IOWA CITY, IA - The #8/9 Penn State Lady Lions (21-3, 11-1 Big Ten) landed four players in double figures, led by Maggie Lucas' (Narberth, Pa.) 21 points, en route to an 81-69 win at Iowa (16-10, 5-7) Thursday night. The win improves the Lady Lions to 11-1 in conference play, their best start since the 2002-03 team also started 11-1.
Lucas connected on a trio of three-pointers as she posted her 11th 20-point performance of the season and 42nd of her career. With her performance, she moved into eighth place on Penn State's career scoring list, passing teammate Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Lisa Shepherd with 1,669 points. She also tallied four rebounds and a steal. Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) provided a spark off of the bench, going 5-for-7 from the field and free throw line en route to 15 points in 18 minutes. She also had two rebounds, a steal and a block.
Bentley was also solid with 14 points with four assists and four steals. With her 14 tallies, she is now tied with Shepherd for ninth place on PSU's career scoring list. Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) was the final Lady Lion in double figures with 11 points to go with eight rebounds. She surpassed the 800-point mark for her collegiate career and also moved into 25th place on PSU's career rebounding list.
The Hawkeyes took the early 6-3 lead in the first four minutes with the lone score coming on a Lucas three. The Hawkeyes would then extend the margin to five (13-8) with 14:12 left before Nickson knocked down a fadeaway jumper to kick-start a Lady Lion run over the next four minutes. Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) hit a pair of free throws and Bentley had a steal and layup to give Penn State a 14-13 lead. After a basket by Bethany Doolittle, Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) drained a three and Bentley capped the 12-2 run with an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Lady Lions a 20-15 lead with 10:28 on the clock.
Iowa responded with a 9-2 run of their own to establish a 24-22 lead with 6:50 remaining. Edwards combined with Lucas and Nickson to score six of the game's next eight points to give PSU a 28-26 lead with 3:27 left. After several scoring exchanges, the Hawkeyes tied the game at 32-32 with 1:38 left. The Lady Lions bounced back with a bucket by Nickson and a triple by Lucas to take a 37-32 lead with 21 seconds left in the half. However, East picked up her third foul of the half on Jaime Printy with 0.8 seconds left where she would convert both to send the teams into the break with the Lions leading 37-34.
The Hawkeyes scored the first four tallies of the second half to take a 38-37 lead with 18:23 on the clock, but Penn State responded with a 19-4 run that featured seven points from Lucas, four from Edwards and Greene and two each from Nickson and Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) to take a 56-44 lead with 10:23 remaining. Iowa would score four of the next six points to close within 10 (58-48) with 9:09 left.
Bentley scored the next bucket and Nickson converted on three free throws in four attempts to give Penn State a 63-48 lead with just over eight minutes remaining. After a three-pointer by Melissa Dixon, the Lady Lions would go on a 12-3 run to extend their lead to a game-high 21 points (75-54) with five minutes left. Lucas each had four points during the run, while Edwards and Bentley added three points and Taylor chipped in a score. The Hawkeyes continued to fight, scoring 15 of the game's final 21 points, but the Lions claimed the 81-69 win.
--PSU Athletic Communications--