Head Coach Coquese Washington described the moment like “watching her kids open presents on Christmas morning.” However you want to call it, one thing so for sure — the Lady Lions 77-62 victory over Michigan last night was good enough to clinch the program’s third straight Big Ten Championship.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” said senior guard Maggie Lucas. “I don’t think many people believed in us. People within the program worked so so hard for this.”
Lucas, with 17 points and 7 assists, and the other three seniors led the way for the Lady Lions, with all four reaching double digits in points. Ariel Edwards had her second straight 20-point game, with 21 points and five rebounds. Talia East had a career high with 16 points and 7 rebounds followed by Dara Taylor with 11 points and 7 assists.
The Lady Lions got off to a slow start and were down 8-4 in the first three minutes of the game. But a 7-2 run by Lucas gave the Lions a 11-10 lead with 14 minutes left in the half. Penn State would end up going into the half up 40-31 after a 10-2 run.
The Lady Lions came back from the break with the momentum from the first half and dominated the rest of the way. Michigan outscored Penn State 9-4 in the final four minutes but it wasn’t enough and the Lady Lions went on to win the game 77-62.
“This is the first time in program history that we’ve won three Big Ten championships in a row,” Washington said. “This program has such a storied legacy. To be able to do something that this program hasn’t done before is pretty hard. For this class and this team to do something that sets them apart — that’s really cool for these seniors and this team to have that.”
The Lady Lions have to wait until tonight when the rest of the Big Ten schedule is completed to find out seeding for the 2014 Big Ten Tournament, which begins Friday in Indianapolis.