Lucas drains 3s as PSU tops Fordham

UNIVERSITY PARK – Senior guard Maggie Lucas drained four three-pointers to lead the Penn State Lady Lions to a 78-61 victory over Fordham (1-1) Sunday. With the quartet of three-pointers, Lucas moved into second place on the Big Ten’s career three-pointers list (297), passing Michigan State’s Lindsay Bowen.

Lucas followed up her stellar 33-point outing in Friday’s season opener by pouring in 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including going 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. She also had another perfect day from the free throw line, hitting all five shots to extend her consecutive streak to 30. The 23-point performance marks the 48th time that the senior has amassed at least 20 points in a game.

Senior guard/forward Ariel Edwards and senior guard Dara Taylor also reached double figures on the afternoon. Edwards scored 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added four rebounds and four assists to complete her day, while Taylor totaled 12 points and chipped in two rebounds and two assists. Sophomore center Candice Agee tied her career high with eight points and also pulled in seven rebounds.

The Lady Lions used a well-balanced offensive attack over the first 5:30 to build a quick six-point lead (11-6). Five different Penn State players scored the team’s first five buckets. Taylor scored the game’s opening points by hitting a jumper followed by layups from Agee and Talia East. Lucas then connected on her first three of the day and Kaliyah Mitchell added a jumper to close out the Lions’ early spurt.

The Rams’ Hannah Missry responded by sinking a shot from beyond the arc to trim the Penn State lead to 11-8 with 14 minutes remaining in the first frame, but that was as close as Fordham could get for the remainder of the game.

The Lady Lions answered by reeling off 11 of the game’s next 13 points over a three-minute span to increase their lead to double digits. Lucas started the run by canning a triple and then making a runner in the lane. After a Mitchell free throw and a Fordham successful layup, Penn State freshman Keke Sevillian connected from distance and Taylor converted a jumper to cap the run.

The Rams responded by going on an 8-2 run, cutting the Penn State lead to seven (25-18), but Edwards drained back-to-back jumpers to push the lead back to 11 (29-18) with six minutes left. Over the next five minutes of action, Penn State managed to methodically increase its lead to 15 (38-23) with just under a minute to play. Lucas was the catalyst during the stretch, scoring five of Penn State’s nine points off of her third trey of the half and two makes from the charity stripe. However, Fordham scored the final five points of the half to cut the Lady Lion lead to just 10 (38-28) heading into the break.

Edwards began the second stanza by making a jumper and draining a triple for the Lady Lions to jumpstart a 12-4 Penn State spurt in the first three minutes of the half to grab a commanding 18-point lead (50-32). East finished a layup, Lucas converted two free throws and Taylor capped off the run with a make from long range to give the Blue and White its largest lead of the game at the time.

Once again, the Rams refused to go away. Over the next three and a half minutes, Fordham accounted for 10 of the next 12 points to trim Penn State’s lead back down to 52-42 with 13:12 left on the scoreboard. After the Rams fought to get back in the game, the Lady Lions immediately went on a run to put the contest away.

During the next eight minutes of action, Penn State outscored Fordham 23-6, building its largest lead of the afternoon at 75-48 and put the game out of reach. Edwards and Lucas combined for 16 of the Blue and White’s 23 points over the run. Fordham scored 13 of the final 16 points for the final margin of 78-61.

Notes: The Lady Lions extended their home court winning streak to 22, which is tied for the fourth-longest in school history. Penn State also extended its non-conference home court streak to 15 games, which is tied for the second-longest streak in program history. This is the eighth consecutive 2-0 start for the Lady Lions.