After a jumper from junior Maggie Lucas just 19 seconds in the game, the Lady Lions never lost the lead against #14 Purdue in the Bryce Jordan Center on Monday night.
Lucas finished the contest with a game-leading 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals in the 69-61 Big Ten matchup. The win gives Penn State sole possession of first place in the Big Ten Conference.
Purdue was plagued with turnovers, committing 11 in the first half alone, and letting Penn State score off of 9 of them by the end of the game.
At the half, Lucas led with ten points, and Ariel Edwards and Talia East came next with six apiece. East, although she committed three fouls, grabbed five rebounds in the first.
Purdue started a comeback early in the second half, coming within two points at 50-48 when Purdue’s Drey Mingo made a lay-up after a defensive miscommunication from Penn State. After head coach Coquese Washington called a timeout, the Lady Lions never looked back.
After a Lucas breakaway jumper with 2:40 left in the game, Penn State led 63-55 and the Jordan Center crowd got on their feet. Less than a minute later, Lucas grabbed a steal and fed it to senior Mia Nickson, who finished with eleven points, to push Penn State to 67-55.
Senior Nikki Greene, who grabbed nine rebounds, was fouled with 33 seconds left in the game. Although she missed, Bentley stole the ball and dribbled out for the win. Bentley ended the game with 13 points.
The Lady Lions take on Indiana in Bloomington on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.