Lady Lions Clinch Big Ten Title With 84-66 Win Over Ohio State
The Penn State women’s basketball team clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title for the first time since 2004 with an 84-66 win over No. 8/11 Ohio State on Monday night. Three Lady Lions had double-doubles in the dominating victory.
Penn State (22-5, 12-3 Big Ten) has been known all season for its guard play. Against Ohio State (23-4, 10-4 Big Ten), however, the Lady Lions went inside on almost every possession. Nikki Greene and Mia Nickson dominated the post, leading to some staggering figures. The Lady Lions out-rebounded the Buckeyes 60-32 and grabbed 29 offensive boards to just eight for Ohio State. Penn State had 14 more shot attempts than Ohio State and made 11 more free throws.
Greene had a double-double in the first half alone, and she eventually finished with a career-high 25 points and 15 rebounds. Nickson got hers early in the second half, and she ended with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Lucas was the final Penn State player to earn a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. It was the first for Lucas, and it was the first time since Nov. 29, 2008, that the Lady Lions had three players do so in a game.
Penn State’s play on offense overshadowed a good defensive game. The Lady Lions held the highest-scoring offense in the Big Ten to just 66 points. Ohio State shot 40 percent from the field, but went just 3-for-14 from 3-point range. Samantha Prahalis and Tayler Hill paced Ohio State with 16 points apiece. The Buckeyes performed better in the second half, but not nearly well enough to erase the 15-point deficit they faced at halftime.
The story for Penn State has to be Greene though. Coming into the game, Greene was averaging under 20 minutes a game due to constant foul trouble. She managed to stay out of trouble on Monday, leading to 26 minutes on the court. She used that extra time to good effect, scoring 16 more points and grabbing seven more rebounds than she normally does.
With the win, the Lady Lions clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Their work is not done yet though. To clinch the Big Ten title outright, either Ohio State has to lose one of its two remaining games, or Penn State needs to beat Minnesota on Sunday. The game against the Golden Gophers is at the BJC at 2 p.m. Penn State won the first meeting of the season 68-65 in Minnesota.