Lucas Leads Lady Lions Past Bloomsburg 101-81 in Exhibition Game

Photo/Story posted November 8, 2011 in Sports, CommRadio by Jared Abbott

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The 12th-ranked Penn State Lady Lions defeated the Bloomsburg Huskies by a score of 101-81 in an exhibition game at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday.

The exhibition was the first chance for Lady Lions fans to see most of last year’s NCAA Tournament team back in action under head coach Coquese Washington. The team returned Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Alex Bentley and 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Maggie Lucas.

Lucas, while not starting last year, also managed to set the Big Ten single-season record for three-point field goals with 112 made, and was named a Freshman All-American and Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year.

She showed her scoring abilities off on Saturday, scoring 35 points to help the effort against Bloomsburg. She was 7-8 on three-point attempts and converted eight of her nine free throw attempts.

Lucas contributed more than just scoring, according to her coach.

“I thought she played very well defensively and was more aggressive,” Washington said. “I think that aggression on the defensive end has added some elements to her game.”

The team will look for Lucas to continue to be a major contributor this season. She was named a Preseason Third-Team All-American coming into this year, and performances like that will support the hype surrounding the sophomore.

For the rest of the team, the performance seemed rusty, especially on the defensive end.

“We had a hard time matching up in transition,” Washington said. “They also did a really good job going back door when we denied the wings.”

The Lady Lions struggled to stop the Huskies’ transition offense and three point shooting. Washington noted that the five-guard lineups employed by Bloomsburg led to match up problems with the taller, slower forwards of her defense. Bloomsburg head coach Bill Cleary noted that his offense played to its strengths in matching up against Penn State.

“We like to shoot the three,” Cleary said. “We shoot the ball very well. It’s one of the things we stress.”

Sophomore guard Catherine Noack was 5-6 from three, totaling 19 points in the game. Last season, the Lady Lions averaged a three-point field goal percent defense of 34.4 percent. However, against Bloomsburg they allowed an average percent of 54.2 percent.

Alongside Noack, senior guard Kelsey Gallagher shot well from three-point range, draining four of her five attempts. Overall, Gallagher shot 8-15 from the floor and totaled a team best 22 points.

Despite a solid offensive output, with four players in double figures, Bloomsburg’s defense struggled more than the Lady Lions. They gave up 101 points to a Penn State team that is also very solid shooting the three-pointer. Four of the five starters were in double figures with Lucas leading with a game-high 35.

Alex Bentley had 16 points going 7-12 from the floor. Bentley also had team-highs in steals with seven and rebounds with eight. Junior forward Mia Nickson had 14 points and four rebounds and junior center Nikki Greene had 12 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Zhaque Gray was the only starter without double-digit points, but she finished with nine.

Up next for the Lady Lions is the Lady Lion Classic they will be hosting this weekend. The two first-round matchups in the classic are Washington State against 12th ranked Penn State and Middle Tennessee against UNC-Wilmington. The championship and consolation games are both on Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center. Tune into ComRadio for live coverage of these games.

Jared Abbott is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Psychology. To contact him, email: jda5104@psu.edu.