The #8/8 Penn State Lady Lions (18-3, 8-1 Big Ten) used a key 10-0 run in the final stages of the game to knock off the #13/11 Purdue Boilermakers (18-4, 7-2) by a count of 69-61 on Monday night in the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State moves into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings with thevictory. Additionally, the win extends the Lady Lions' home court winning streak to 17 games and snaps a five-game home court losing streak to Purdue.
Junior Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) led all Penn State scorers with 17 points to go along with six rebounds and three steals, while senior Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Pa.) added 13 points. The backcourt duo each eclipsed the 1,600-point mark for their careers, becoming just the 10th and 11th Penn State players ever to accomplish the feat.
Senior Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) scored 11 points to go with four rebounds and three steals in the win. Junior Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) was strong off the bench for the Lady Lions, scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds in just 12 minutes of action. Senior Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) chipped in six points and nine rebounds, while junior Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) added six first-half points and four second-half rebounds.
Penn State jumped out to a 4-0 lead on two field goals from Lucas. Following a Drey Mingo layup for the Boilermakers, Nickson scored the next three Lady Lion points on a free throw and spinning layup. Purdue cut the lead to 7-5, but the Lady Lions went on to score 11 of the next 15 points as Edwards scored six points and Bentley scored the next five to give Penn State an 18-9 advantage with 11:16 to go in the first half.
Purdue put together a run of its own, scoring 13 of the next 17 points. During that stretch, the Boilermakers made six free throws, and cut the Lady Lion lead to just one (22-21) with 5:47 to go in the first half. Penn State would answerwith a 13-2 run to end the half. Lucas kicked off the run with a jumper from the free throw line, followed by four-straight points from East on a hook shot and two from the charity stripe. The Lady Lions closed the half with six consecutive free throws form Taylor, Lucas and East to give them a 34-23 advantage after one stanza.
Nickson opened the second half with a jumper in the lane, but the Boilermakers rallied and scored the next five on a three from Courtney Moses and layup from Mingo to cut the Lady Lion lead to eight (36-28). Junior Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) answered with a three to make it 39-30 at the 17:49 mark, but on the ensuing possession, Purdue's Dee Dee Williams would cut the lead to seven. However her high school teammate Bentley answered on the other end to give Penn State a 41-30 advantage. East scored the next three points for the Lady Lions while Taylor Manuel chipped in a layup for Purdue, resulting in a 12-point lead (44-32) for Penn State with 15:31 on the clock.
The Boilermakers went on to score seven of the next nine points, on a three from Moses and twos by Mingo and Manuel to slice the Penn State lead to seven. After the squads exchanged scores, Lucas made two from the line to increase the lead back to nine. However, the Boilermakers went on another run, scoring eight of the next 10 points to slice the lead to a pair (50-48) with 9:23 remaining.
Following several scoring exchanges, the Lady Lions started their key stretch on a hook shot by Greene and a layup by Nickson to increase Penn State's lead by six (61-55) with five minutes to go. Lucas then drained a big pull up transition jumper in the lane before two free throws by Greene and a Nickson turnaround jumper capped off the 10-0 run to give the Lady lions a 67-55 lead with 1:51 remaining in the contest.
Purdue kept fighting, as Moses sank a three with 1:28 to go. Following an empty Penn State possession, Moses was fouled on the other end on a three-point attempt and converted on all three shots to slice PSU's lead to 67-61 with 1:15 remaining. On the ensuing possession, Nickson grabbed an offensive rebound that led to a Bentley jumper out of a timeout with 51 seconds to go, which wouldseal the 69-61 victory for the Lady Lions.
--Penn State Athletic Communications--