* Courtesy of Penn State Sports Information
HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL.; March 8, 2013 - The #8/8 Penn State Lady Lions (25-4, 14-2 Big Ten) shot 62.5% in the second half en route to a 76-66 win over ninth-seeded Ohio State (18-13, 7-9) in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals Friday night. The Lady Lions advance to face the winner of the Michigan State-Michigan game at approximately 7:15 p.m. (ET) tomorrow in the semifinals.
Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) went 8-for-13 from the field en route to 20 points with four assists and a steal to lead the Lady Lions. Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) knocked down a trio of three-pointers en route to 18 markers with two assists and two steals, while Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) also reached double figures with 17 points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Senior forward Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) just missed out on a double-double with eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Junior guard Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) was also solid for Penn State with nine points, four assists and two steals.
The squads found themselves tied at 10-10 at the 15:23 mark in an up-tempo start to the game. After a bucket by Ashley Adams gave the Buckeyes the lead, Penn State responded with a 9-2 run that featured five points from Lucas and four tallies from Bentley for a 19-14 lead with 12:24 to play. However, Ohio State responded with a 12-3 run of their own to establish a 26-22 lead with less than seven remaining.
After a Taylor bucket, the squads exchanged three-points with OSU's coming from Tayler Hill and Penn State's coming from Bentley. Ameryst Alston scored for the Buckeyes with 2:46 remaining, but that is the last bucket of the half for Ohio State. The Lady Lions ended the first with a 6-0 run that featured two free throws from Lucas, a jumper by Bentley and a pair of freebies from Greene to give Penn State the 33-31 lead heading into the break.
The Buckeyes opened the scoring in the second half to tie the game at 33-33, but consecutive scores by Greene and Taylor put the Lions up 37-33 with 18:48 left. After an exchange of buckets, the Buckeyes scored the game's next four points to tie the game at 39-39 with just under 17 minutes to play.
Bentley kicked the Lady Lions into gear with a score before Lucas hit back-to-back three-pointers. Nickson capped the 10-0 Penn State run with a pair of free throws to give the Lady Lions a 10-point lead (49-39) with 14 to play. After an Ohio State score, Nickson and Greene combined to put PSU up 53-41 with 12:23 left. Hill connected on a three-pointer to cut into the lead, but Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) responded with a pair of free throws to kick off a 7-1 Penn State run. Lucas converted on a three-point player and Nickson ended the run with a basket to make it a 15-point Penn State lead (60-45) with 9:41 on the clock.
The Buckeyes scored five of the game's next seven points to cut the PSU lead to 12 (62-50), but four consecutive points by Greene and a pair of Bentley pushed the lead to 68-50 with 5:25 remaining. Ohio State clicked off a 7-0 run to close within 11 (68-57) and that is where the lead remained until back-to-back three-pointers and a free throw from Hill cut the Penn State lead to seven (73-66) with 45 seconds to play. The Lady Lions scored the final three points of the game from the free throw line for the 76-66 win.
GAME NOTES: Penn State improves to 25-16 in Big Ten Tournament games and advance to the semifinals for the third-straight year … The Lady Lions improve to 34-21 in games against Ohio State and 5-5 in Big Ten Tournament matchups … Penn State improves to 13-3 all-time in Big Ten quarterfinal games … The Lady Lions improve to 10-4 when the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament … Penn State is off to its best start in its first 29 games since the 2003-04 squad also started 25-4 … Maggie Lucas' 593 points this season moves her past Tanisha Wright (2004-05) for most points in a season … With four assists, Alex Bentley passed Brianne O'Rourke for seventh place on Penn State's all-time helpers list with (560) … Mia Nickson recorded her 600th rebound in a Penn State uniform and her 700th rebound in her overall career … Nikki Greene score her 1,100th point in a Lady Lion uniform … The 17 points for Greene sets a career-high for her in Big Ten Tournament games, surpassing her mark of 12 vs. Purdue on March 3, 2012.