Lady Lions Advance in Big Ten Tourney
Alex Bentley had 19 points, and the Penn State women’s basketball team used an up-tempo offense to beat Purdue 73-61 on Friday. With the win, Penn State advances to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals against Illinois on Saturday.
Purdue shot out to a quick 5-0 lead, but a pair of threes from Zhaque Gray and Maggie Lucas gave the Lady Lions their first lead of the contest. The score remained close in the half, but Purdue eventually went up by seven at 31-24. Penn State finished the half on a 6-0 run to head into the break down 31-30. Penn State played quickly in the first half, always keeping Purdue on their toes.
Bentley put the Lady Lions ahead with a layup on the first possession of the second half, and the Lady Lions never looked back. Their up-tempo offense seemed to tire out Purdue, who had beaten Indiana just a day earlier. Penn State slowly extended the lead and made their foul shots at the end to win 73-61.
Bentley led all scorers with 19 points, Julia Trogele finished with 12 points and six rebounds, and Nikki Greene scored eight points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Lucas finished with 12 points and scored three 3-pointers, giving her the Penn State record for most 3-pointers in a season with 105. Lucas is one 3-pointer shy of tying the Big Ten record, which is currently held by Ohio State’s Caity Matter.
With the win, the Lady Lions improve to 23-8 on the season. Next, No. 2 Penn State will face No.11 Illinois on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Illini got to this point by upsetting both No.6 Wisconsin and No. 3 Michigan. Penn State won both match-ups with Illinois during the regular season. The winner of this game will move on to the Big Ten Championship against either No. 1 Michigan State or No. 5 Ohio State on Sunday.