Lady Lions Bounce Back Against Purdue

Story posted February 5, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Phil Constantino

After suffering its first conference loss of the season last Thursday night at Wisconsin, the eighth-ranked Penn State women’s basketball team (18-3, 8-1 Big Ten) rebounded with a win against the No. 13 Purdue Boilermakers (18-4, 7-2 Big Ten) 69-61 Monday night at the Bryce Jordan Center in front of an announced crowd of 5,030.

“It was just important for us to come out and be able to dictate our type of game again,” said junior guard Maggie Lucas. “We know what we are capable of as a team.”

Penn State jumped out to an early lead right after the opening tip with Lucas scoring the first four points of the game. On a rather off night in which she was 6-13 from the field, 1-6 from the three point line, Lucas once again finished as Lady Lions leading scorer with 17 points.

With 5:47 left in the first half, Purdue cut what was once a nine point lead to one with a jumper by Taylor Manuel. However, Penn State would respond with pressure defense that jumpstarted a 12-2 run to close the half, giving the Lady Lions a 34-23 halftime lead.

After halftime the Boilermakers stormed back, cutting the lead to two with 6:39 left, but once again the Lady Lions would step up defensively. Utilizing their signature pressure defense, Penn State would go on a 10-0 run to increase the lead back to 12.

Purdue would make one last run cutting the lead to six with 1:29 left. But after three Dee Dee Williams free throws, Alex Bentley provided the dagger, nailing a mid range jumper to bring the score to 69-61.

Impressive pressure defense has been a theme all year for this Lady Lions squad and proved to be the difference Monday night. After forcing 19 turnovers in their previous matchup, Penn State followed that performance with 11 Monday, led by Lucas and Nickson who each had three respectively. The Lady Lions rank first in the Big Ten in turnover margin, second in steals, third in blocked shots, third in scoring defense and first in field goal percentage against.

“I thought our defensive effort was pretty good,” said Penn State coach Coquese Washington. “For the most part, I thought we did a good job of making them take tough shots.”

This matchup featured the two highest seeded teams in the Big Ten, and with the win, the Lady Lions retain the top spot in the Big Ten standings.

Penn State next takes to the floor on Thursday night at 6:30 in Bloomington, Ind. against the Indiana Hoosiers, before returning home for a weekend matchup on Sunday with Michigan State.

Phil Constantino is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail him at philbc64@gmail.com.