IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The No. 8/9 Penn State Lady Lions (21-3, 11-1 Big Ten) landed four players in double figures, led by Maggie Lucas' (Narberth, Pa.) 21 points, en route to an 81-69 win at Iowa (16-10, 5-7) Thursday (Feb. 14) night. The win improves the Lady Lions to 11-1 in conference play, their best start since the 2002-03 team also started 11-1.
Lucas connected on a trio of three-pointers as she posted her 11th 20-point performance of the season and 42nd of her career. With her performance, she moved into eighth place on Penn State's career scoring list, passing teammate Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Lisa Shepherd with 1,669 points. She also tallied four rebounds and a steal. Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) provided a spark off of the bench, going 5-for-7 from the field and free throw line en route to 15 points in 18 minutes. She also had two rebounds, a steal and a block.
Bentley was also solid with 14 points with four assists and four steals. With her 14 tallies, she is now tied with Shepherd for ninth place on PSU's career scoring list. Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) was the final Lady Lion in double figures with 11 points to go with eight rebounds. She surpassed the 800-point mark for her collegiate career and also moved into 25th place on PSU's career rebounding list. Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) filled the stat sheet with nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and four steals.
The Hawkeyes took the early 6-3 lead in the first four minutes with the lone score coming on a Lucas three. The Hawkeyes would then extend the margin to five (13-8) with 14:12 left before Nickson knocked down a fadeaway jumper to kick-start a Lady Lion run over the next four minutes. Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) hit a pair of free throws and Bentley had a steal and layup to give Penn State a 14-13 lead. After a basket by Bethany Doolittle, Taylor drained a three and Bentley capped the 12-2 run with an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Lady Lions a 20-15 lead with 10:28 on the clock.
Iowa responded with a 9-2 run of their own to establish a 24-22 lead with 6:50 remaining. Edwards combined with Lucas and Nickson to score six of the game's next eight points to give PSU a 28-26 lead with 3:27 left. After several scoring exchanges, the Hawkeyes tied the game at 32-32 with 1:38 left. The Lady Lions bounced back with a bucket by Nickson and a triple by Lucas to take a 37-32 lead with 21 seconds left in the half. However, East picked up her third foul of the half on Jaime Printy with 0.8 seconds left where she would convert both to send the teams into the break with the Lions leading 37-34.
The Hawkeyes scored the first four tallies of the second half to take a 38-37 lead with 18:23 on the clock, but Penn State responded with a 19-4 run that featured seven points from Lucas, four from Edwards and Greene and two each from Nickson and Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) to take a 56-44 lead with 10:23 remaining. Iowa would score four of the next six points to close within 10 (58-48) with 9:09 left.
Bentley scored the next bucket and Nickson converted on three free throws in four attempts to give Penn State a 63-48 lead with just over eight minutes remaining. After a three-pointer by Melissa Dixon, the Lady Lions would go on a 12-3 run to extend their lead to a game-high 21 points (75-54) with five minutes left. Lucas each had four points during the run, while Edwards and Bentley added three points and Taylor chipped in a score. The Hawkeyes continued to fight, scoring 15 of the game's final 21 points, but the Lions claimed the 81-69 win.
GAME NOTES: With an 11-1 mark in Big Ten play, the Lady Lions are off to their best conference start since the 2002-03 squad started 11-1 ... Junior guard Maggie Lucas moved into eighth place on Penn State's career scoring chart (1,669), passing teammate Alex Bentley and Lisa Shepherd (1,663) ... Lucas also posted her 11th 20-point performance of the season and 42nd of her career with 21 tallies ... With 70 three-pointers this year, Lucas is tied for sixth on Penn State's single-season triples chart with Shepherd's 1999-00 campaign and Chrissy Falcone's 1999-00 season ... Bentley is now tied with Shepherd for ninth place on PSU's career scoring list (1,663) after chipping in 14 points ... Senior forward Mia Nickson surpassed the 800-point mark for her collegiate career with 11 points to bring her career total to 809 ... With eight rebounds, Nickson also moved into 24th place on Penn State's career rebounding list (569), passing Kelly Mazzante ...
Following the bye, Penn State returns home for its final two home games versus (2/20) and Michigan (2/24) for the annual Pink Zone game. The Illinois game features the Mia Nickson Wind-Up Walker giveaway to the first 2,000 fans and Dollar Dog Night. Go to www.GoPSUsports.com/promotions/wbb.html for complete promotions information.
Single game tickets for the Lady Lions are on sale. Tickets are $15 and $12 for adults and seniors and $9 and $7 for youth (12 and younger). The PNC Flex Books are available again this year for $99. The Flex Book gives fans 12 vouchers, 10 that can be redeemed in any combination for Nittany Lion and Lady Lion Basketball tickets throughout the year and two extra vouchers for the Nittany Lions' Coaches Vs. Cancer game and the Lady Lions' Pink Zone game.
The 2013 Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 24 as the Lady Lions take on Michigan in the Bryce Jordan Center. Last year, the Lady Lions donated a record $203,000 to breast cancer causes. This year's fundraising efforts will benefit the Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Lewistown Hospital. For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.pennsylvaniapinkzone.org.
The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) and the Lady Lions and coaches (@pennstatewbb) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstateladylions.