The 16th ranked Lady Lions had to battle for its win in East Lansing last night, but were able to take down Michigan State, 66-54, for the team’s seventh win in eight games.
Penn State’s seniors again helped lead the Lady Lions to victory. Maggie Lucas continued her recent hot streak with 16 points, moving her into 10th place for career scoring in Big Ten history. Dara Taylor was leading scorer for the night with 18 points, while Ariel Edwards scored 16 points and had six rebounds.
The Lady Lions looked like they were in for a long game when the Spartans jumped to a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game. Penn State rallied back after a jumper by Lucas and a free throw by Talia East to help spark a 9-3 run and tied the game at 12-12 with more than 12 minutes remaining in the half. During the run, Edwards lead the Lions with four points, while Tori Waldner and Taylor both had two points.
However, the Spartans responded with a 12-4 run to take a 24-16 lead with less than seven minutes left in the half. Lucas and Edwards sparked the Lady Lions response with a 7-2 run to cut the Spartans lead to two, 25-23. The two teams traded blows for the remainder of the half, and Michigan State took a 34-27 lead going into the break.
The two teams went back and forth at the beginning of the second half, but the Lions caught fire and went on an 11-0 run to take the lead at 44-40 with 14:30 left in the game.
Michigan State was able to tie the game at 44, but the Lady Lions fought on with nine consecutive points to give themselves a 53-44 lead with 7:32 remaining. The Spartans did not go down without a fight, and scored three of the next four points, but free throws from Lucas and Candice Agee gave the Lions a 10 point lead with 4:49 left. Michigan State couldn’t close the gap and the Lions expanded their lead with nine free throws in the final two minutes to win the game, 66-54.
This was the Spartans’ first conference loss and the first time Penn State has won back-to-back games in East Lansing since 2003 and 2004. The Lady Lions return to the BJC on Wednesday night to face Indiana at 7 p.m..