Penn State Women’s Basketball: Lady Lions Handle Georgetown in Another Lopsided Nonconference Victory
Updated at 2:43 p.m.
Penn State’s nonconference season is winding down, and few challenges remain for a team ranked in the top 10 nationally and projected to win a second straight Big Ten championship.
Sunday’s matchup with Georgetown (7-3) had the looks of such a challenge before the 97-74 victory was final. Here was a Big East program with a dynamic guard in Sugar Rodgers, who entered the game averaging 24.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and four assists.
But Penn State ran away from the Hoyas in the first half, using a 25-3 scoring run to put the game on ice and leaving Wednesday’s trip to Virginia Tech as the last against a program from a major conference during the nonconference portion of the schedule.
Junior guard Maggie Lucas netted a career-high 39 points, surpassing the 33-point mark she set against Michigan State on Jan. 7, 2012. Senior guard Alex Bentley added 23 for the Lady Lions (7-2).
"The corners were gonna be open," Lucas said. "If we moved the ball fast, there were gonna be openings. It's nice to get some openings."
Added Bentley: "I'm so happy she gets nights like this because all that hard work is paying off."
Should the Lady Lions play as they did here Sunday, then the next true test may not come until the Big Ten season, and few teams there truly can take a run at preventing the Lady Lions from repeating as conference champions. Much like a year ago, this Penn State team will not be judged until March. Such is life when you return nearly every player from a Sweet 16 team and add a pair of McDonald’s High School All-Americans.
Before Thursday night’s 67-52 loss at No. 2 Connecticut, Penn State had not been in a matchup of top-10 teams since losing to UConn in the Elite Eight round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Such games are the real measure of the program under sixth-year coach Coquese Washington, who resurrected it from the Rene Portland scandal.
"We're still a work in progress," Washington said. "It's a journey. It's a marathon, and we wanna just keep getting better game by game so we’re playing our best basketball when March rolls around."
Washington is now one win shy of notching her 100th victory at Penn State. It can be done Wednesday night in Blacksburg and would be another nice footnote, like Lucas’s point total Sunday, in a narrative in which much bigger storylines could, and are expected to, appear.
Halftime: Penn State 53, Georgetown 25
Maggie Lucas is on a record pace after one half of basketball Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The outcome against the Georgetown Hoyas has already been unofficially decided. Penn State ripped off 10 straight points to take an early nine-point lead. Following a Georgetown triple, Lucas knocked in three 3s, and Alex Bentley and Talia East finished in the paint to grow the lead to 19 as part of a 25-3 scoring run.
It hasn’t been close since.
The final 20 minutes here are a mere formality. Lucas is the one worth watching. She poured in 26 first-half points on 8-for-15 shooting, including 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
The school record for points in a game is 49, set by Kelly Mazzante on Dec. 28, 2001 at Minnesota.
Just in case you were looking for a reason to keep monitoring the play here.