Lady Lions NCAA Preview: UTEP
The Penn State women’s basketball team will start what it hopes to be a long tournament run when it takes on UTEP on Sunday at 5:15 p.m on ESPN2. The Lady Lions earned a four seed in the Kingston regional, while the Miners are seeded thirteenth.
Penn State had a successful regular season, going 24-6 and 13-3 in the Big Ten, which was good enough to take home the Big Ten regular season title. In the Lady Lions last game, however, Purdue won on a last-second layup in the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State will need Maggie Lucas to recover from her poor showing against Purdue in order to advance. Lucas led the team in scoring this season with 19.1 points per game.
UTEP is also coming off a successful season, going 29-3 and 15-1 in Conference USA. The Miners took home both the regular season title and the Conference USA Tournament title. Gloria Brown leads UTEP in both scoring and rebounding. She averages 11.9 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game.
The key for Penn State will be controlling the tempo of the game. The Lady Lions are at their best in transition with Alex Bentley at the point. UTEP plays at a slightly slower pace than Penn State, and the Miners will hope to force the Lady Lions to play in their half-court offense.
Penn State will be happy to have Ariel Edwards back for the NCAA Tournament. Depth is something the Lady Lions were seriously lacking at the end of the season. Edwards provides good size and speed off the bench and will be a welcome addition to the squad.
If the Lady Lions win on Sunday, they will face the winner of No. 5 LSU and No. 12 San Diego State. These games are being played in Baton Rouge, La., so LSU will be favored to advance. The second round game will take place on Tuesday.