Lady Lions announce non-conference slate

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The two-time defending Big Ten Champion Penn State Lady Lion basketball team announced their 2013-14 non-conference schedule on June 25. The 12-game non-conference slate is highlighted by home games against defending National Champion Connecticut, as well as previous NCAA Champions Notre Dame and Texas A&M.

The 10 announced opponents have combined for 86 NCAA Tournament appearances, 20 Final Four berths and 10 National Championships. Penn State also holds a .750 winning percentage (33-11) against teams on the schedule.

"Our non-conference schedule was created with our fans in mind," Washington said. "The schedule is going to be a real treat for them, they will get to see some of the best teams in the game right here in the BJC. It's just a wonderful opportunity if you are fan of Lady Lion basketball."

"Although we are a young team, it's important that we challenge ourselves early in the season," Washington continued. "We are going to throw our freshmen to the fire right away. They are a very talented group and they will learn a lot of good lessons early on that will pay dividends as we move into conference play."

The Lady Lions, who are currently riding a 20-game home court winning streak, will open the schedule with a four-game home stand beginning against St. Francis (Pa.) on Friday, Nov. 8 and Fordham on Sunday, Nov. 10. Penn State will raise its 2013 Big Ten Championship banner to the rafters against the Red Flash.

Penn State continues in the friendly confines of the Bryce Jordan Center when the Lady Lions host eight-time National Champion Connecticut on Sunday, Nov. 17. This will mark the first time that the Huskies will play Penn State in Happy Valley since Jan. 8, 1983. UConn did play in the Bryce Jordan Center for the 2006 NCAA Tournament first and second rounds, but did not face the Lady Lions.

The Lady Lions close out their home stand against Bucknell on Wednesday, Nov. 20, before traveling to Grand Bahama Island to play in the Junkanoo Jam on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30. The pairings for the Junkanoo Jam have not been announced at this time. Penn State also played in the Junkanoo Jam in 2003, winning the title after victories over George Washington and Kansas State.

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge will wait the Lady Lions when they return from the Bahamas. As previously announced, Penn State will face Washington's alma mater Notre Dame on Wednesday, Dec. 4. The last time the Irish visited the Bryce Jordan Center on Nov. 16, 2006, Washington was the associate head coach under Muffet McGraw and the Lady Lions topped Notre Dame, 75-49.

"When Notre Dame joined the ACC, I knew the basketball gods would have us play each other," Washington said. "They are a tough, tough team and Coach McGraw is just a phenomenal coach."

Penn State hits the road for a pair of games at Georgetown (Sun., Dec. 8) and at South Dakota State on (Wed., Dec. 11), before coming back to the BJC to top off the non-conference schedule with a three-game home string. The home stand begins when 2011 NCAA Champion Texas A&M visits on Sunday, Dec. 15. This is the Aggie's first-ever trip to Penn State. The Lady Lions opened the home-and-home series with a 63-58 win in College Station on Nov. 14, 2012.

The non-conference slate concludes as Alcorn State comes to the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday, Dec. 22, followed by a visit from Hartford on Sunday, Dec. 29.

The Big Ten Conference schedule will be announced at a later date. Time and television arrangements will also be announced at a later date.

Lady Lion Basketball season tickets can be reserved by calling 1-800-NITTANY.

The Lady Lions won their second-straight Big Ten regular season title with a 26-6 overall record and 14-2 mark in conference play last season. Guided by the two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year in Washington, Penn State will return the 2013 Big Ten Player of the Year Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) and Big Ten All-Defensive team choice Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.). The Lady Lions will also add an eight-player recruiting class that ranks in the Top 10 in the country.

Lucas is coming off of an outstanding junior campaign that saw her take home top conference honors, as well as All-America accolades from the WBCA, Associated Press, USBWA and Full Court. The Narberth, Pa. native averaged 20.1 points per game to finish third in the Big Ten and 16th nationally. Lucas also finished in the Top 10 in the country in three-point field goal percentage (4th- .462) and free throw percentage (9th - 90.0) and was 11th in three-point field goals made (3.06).

Taylor made an immediate impact for the Lady Lions, finishing second on the team and fifth in the Big Ten in steals with a 2.4 per game average. She also finished in the Top 10 in the league in assists (10th - 3.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (9th - 1.2). She also contributed 7.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

The Lady Lions will add eight new faces on the roster next season in guards Lindsey Spann (Laurel, Md.) and Keke Sevillian (Goodrich, Mich.), swing players Jenny DeGraaf (Springboro, Ohio), Kaliyah Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.), Peyton Whitted (Suwanee, Ga.), forward Alex Harris (Lorain, Ohio) and center Infiniti Alston (Baltimore, Md.), who signed National Letters of Intent in November, as well as Sierra Moore (York, Pa.), who will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules. 

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Last Updated July 03, 2013