Lucas’ 25 leads Penn State past Wisconsin

From staff reports

UNIVERSITY PARK – The No. 11 Penn State Lady Lions (20-5, 11-2 Big Ten) used a 9-0 run late in the second half to post a 78-68 win over Wisconsin (10-15, 3-10) in the Eighth Annual Pink Zone at Penn State game in front of 12,585 fans, including 698 breast cancer survivors. The crowd is the sixth-largest crowd for a women’s game in the Bryce Jordan Center.

Senior guard Maggie Lucas continued her stellar play with a game-high 25 points on 8-of-17 shooting to go along with five rebounds, five assists and a steal. She was 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Fellow senior Ariel Edwards posted her third double-double of the season with 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass.

Dara Taylor also reached double figures with 10 points, four assists and three steals. She has had a steal in 27 consecutive games, dating back to last season. Junior Tori Waldner scored in double-digits as well with 10 points to go along with four rebounds and two blocks, while senior Talia East, who keyed the Lions’ late run, ended with eight points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 21 minutes.

The Badgers sprinted out to an 11-2 lead in the first 3:17 of the game, but theLady Lions responded with a Waldner jumper, followed by a bucket by Edwards. After a score by Wisconsin’s Morgan Paige, Lucas scored on a jumper and a layup. Edwards capped the 10-2 run and close within one point (13-12) with 12:24 left.

After three points for the Badgers, the Lady Lions kicked off a 20-2 run to take a 30-18 lead with 6:33 left on the clock. Lucas scored the first seven points of the run and accounted for nine total points, while Taylor added five pointsduring the spurt. Wisconsin responded by scoring six of the next eight points to make it a 32-24 game with less than four minutes to play. The squads exchanged scores for the rest of the half to send the Lions into the break with a 40-34 lead.

The Lady Lions came out strong to start the second frame as East and Waldner scored on Penn State’s first two possessions to extend the lead to 10 (44-34) less than a minute into the second. However, the Badgers would bounce back to score the next five points to cut the gap in half (44-39).

After an old-fashioned three-point play by Edwards, the Badgers scored six of the next eight points to close within four (49-45) with 15:27 to play. Peyton Whitted converted on a layup but the Badgers went on a 6-2 spurt to make it a 53-51 with less than 12 minutes to go.

Edwards converted on her second three-point play of the game to stretch the lead tofive. However, the Badgers came back strong with an 8-2 run to take a 59-58 lead with 4:31 on the clock.

East took a pass from Lucas and connected on the basket to jump-start the Lady Lions and give them a 60-59 lead with 4:22 left. After a pair of Lucas free throws, East grabbed a defensive rebound and threw the outlet pass to Taylor, who was fouled. Taylor made the first free throw and missed the second, but East snagged the rebound and converted on the layup to extend the lead. After a steal by East on the ensuing Badger possession, Edwards made her layup to complete the 9-0 run and give Penn State a 67-59 lead with 3:05 left.

The squads exchanged scores the rest of the way until Penn State sealed the 10-point win on two free throws by Lucas and one freebie by Mitchell.