Penn State Women's Basketball: Lady Lions Turn Back Nebraska, 80-58 to Remain Unbeaten in Big Ten Play
By McKenzie Millward
StateCollege.com spring intern
Rapid Recap: Penn State 80, Nebraska 58
What Happened: The Lady Lions have stressed the importance of defense as they roll along in conference play. With Nebraska missing key shots, Penn State answered across the board. Penn State used a 20-7 run late in the first half to separate itself from the Cornhuskers.
In the second half, Penn State saw its lead grow to as large as 26 behind its defense. Guards Alex Bentley, Dara Taylor and Maggie Lucas combined for 11 of the team's 13 steals, disrupting to the flow of the Huskers' offense.
Penn State won back-to-back conference games by 20 or more points for the first time since 2004-05. The Lady Lions are the defending Big Ten champions and improved to 3-0 in conference play following last week's 76-55 victory at Michigan State.
Player of the Game: Bentley pumped up the team by improving her defensive game and leading the team, along with Lucas, with 19 points. She also grabbed five rebounds and recorded a game-high five steals.
Stat of the Game: Penn State senior Mia Nickson led the team with a total of 11 rebounds throughout the game, followed by senior Nikki Greene with 10. They were the only two players who recorded double-digit rebounds.
Turning Point: Bentley’s half-court shot before the halftime buzzer gave the team the motivation it thrives off of entering the second half. As confidence grew, the team progressed in the second half to complete shots from a variety of angles.
What It Means: Bentley and Lucas are considered the leaders of the Lady Lions. While improving on the defensive end and boosting the enthusiasm of the team, the two guards have led the team on a three-game winning streak to open Big Ten play.
On Deck: The Lady Lions will host Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Thursday in another Big Ten matchup.
Halftime Update: Penn State 40, Nebraska 27
Alex Bentley let fly a last-second heave from half-court, held her shooting form as it dropped through the hoop hitting nothing but net, was mobbed by her teammates then retreated to the locker room having given Penn State its largest lead of the first half.
Penn State (12-2, 2-0 Big Ten) overcame early shooting woes to take a 40-27 halftime lead against No. 23 Nebraska on Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Lady Lions used a 20-7 run to build a 12-point lead late in the half.
Nebraska (12-4, 2-1) cut the deficit to eight in the closing second before Penn State ended the half with five points in the final 13 seconds, including Bentley’s half-court shot as time expired.
Penn State was led by its guard play as Bentley (12) and Maggie Lucas (11) paced the Lady Lions.
Despite early shooting woes, Penn State finished the half hitting at a 44.1 percent clip. Nebraska was held to less than 30 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes.