Lady Lions Defeat Michigan with Efficient Shooting
The Penn State Lady Lions (12-4, 2-2 Big Ten) handily beat the Michigan Wolverines (13-4, 2-2 Big Ten) Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center after the team from Ann Arbor came into the contest with a better record.
Penn State stormed out of the gates with scorching first half shooting to put together a sizable 12-point lead going into the halftime break 41-29. In that first half, the Lady Lions shot 57.1 percent from both the field and the perimeter.
“We just couldn't defend them right off the bat,” said Michigan head coach Kevin Borseth. “They immediately went to their big kids.”
After a solid first half of 17 points off of 6-for-8 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, sophomore guard Maggie Lucas looked as if she was on-pace to top her career high in points of 33 that she set in the Lady Lions previous game on Saturday afternoon against Michigan State. Lucas ended with a still impressive 22 points after going the final 6.19 minutes of the game without a point as she missed her final four field goals.
Lucas’s final basket in the game was the one that really took the wind out of Michigan’s sails as she put the Lady Lions up by more than 20 points 62-40 with a three-point play on an acrobatic reverse layup after she saved the ball from going out-of-bounds behind her back by the scorer’s table.
Lucas’s starting backcourt mates also scored in double figures for the Lady Lions against the Wolverines. Senior guard Zhaque Gray had not scored in double figures in the past four games coming into Wednesday night’s contest, including a scoreless performance against Nebraska on December 30th where she shot 0-for-7 from the field. Gray broke that streak against Michigan with 15 points.
“She has struggled in the last few games with making her shots," said Penn State head coach Coquese Washington. “I think tonight she was more aggressive. She can sometimes be a little passive. But tonight she was aggressive, she didn't just settle for the three, she attacked the basket, and worked to get the pull-up.”
Despite having a game-high six turnovers, junior guard Alex Bentley was the other Lady Lion who scored in double figures with 12 points. Bentley also recorded four steals and a team-high six assists.
The Penn State frontcourt also contributed thoroughly to the victory as junior forward/center Nikki Greene recorded nine points and nine rebounds and sophomore forward Ariel Edwards recorded nine points and five rebounds.
“I thought we were productive in the first,” said Bentley. “But, at half time we talked and tried to fix things like our focus and communication with our teammates to let others know if you needed help or not.”
Wolverines senior guard Courtney Boylan came into the contest against Penn State as the team’s leading scorer with 13.7 points-per-game. Even though she only scored only two first half points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field, Boylan ended in double figures with ten points. The only other Michigan player in double figures Wednesday night was junior guard Kate Thompson with 18 points.
The Lady Lions continue their Big Ten schedule with a Sunday, January 15 matchup on the road against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Matt Trabold is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.