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Penn State Basketball: Lady Lions return to postseason, host Hofstra in WNIT opener

on March 18, 2010 6:30 PM

University Park, Pa. — The Penn State Lady Lions (17-13, 8-10) will return to the postseason for the first time in five years after being selected to host Hofstra (19-13, 11-7 CAA) in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) at 7 p.m. on Thursday (March 18) at the Bryce Jordan Center. WNIT first round tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 16 through Penn State Athletics. This is Penn State's 23rd postseason bid and second appearance in the WNIT after winning the inaugural title in 1998.

Single-game tickets will be $13 for adults and $6 for youth and students. Season ticket holders can purchase tickets online through their existing athletics account until 6 p.m. Tuesday evening. Tickets will also be sold to season ticket holders and the general public by visiting the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office or by calling 814-865-5555 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The first 100 Penn State students to present their valid ID at Gate A of the Bryce Jordan Center on game day will receive free admission, courtesy of the Lady Lion Cager Club. Doors for Thursday's game will open two hours before game time, to minimize congestion at the Bryce Jordan Center will call and ticket windows.

The Lady Lions are a perfect 4-0 in the WNIT with their only appearance coming in 1998. In that tournament, Penn State defeated Villanova, St. Joseph's, Indiana and Baylor to win the inaugural WNIT crown. Helen Darling was selected as the Tournament MVP and Andrea Garner was an All-Tournament team selection.

This will be the first postseason appearance for the Lady Lions under head coach Coquese Washington. Penn State has earned its first winning season since the 2004-05 campaign this year and posted its most overall wins (17) and conference wins (8) in the last five years.

The Lady Lions are led by two-time All-Big Ten first team selection Tyra Grant (Youngstown, Ohio), who solidified her spot in Lady Lion history when she became the fourth player in school history to reach the 2,000-point mark against Iowa in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Grant is second in the Big Ten and 18th in the NCAA in scoring with a 19.1 per game average. She ranks ninth on Penn State's single-season scoring list with 574 points this year. Additionally, Grant is among the Big Ten leaders in free throw percentage (.789), steals (1.77), three-point field goals made (1.53) and minutes played (33.63).

Third team All-Big Ten pick and unanimous All-Freshman team choice Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) also paces Penn State. The rookie is sixth in the Big Ten in assists (3.93), eighth in field goal percentage (.444) and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.51). She is tied for sixth place on Penn State's freshman scoring list with 355 points in their first collegiate season. Bentley is also sixth on the Lady Lions' freshman assists list with 118 helpers.

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