Lady Lions Top Badgers to Extend Home Winning Streak

Story posted January 17, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Megan K. Flood

The Lady Lions got off to a fast start Thursday night against Wisconsin at the Bryce Jordan Center. The offense was lead by a hot-handed Nikki Greene who tallied 23 points and Alex Bentley who added 14 in Penn State’s 84-40 win.

Penn State now improves to 14-2 on the season and 4-0 in Big Ten conference play. Wisconsin falls to 8-10 on the season and 0-5 in the Big Ten.

When asked how Greene played tonight, Bentley responded, “She was a beast.”

Greene, who averages 20.4 minutes per game, ended the night with 27 minutes. She also tallied her 12th career double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds. She split the rebounding evenly between offense and defense.

To start the game, Penn State went on a 15-3 run in the first five minutes, including forcing five turnovers.

“Penn State did a nice job of rattling us in the beginning and it didn’t help that our guards didn’t settle themselves down,” said Wisconsin head coach Bobbie Kelsey.

Junior Dara Taylor’s impact made it especially had for the Wisconsin offense.

“Taylor’s pressure leads to turnovers for our team,” Penn State’s Head Coach Coquese Washington said. “It is great when you have player like that to have impact on the game.”

Turnovers were a large part of the defensive statement made by Penn State. The Lady Lions ended the night with forcing 24 turnovers, 17 of which came in the first half.

At halftime Penn State lead Wisconsin, 46-21. This was Wisconsin’s largest halftime deficit of the season, the previous being 18 points at Miami on Dec. 29, 2012. Also the total was the most points that Wisconsin has allowed in any game this season.

“Penn State is one of the top teams in the country and used their abilities tonight to take advantage of us,” said Kelsey.

One of those advantages was the rebounding by the Lady Lions, who out rebounded Wisconsin 55-31. Greene had more offensive rebounds than the Badger team combined.

Kelsey also mentioned that she has three players that were unable to play either due to injury or because of transfer rules. She credited those players to 30 or 40 points that Wisconsin was missing tonight and instead has a relatively young team on the floor.

“Youth and inexperience doesn’t bode well, when playing seniors and juniors,” said Kelsey.

Penn State held Wisconsin’s leading scorer, Morgan Paige, to 14 points just below her average of 15.9 points per game.

What is more dominating about this win for Penn State is that junior guard Maggie Lucas ended the night with only 11 points. The junior shot 50% from behind the arc and only 3-11 from the floor.

“You didn’t want to give (Maggie) open shots,” Kelsey said. “You are asking for it when you let a player like that get open shots.”

It didn’t seem to affect Penn State, who received 20 points from their bench players.

“ It was good [to get the points] because when starters aren’t in our bench can contribute on floor at any time,” said Greene.

An exciting contribution from the bench was the buzzer beater breakaway layup on a steal by guard Gizelle Studevent.

It wouldn’t be the only buzzer beater of the night, as Greene put up a jumper from the foul line. Geene said she was unaware of the clock and only put up the shot because Taylor looked at her.

Penn State extended its home winning streak to 15 games and its overall winning streak to eight.  For the first time since 2005, the Lady Lions have three consecutive 20-plus point victories over Big Ten opponents.

However, Washington doesn’t want them to get to comfortable. She knows the team’s confidence is pretty high, but she also knows that they need to continue to improve and convert in their transition offense.

“If they continue to grow, then I will be really happy,” Washington said.

The Lady Lions’ next game is Monday Jan. 21 at Michigan (15-2 4-0) at 6:30 p.m.

Megan K. Flood is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, e-mail mkf5100@psu.edu.