Greene leads PSU over Wisconsin
UNIVERSITY PARK (AP) – Nikki Greene’s performance Thursday night prompted only three postgame words from teammate Alex Bentley.
“She’s a beast,” Bentley said after Green scored a season-high 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead No. 8 Penn State to an 84-40 rout of Wisconsin.
It was Greene’s third double-double of the season.
“They were guarding Alex (Bentley) and Maggie (Lucas) pretty tough and I took advantage of what their defense gave me and I just scored,” Greene said.
Bentley added 14 points, Lucas had 11 and Ariel Edwards 10 for the Nittany Lions (14-2, 4-0 Big Ten), who won their eighth straight game overall and third in a row by at least 20 points. It was Penn State’s first conference victory of 40 or more points since the 2000-01 season.
Morgan Paige scored 14 points and Jacki Gulczynski had 10 for Wisconsin (8-10, 0-5), which lost its sixth consecutive game.
“When you can string some wins together, you certainly start to build a little bit of confidence,” said Penn State coach Coquese Washington.
Penn State was able to make the most of a size advantage under the basket, scoring 52 points in the paint compared to 10 by the Badgers.
“When Nikki can play big minutes, she can put up big numbers for us and that opens things up for other people,” said Washington. “Nikki’s incredibly talented.”
Relentless defensive pressure enabled the Nittany Lions to outrebound Wisconsin 55-31 and Penn State scored 29 points off 24 Wisconsin turnovers.
“Our foundation and defensive principles have to be solid,” Washington said. “We did a good job of really attacking the ball, especially on the defensive end.”
The Nittany Lions also had a distinct depth advantage. Wisconsin began the season with 14 players but is down to nine after senior Taylor Wurtz (back) and sophomore AnnMarie Brown (knee) underwent the team’s most recent season-ending surgeries.
Wisconsin coach Bobbie Kelsey also noted that starting center Cassie Rochel, who had four points and six rebounds, was battling a stomach illness.