Lady Lions Easily Handle Indiana
The 19th-ranked Penn State Lady Lions (17-5, 7-3 Big Ten) got back into the win column Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center as they routed the Indiana Hoosiers (5-17, 0-10 Big Ten) 76-44 in Big Ten conference play.
This was an important bounce back win for the Lady Lion’s especially after they had their five game winning streak snapped in a tough 83-77 loss at Michigan State last Sunday January 29th.
Two players who stood out for the Lady Lions tonight were sophomore guard Maggie Lucas and junior forward Nikki Greene. Lucas went 8-for-18 from the field and 4-for-7 from three point range, finishing with a total of 24 points on the night. This was her 13th game of the year with 20 or more points.
Nikki Greene was a dominant presence all night for the Lady Lions in the paint. Greene finished the game with a career high 17 points while pulling down 6 rebounds off the glass. Penn State head coach Coquese Washington had high praise for Greene after the game.
“I was really pleased with the way Nikki played with power,” said Washington. “We took advantage of our size inside and we got after it on the boards.”
Staying aggressive in the paint and getting the ball to Nikki Greene and Talia East down low was a recipe for success, and Indiana had no answer for the Lady Lions inside presence all night.
“It was huge mismatch inside,” said Maggie Lucas. “Nikki and Talia pretty much dominated and were lucky to have the post players we have.”
With the Lady Lions up so many points early in the ballgame opportunities were presented for role players to contribute off the bench. In total, 29 points were scored off the bench, with junior guard Gizelle Studevent leading the way with 10 points. Sophomore forward Talia East had a career high 9 points and 9 rebounds as well. This is an encouraging sign going forward especially with the likes of Ohio State and Purdue looming.
“[Washington] reiterated a lot before the game that we needed to have strong bench play today,” said Talia East. “Down the stretch it’s going to come down to our bench playing strong and it was important for me to come off the bench and keep the team going.”
Going into Thursday’s contest the Hoosiers had two players averaging double figures. Junior guard Jasmine McGhee was averaging 13.1 points per game with junior forward Aulani Sinclair averaging 12.2 points per game. Penn State did a solid job of containing and limiting both players' scoring opportunities.
One positive to take out of the loss was the play of redshirt junior center Sasha Chaplin. Chaplin led all Hoosiers with 8 total points and 16 rebounds.
Indiana was well aware, however, of where it fell short defensively.
“You don’t slow Maggie Lucas down,” said Indiana head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “She’s one of the best players in our conference and we have to be able attack no matter what team you’re playing, no matter what their ranking is overall. We need to improve.”
Maggie Lucas now has 992 career points, eight points shy of 1,000 for her career. She is the third-fastest player in Penn State history to reach 900 points behind Kelly Mazzante and Susan Robinson. When she reaches 1,000 points, Lucas will be the second Lady Lion to accomplish the feat this year, the other being junior guard Alex Bentley. She will also be just the third player in Lady Lion history to reach 1,000 points as a sophomore.
With the win, the Lady Lions now improve to 28-9 all-time versus Indiana and 16-2 all-time in home games versus the Hoosiers.
Up next for the Lady Lions is a game against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday in Bloomington, Indiana.
Tom Zulewski is a junior majoring in Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org