Lady Lions Grab Easy Win Against Northwestern
Using a balanced attack that featured four players in double figures scoring, the Penn State women’s basketball team cruised to an easy victory over Northwestern, 77-63. The win vaulted the Lady Lions into first place in the Big Ten with three games left to play this season.
Penn State (20-5, 10-3 Big Ten) shot out to an early lead and never looked back. The Wildcats (13-12, 3-9 Big Ten) struggled offensively and had trouble containing the Lady Lion offense. Despite not shooting well from 3-point range, Penn State was still able to pull out a 16-point lead at the half.
The Lady Lions extended their lead to 21 early in the second half, but Northwestern refused to give up. The Wildcats began to play more aggressively, often forcing the Lady Lions into errors or quick shots. The increased aggression was not enough, however, and Penn State managed to win on the road by 14 points.
Alex Bentley led the way for the Lady Lions with 18 points. Zhaque Grey came in a close second with 17 points. Maggie Lucas struggled from the field, going just 3-for-15, but still managed 11 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Nikki Greene was the final Lady Lion to reach double digits with 10 points.
Penn State dominated Northwestern in terms of shooting, hitting shots at a 46.8 percent clip compared to just 32.9 percent for the Wildcats. Neither team shot well from beyond the arc, however, with both teams ending up around 20 percent. In the end, the Lady Lions found it easier to score in the paint, whether by driving the ball or by passing it to one of the post players.
The win against Northwestern sets up a top-of-the-table clash against Purdue on Thursday. The Boilermakers lost to Ohio State on Sunday, leaving them a half-game behind the Lady Lions in the Big Ten. Penn State, which has won nine of its last 10 games, will hope to ride its recent momentum against Purdue. A win would set up an even bigger match-up against Ohio State next Monday–a game that would probably crown the victor with a Big Ten regular season title.