene, Taylor and Bentley. Bentley's bucket gave the Lady Lions their first lead of the game at 51-49 with 8:47 left. Lucas capped the 10-0 run with a pair of free throws to make it a 53-49 Penn State lead with 8:22 left.
As was the case after most Lady Lion runs Thursday night, Miami responded with seven consecutive points to retake the lead 56-53 with five minutes to play. The squads exchanged scores until Lucas hit a three-pointer on the pass from Taylor with 1:55 left to tie the game at 60-60. Suriya McGuire converted on a layup to put the Canes ahead with 1:34 on the clock, but Bentley knotted the game at 62 with a fadeaway jumper with 40 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, the Hurricanes got out on the break at were able to convert on the old fashioned three-point play with 35.6 seconds left.
Lucas converted on three-pointer to tie the game at 65-65 with 23 seconds left, but once again the Lion defense allowed Miami a layup to give the Canes the 67-65 lead with 14 seconds left. On PSU's next possession, Bentley was unable to connect on the jumper and the Canes sealed the win with a pair of free throws.
--PSU Athletic Communications--