Lady Lions earn No. 6 seed in NCAA Tournament

University Park, Pa. — The Penn State Lady Lions (24-9, 11-5) returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years Monday night after earning a No. 6 seed in the 2011 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament where they will face No. 11 seed Dayton (21-11) Saturday at 11:10 a.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center. The game will be televised on ESPN2. The Penn State-Dayton contest will be the first game of a doubleheader with No. 3 seed DePaul (27-6) facing No. 14 Navy (20-11) at approximately 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The winner of each game will face off in a second round matchup on Monday at 7 p.m.

This is rematch of the season opener for both teams as the Lady Lions topped the Flyers on Nov. 12, 112-107 in double overtime. Junior Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) knocked down a pair of three-pointers inside of the final 1:20 of regulation to force overtime and finished the game with a career-high 27points on 10-of-17 shooting, including a 7-for-11 effort from behind the arc. Also in the November win, sophomore Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) notched her second career double-double with career highs of 20 points and 16 rebounds, while sophomore Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) narrowly missed her first career double-double with 26 points and nine assists.
 
The Lady Lions are 1-1 all-time against Dayton, but lost their only home meeting (67-66 in 2008-09). Penn State is a perfect 4-0 against DePaul all-time, but hasn’t faced the Blue Demons since the 1992-93 season. The Lady Lions have never met the Midshipmen on the hardwood.
 
Penn State makes its 22nd overall NCAA Tournament appearance and first since dropping a first-round decision to Liberty in the 2005 tourney. The All-session and single-session tickets for the 2011 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament are now available and can be purchased by calling 814-865-5555 or visiting the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
 
Lady Lions are one of only 10 teams to earn 22 or more NCAA Tournament berths. The Lady Lions are 26-21 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 16-4 mark in home games. Penn State is a perfect 8-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament games at the Bryce Jordan Center.
 
All-session tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens and $15 for youth and students with a valid ID. Single-session tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth and students. Groups of 20 or more can purchase single-session tickets for $8 each. The first 100 Penn State students will get in for free for Saturday’s game, courtesy of the Lady Lion Cager Club.

Head coach Coquese Washington, who is making her first NCAA Tournament appearance as a head coach, becomes the 29th person to play and coach in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. She is the third representative with Penn State ties, joining Joanie O’Brien and Susan Robinson Fruchl, who each played for the Lady Lions.

The Lady Lions posted their first 20-win season and highest Big Ten finish since the 2003-04 season with a 24-9 overall record and an 11-5 mark in conference play. Freshman Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) was selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Sixth Player of the Year after breaking the Big Ten single-season three-pointers record (110), as well as the Penn State freshman scoring mark (533). Lucas is among the Big Ten leaders in scoring with a 16.2 per game average. Sophomore Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) became the 11th player in school history to claim first team All-Big Ten accolades from the coaches, joining the likes of Kelly Mazzante, Helen Darling, Tanisha Wright and Tyra Grant. Bentley is in the Top 15 in the Big Ten in scoring(13th - 13.9), assists (2nd - 5.0), free throw percentage (13th - .793), steals (6th - 2.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (4th - 1.7).
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Last Updated March 21, 2011