Lady Lions Victorious on Senior Night
The Penn State Lady Lions finished off their home schedule by defeating the Michigan Wolverines 68-57 on Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center in front of a pink clad crowd for breast cancer awareness. In addition, seniors Alex Bentley, Nikki Greene, Mia Nickson, Gizelle Studevent and Marisa Wolfe were honored with a pregame ceremony for their time as Lady Lions.
The victory not only clinched the Big Ten regular season title for the second straight season for head coach Coquese Washington and company, but it also capped off a perfect 14-0 record for the Lady Lions at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The story in the first half was the Wolverines’ struggles offensively as nothing was able to fall for them. They finished the first half 8-for-28 from the floor and 2-for-11 from three point land.
Four minutes into the first half, after great work inside by Nickson fending of Michigan defenders underneath the net for two, Maggie Lucas followed up with a steal and fast-break layup to spark a seven minute 20-2 dominant run for the Lady Lions. The stretch was made in large part by Lucas’ 12 points and two three-pointers, as the Lady Lions put the Wolverines in a stranglehold and never looked back.
“It put Michigan in a position where they had to make adjustments, said Washington. “It certainly gave us confidence and the breathing room helped.”
The slick-shooting Lucas finished her night with 21 points and three three-pointers to go along with her three steals.
Wolverines senior guard Kate Thompson had the hot hand from three point land late in the first half and early in the second, draining a three pointer as time expired to make it 40-26 game at halftime. Four minutes into the second half, the tandem of Thompson and Nya Jordan sparked an 8-2 run for the Wolverines to put them within six of the Lady Lions, highlighted by two early three-pointers by Thompson.
With a little less than seven minutes left in the game, the six point deficit would be the closest Michigan would get as Ariel Edwards hit a clutch three with the shot clock winding down to put the Lady Lions up 55-48 and brought the Bryce Jordan Center crowd to its feet.
“Teams are going to go on runs and we had a feeling Michigan was going to go on one,” said Lucas. “They were going to make their run and it was going to be on us to weather it and play our style to the end.”
Thompson wound up finishing the night 7-for-17 from the field with five three pointers to lead all scorers with 24 points. Jordan would finish with a double-double, grabbing 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Nikki Greene and Mia Nickson were forces inside for the Lady Lions all game, combining for 17 rebounds; Greene with nine and Nickson with eight. On top of their dominant performances on the glass, Greene added eight points with two blocks while Nickson finished with 11 points. Fellow senior Alex Bentley also was solid on both sides of the ball with 11 points of her own, five assists and four steals.
The Lady Lions cap off their successful regular season with two Big Ten games, one in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 28 and their regular season finale March 3 in Lincoln, Nebraska before beginning Big Ten Tournament play on March 7 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Ross Insana is junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Ross is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania majoring in Broadcast Journalism, minoring in business and a member of Penn State’s John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. He anchors and reports both sports and news for the Centre County Report. He’s also a sports talk show host of “The Ross Insana Show” every Sunday from 5-6 PM on ComRadio in addition to headlining ComRadio’s Penn State Hockey coverage as the Men’s Hockey columnist and host of the ComRadio Men’s Hockey Pregame Show for the 2013-2014 season. His internship experiences recently include being a Production Assistant Intern for ESPN Radio 1450 in State College for “Sports Talk” with the voice of Penn State Football Steve Jones. Ross was formerly the Pittsburgh Pirates Pregame and Postgame Show intern for Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh for hosts Dan Zangrilli and former Major Leaguer Kevin Orie during the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates season. His future aspirations are to cover baseball in any facet at any level whether it’s play-by play, color commentary, writing, media relations or sideline reporting. With a background in baseball coaching and instruction, he’d like to become a head coach for a High School baseball team in the future.