UNIVERSITY PARK-A trio of Penn State Lady Lions will have the opportunity to play two more home games at the conclusion of their careers.
Penn State's second all-time leading scorer Maggie Lucas and seniors Ariel Edwards and Talia East will open the 2014 NCAA Tournament at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.
These three seniors have combined for 99 career wins and haven't lost back-to-back games since February 17th and 24th 2011.
Playing at home should be a nice advantage for this group of seniors, considering they have compiled a 51-10 record at home over their careers.
"I think competitiveness is a big key (for the senior class)," Penn State assistant coach Kia Damon said. "One of the big things about this class in particular is that they're accustomed to winning. When you're accustomed to winning, you're accustomed to have the pressure of performing at a high level game-in and game-out. I think what these guys have been able to do in their four years here is pretty remarkable. We've gone four years since we've lost back-to-back games."
This group also had the chance to play at home at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season as freshmen.
Lucas contributed 12 points, six rebounds and three steals in 29 minutes in the 2011 win over 11-seed Dayton.
Edwards added two points, three rebounds and two assists in 10 minutes of play versus. Dayton.
The win was Penn State's first NCAA tournament win in seven years.
"Before we got here, the team had taken a dive and they had a few rough seasons," Lucas said. "My class, the class before us and the class before them, a culmination of that group...I think we've really got the program back in the national conversation. Two Big Ten championships...It's been great."
The Lady Lions advanced to the second-round and fell 75-73 to DePaul when Keisha Hampton drained two free throws with 4.9 seconds left to earn the win for the 3-seed.
The opportunity to play a few more games at home is definitely something Penn State will cherish again.
"It will be really exciting," Edwards said. "It was here our freshman year, so it will be like things are coming full circle. Any time you can play in front of the great fans we have it's a great experience."
The Lady Lions have had trouble the last few years with placement and playing in their opponents backyard-something other teams will face when they come to the Bryce Jordan Center.
At the end of the 2011-12 season the Lady Lions got to the Sweet 16 and had to travel to Kingston, Rhode Island and play top-seed and 8-time National Champion UConn.
The Huskies dumped the Lady Lions 77-59 en route to their fifth consecutive final four.
Following the 2012-13 season, arguably its best in recent memory when they went 15-2 in Big Ten play and a perfect 14-0 at home, Penn State was rewarded with a 3-seed and a trip to play 6-seed LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they lost 71-66.
This year, the tables will be turned and two likely lower-seeded teams will encounter the challenge of playing at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.
Lucas is excited to possibly one more chance to play at home.
"The idea of that is very exciting," Lucas said. "It's a huge factor to be able to play at home in the NCAA tournament. We're excited about that and we're looking forward to it."