UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Penn State Lady Lions (15-8, 7-6) led by as 15 points and forced 25 turnovers, but a late 17-4 run by No. 8/9 Ohio State (23-3, 11-2) gave the Buckeyes an 86-73 win at the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday. The Buckeyes were unstoppable from three-point range, knocking down a Big Ten record 17 threes and shooting 65.4% (17-26). Penn State has lost its last four games and pushed its losing streak against the Buckeyes to 11 games.
Senior Tyra Grant (Youngstown, Ohio) led four Lady Lions in double figures with 22 points to go along with four steals and two assists. Freshman Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) posted her second career 20-point game with 20 tallies on 10-of-13 shooting, including an 8-for-8 start from the field. She also dished out three assists and had two steals.
Freshman Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) added the seventh double-digit scoring performance of her career and tied her personal best with 12 points of 5-of-8 shooting. She also accounted for five rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Junior Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) chipped in 11 points and two steals, while Meredith Monroe (Olney, Md.) had a team-high seven rebounds and three steals.
After missing their first three shots, the Lady Lions caught fire from the field, knocking down their next four shots from the field to tie the game at 8-8 16:17 remaining. Bentley accounted for six of the eight points and Greene added a layup. After a defensive stop, Grant kicked off a 9-0 run to give Penn State a 17-8 lead with 12 and half minutes to play. Grant also knocked down a jumper, while Bentley and Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) added two points each during the spurt.
A 9-2 run for Ohio State brought the Buckeyes within four points at 21-17 with less than 10 minutes to play, but Penn State rebounded with 12-2 run led by back-to-back three-pointers for Grant, who had eight of the Lions' 12 tallies, to take a 33-19 lead with 6:34 on the clock. After an exchange of scores, the Buckeyes got a layup from Jantel Lavender and a three-pointer from Brittany Johnson to make it a nine-point Penn State lead with less than four minutes to play.
Trogele drained a three-pointer and Greene converted on an old-fashioned three-point play to push the Lady Lion lead to 15 points (41-26) with 2:37 left in the half. The Buckeyes continued their hot shooting from the outside with a pair of three-pointers from Samantha Prahalis and Johnson. The lead remained nine until back-to-back jumpers by Bentley gave the Lions a 48-35 lead with 11 seconds left. Lavender capped the first-half scoring with a layup with one second on the clock to send the teams into the locker room with Penn State leading 48-37.
The Lady Lions scored more points in the first half today than they did the entire game at Michigan State on Thursday. Bentley had a team-high 16 points in the opening frame, while Grant (13) and Greene (10) also reached double figures for Penn State. The Lady Lions notched 11 steals off of 18 Ohio State turnovers. Both teams shot lights out in the opening frame with Penn State connecting on 52.6% (20-38) of their shots and Ohio State hitting 58.3% (14-24) of their attempts, including 61.5% from three-point range.
Ohio State continued their solid shooting to open the second half with a three-pointer by Johnson to cut the Penn State lead to eight points (48-40). The Lady Lions responded with a fast break layup by Greene off of a great pass from Trogele. Bentley knocked down a jumper and they Trogele took a behind the back pass from Grant for a layup to give the Lady Lions a 54-40 lead with 18:20 to go in the game. After a basket by Prahalis, she was assessed a technical foul and Grant drained the ensuing free throws to make it a 56-42 game with 17:18.
Sarah Schulze drained a three-pointer to kick off a 20-7 run for the Buckeyes to help them close within one points at 63-62 with 11:33 remaining. Penn State showed its strength in transition offense with back-to-back fast break layups by Trogele off of passes from Gray and Greene, but Ohio State countered with a 17-4 run to take a 79-71 lead, their first lead since the 16:28 mark of the first half. Bentley knocked down a jumper to bring the Lions within six points (79-73), but Ohio State iced the game by making seven out of eight free throws down the stretch.
GAME NOTES: Ohio State set the Big Ten single-game record for three-point field goals made with 17 treys, passing the mark of 14 held by four different teams ... The loss extends Penn State's losing streak against Ohio State to 11 games ... With 15 steals, the Lady Lions had their most thefts since 12/21/2008 against Michigan State ... Ohio State is the first team this season to shoot better than 45% against Penn State ... The loss was only Penn State's 2nd loss when leading with 5:00 minutes remaining (14-2) ... Penn State falls to 9-2 when leading at the half ... The 25 turnovers by Ohio State are the most by a Penn State opponent since 12/9/2008 against Bucknell ... Zhaque Gray reached her 200th career point ... Meredith Monroe had a career-high three steals ... Nikki Greene tied her career high of 12 points for the sixth time this season ... The Lady Lions scored more points in the first half today than they did for the entire game at Michigan State on Thursday
The Lady Lions host Minnesota on Thursday at 7 p.m. Penn State will celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day with members of the Penn State women's sports teams on the concourse signing autographs before the game. It is also THON night for the Lady Lions and for each single-game Penn State student ticket purchased, $5 will be donated to THON. Single-game tickets can be purchased by calling the Penn State ticket office at 814-865-5555.
The 2010 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State took place on Sunday, Jan. 24 when the Lady Lions take on Illinois in the Bryce Jordan Center. The first three Pink Zone events have raised more than $80,000 for breast cancer awareness. This year's fundraising efforts will benefit Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. For more information or to donate online to the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone web site at www.gopsusports.com/pinkzone.
The Lady Lions hold several camps throughout the summer. There is a Lady Lion Basketball Camp available for girls of all ages, ranging from shooting camp to elite camp. The 2010 Lady Lion Basketball Camp schedule is as follows: Shooting Camp (June 13-15), Elite Camp (June 20-22), Skills Camp (June 20-23), Total Package Team Camp (June 24-26) and Games Galore Team Camp (August 6-8). For more information on Lady Lion Basketball Camps, please visit psusportscamps.com and click on Lady Lion Basketball Camp.