Lucas paces Lady Lions in win over Northwestern

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Senior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) connected on five three-pointers en route to 26 points to lead the #11/9 Penn State Lady Lions (21-5, 12-2 Big Ten) to an 82-73 win over Northwestern (14-12, 4-9) Thursday night. Junior Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) had one of the best performances of her collegiate career with a personal-best 14 points.

It was a banner day for Lucas, who moved into a tie for fourth place on the Big Ten's career scoring list with Purdue's MaChelle Joseph (2,505). Additionally, Lucas (32 at Indiana; 25 vs. Wisconsin; 26 vs. Northwestern) became the first player since Kelly Mazzante (31 vs. Baylor; 31 vs. Pittsburgh; 29 vs. Louisiana Tech) in Dec. 2003 to have three consecutive games with 25 or more points. With seven free throws, Lucas also broke the Penn State career free throws made record previously held by Kahadeejah Herbert (512; 1982-85) with her 517th career tally from the charity stripe. In addition to her 26 points, Lucas had four rebounds, three assists and four steals.

Waldner was 6-for-11 from the field en route to her 14 points, which bests her previous career high of 11 that was set twice this year. She also pulled in nine rebounds and tied her personal best with five blocked shots. Senior Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) was quiet early, but had back-to-back three-point plays to spark her to 15 points with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Fellow senior Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) rounded out the list of Lions in double figures with 11 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists.

After the Wildcats took the early 5-3 lead, Taylor jumped-started a 7-0 Lady Lion run with a laup, followed by two freebies by Waldner and one free throw by Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.). Off of the ensuing rebound from East's missed free throw, Waldner forced the steal and converted on the layup to cap the run and make it a 10-5 Penn State lead with 17:33 left.

Northwestern would score seven of the game's next nine points to even the score at 12-12 with 14 minutes remaining. Lucas was hit on a three-point attempt and converted on all three freebies and had a steal that led to a jumper on the ensuing Wildcat possession. Edwards added to the run with a bucket, followed by a jumper by Taylor and a layup by Peyton Whitted (Suwanee, Ga.) to end the 11-0 run and make it a 23-12 Penn State lead with 11:24 to play in the half. The Wildcats responded with a 10-0 run of their own to close the gap to 23-22 with 7:41 on the clock.

Penn State rolled out a 9-3 run to take a 32-25 lead with 5:21 left. Lucas had five points during the run, while Waldner and Edwards each added two points. However, the Wildcats bounced back with a 7-2 run of their own to close the gap to two (34-32) with two and half minutes left. The Lady Lions scored the final four points of the half thanks to a pull-up by Taylor and two free throws by Whitted to take a 38-32 lead at the break.

Much like the first half, Northwestern scored four of the first six points in the second half to make it a four-point game (40-36) with 18:34 remaining. Penn State came back strong with one free throw by Taylor, a layup by Waldner off of the feed from Lucas and a Lucas four-point play to give the Lions a 47-36 lead with 16 minutes left.

The Wildcats would close the gap again by scoring eight of the game's next 11 points to make it a six-point margin (50-44) with less than 12 minutes left. The Lady Lions scored the next five points thanks to a layup by Kaliyah Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and a three-pointer by Lucas to make it 55-44 with less than 11 minutes remaining.

After Northwestern scored seven of the next 10 points, Edwards connected on back-to-back old-fashioned three-point plays to push the lead to 13 (64-51) with 6:18 on the clock. The Wildcats would not go quietly as the scored nine of the game's next 13 points to make it an eight-point margin (68-60) with 4:15 left.

The Lady Lions would score the next five points thanks to scores by Edwards and East and one free throw by Mitchell to extend the lead to 13 (73-60). The Wildcats would get within five points (76-71) down the stretch, but Mitchell sealed the win with six consecutive free throws in the final 34 seconds.

GAME NOTES: With 26 points, Maggie Lucas moves into a tie for fourth on the Big Ten career scoring list with Purdue's MaChelle Joseph (1989-92) with 2,405 points ... Lucas is now tied for 76th on the NCAA career scoring list ... Lucas moves to 13th in the NCAA career records for three-point field goals made (352), advancing past Brittany Chambers, Kansas State (2010-13) ... Lucas needs five triples to tie Kelly Mazzante's Penn State and Big Ten three-pointers record (357) ... Lucas becomes Penn State's career free throws made lead with her 517th make from the charity stripe, passing Kahadeejah Herbert (512;1982-85) ... Lucas (32, vs. Indiana, 2/13/14; 25 vs. Wisconsin, 2/16/14); 26, vs. Northwestern, 2/20/14) is first player to score 25 points in three consecutive games since Kelly Mazzante (31, vs. Baylor, 12/9/03; 31, vs. Pittsburgh, 12/14/03; 29, vs. Louisiana Tech, 12/21/03) accomplished the feat in Dec. 2003 ... Lucas moves into fourth on Penn State's all-time free throw attempts list (569) advancing past Kelly Mazzante (562; 2001-04) ... Lucas moves into a tie for 10th on Penn State's all-time steals list (224), tying Kahadeejah Herbert (1982-85) ... With 26 points, Lucas now has 15 20-point games this season and 62 in her career ... Tori Waldner set a career high with 14 points tonight, passing her previous career high was 11 points vs. Indiana (1/22/14) and Connecticut (11/17/13) ... With 85 career blocks, Waldner moves into 14th spot in Penn State's career blocks passing Kahadeejah Herbert (81; 1982-85) ... Waldner tied her career high with five blocks ... Dara Taylor collected at least one steal in 28-straight games dating back to last season ... With four assists, Taylor has four or more assists in 19 of 26 games this season.

The Lady Lions complete the road portion of the regular-season with a game at Nebraska on Monday at 7 p.m. as part of ESPN2's Big Monday. Penn State returns to the BJC for the regular-season finale and Senior Day against Michigan on Saturday, March 1 at 3:30 p.m.

Lady Lion Basketball single-game tickets are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY. Single-game 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.

For the 15th time, Penn State will host the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament First and Second Rounds on March 23 and 25, 2014. All-session tickets are $30 for adults and $17 for youth and students. There is also an all-session group rate for groups of 20 or more of any age at $20 per package. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-NITTANY or visiting the Penn State athletics ticket office between the hours of 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

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.

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Last Updated February 21, 2014