Penn State Women's Basketball: Lady Lions Fend Off Purdue to Claim Sole Possession of First Place in Big Ten
Updated at 9:09 p.m.
Rapid Recap: No. 8 Penn State 69, No. 13 Purdue 61
How it Happened: Despite Penn State never trailing, this see-saw affair wasn’t decided until the game’s final five minutes.
The Lady Lions, which staked themselves to a lead as large as 13 early in the second half, never put Purdue away, and a late scoring run pushed their lead back into double digits before they held off a furious Purdue rally in the game’s final minutes.
Leading by six with less than a minute to play, senior guard Alex Bentley hit a jumper to push the lead back to eight and secure first place in the Big Ten standings.
Turning Point: Penn State used a 10-0 scoring run over a five-minute span late in the game to build a 12-point lead with less than two minutes to play behind baskets by Mia Nickson, Maggie Lucas and Nikki Greene.
Player of the Game: Lucas finished with a team-high 17 points, but Purdue’s Moses Courtney led all players with 21 points on 5-for-8 shooting, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
Stat of the Game: Penn State exerted its size by holding a 36-24 advantage in points in the paint. Junior forward Talia East finished with nine points off the bench, just two shy of her career high. Nickson finished with 11 points, and Greene and Ariel Edwards each finished with six.
What it Means: Penn State moves ahead of Purdue by one game in the Big Ten standings. The win comes with added significance as it was the only regular season meeting between the two schools this season. That could be the difference when conference seedings are announced for next month’s conference tournament. The Lady Lions also rebounded from their worst loss of the season, a 63-61 setback Thursday night at unranked Wisconsin.
On Deck: Penn State travels to Indiana for a 6:30 p.m. tip on Thursday. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network. The Hoosiers (10-12, 1-8 Big Ten) are in last place in the conference standings.
Halftime Update: No. 8 Penn State 34, No. 13 Purdue 23
Penn State and Purdue combined for 27 free throws and 20 turnovers in the first half of their Big Ten showdown Monday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The first half was officiated tight, and the play wasn’t always pretty as the Lady Lions took a 34-23 lead into the locker room with first place in the Big Ten standings on the line.
Penn State saw its lead shrink to one before an 8-0 run brought it back up to nine. The Lady Lions never trailed in the game’s opening 20 minutes.
Junior guard Maggie Lucas led all scorers with 10 points, and forwards Talia East and Ariel Edwards combined for 12 points off the bench to pace the Lions.