COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - The #9/9 Penn State Lady Lions (2-0) held #16/13 Texas A&M (0-2) to just two points in the final 6:23 en route to a 63-58 win over the Aggies in College Station. The loss is the first non-conference home loss for Texas A&M since Dec. 30, 2003, a string of 58 games. Additionally, it is the Lady Lions' first victory over a ranked non-conference opponent on the road since defeating #18 DePaul on December 30, 1992.
Senior Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) battled foul trouble in the first half, but rebounded in the second half to score 14 of her game-high 21 points. She also accounted for four assists and four steals in the win. Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) added 18 points with four rebounds, while Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) scored all eight of her points and had six of her seven rebounds in the second half, playing in front on several family members and friends. Senior forward Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) accounted for six points and 11 rebounds, while Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) was a defensive presence, notching five of Penn State's 12 steals on the game.
The Aggies took the early lead, 11-6, with just over 14 minutes to play in the half. However, Penn State fought back and rattled off a 11-1 run that was started by a pair of Bentley free throws. After one Texas A&M freebie, Lucas knocked down a jumper, Taylor hit a bucket in transition, followed by a three-pointer by Bentley to give Penn State its first lead of the game at 15-12. Unfortunately for the Lady Lions, Bentley picked up her third foul with 10:01 remaining in the half and was relegated to the bench for the remainder of the half.
Taylor capped the Penn State run with a layup with 9:44 remaining to make it a 17-12 Penn State lead. The Aggies went on a 12-2 run to take 24-19 lead with four minutes to play. Out of the final media timeout of the first half, Lucas drained a three-pointer and then converted on a jumper after Taylor missed a layup off of a steal to tie the game at 24-24 with 3:29 left. After a Kelsey Bone basket, Lucas connected on a fade away and Taylor notched a steal and made the ensuing layup to give Penn State a 28-26 lead with 1:15 left. However, the Aggies scored the last seven points of the half to head into the locker room with a 33-28 lead.
The Lady Lions were saddled with foul trouble and turnovers in the opening half. Penn State committed 15 fouls, including three each by Bentley and Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.), and 14 turnovers. Lucas led the Lions with nine points, while Nickson added six points and a team-best seven rebounds.
After a pair of free throws for Alexia Standish to open the second half, Greene scored the game's next four points to cut the Texas A&M lead to three points (35-32) with 17:24 remaining in the game. The Aggies converted on their next possession to push their lead back to five, but Bentley made it a 37-35 game thanks to a three-point play with 16:30 on the clock.
Texas A&M would score six of the game's next eight points to take a 43-37 lead with just under 13 minutes remaining. After several exchanges of scores, Greene converted on a putback and Lucas made a layup to pull Penn State within one (47-46) with 10 minutes left. Following a basket by Adrienne Pratcher, Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) snagged her own miss and made the putback and Lucas converted on an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Lady Lions ahead, 51-49, with 8:35 left.
The Aggies responded with six consecutive points before the Lady Lions clicked off a 10-0 run to take a 61-56 lead with 49 seconds left. Bentley accounted for six of the points during the run, while Taylor added a steal and layup and Greene had a layup. Bone connected on a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to snap a 6:18 scoreless streak for the Aggies and make it a 61-58 game. Lucas sealed the win with two free throws with seven seconds left for the final 63-58 margin.
--PSU Athletic Communications--