Bentley, Lucas on Naismith Trophy watch list

March 01, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Lady Lion junior guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) and sophomore guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) have been named to the Naismith Trophy midseason watch list, it was announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The Naismith Women's College Player of the Year award presented by AT&T is given to the nation's top female collegiate basketball player. Bentley and Lucas are two of the seven Big Ten players on the list, the second-most of any conference.

The midseason 32 list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the 2011-12 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy, presented by AT&T, will be awarded on April 1, 2012 at the NCAA Women's Final Four in Denver.

A two-time All-Big Ten first team choice, Bentley is the ninth different Lady Lion to earn first team accolades twice. Additionally, Bentley garnered All-Defensive team honors. Bentley paced Big Ten action with 49 steals in 16 games. She is the first Lady Lion to lead the league in steals since Jess Strom did it in back-to-back years in 2003-04 and 2004-05. Overall, Bentley is 13th in the conference in scoring (14.0), third in assists (4.8) and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

On all three watch lists for National Player of the Year, Bentley became the 33rd player and 15th junior in school history to score 1,000 career points against Virginia Tech. She is 21st on PSU's career scoring chart with 1,262 career points. Bentley is also the 11th player in Penn State history with 400 assists and sits in 10th on the program's all-time list with 434 helpers. With three thefts in the regular-season finale against Minnesota, Bentley became the 13th player in school history to nab 200 steals.

Lucas earned All-Big Ten first team honors for the first time in her career, becoming the 12th different Penn State player to earn first team All-Big Ten recognition. One of the top sharp-shooters in the country, Lucas has expanded her game, scoring 82 more points (541-459) despite making 29 less three-pointers than a year ago (69-98). Additionally, she has surpassed her season totals from a year ago in rebounds and assists. The Feb. 21 Big Ten Player of the Week, Lucas has 15 game with 20 or more points this season and is third in the Big Ten in scoring (19.3). She is also Top 10 in the league in free throw percentage (.878 - 4th), three-point field goal percentage (.423 - 3rd) and three-pointers made (2.5 - 2nd).

The Narberth, Pa. native became the third sophomore in school history (Kelly Mazzante and Susan Robinson) and 34th player overall to reach 1,000 points with a three-pointer in the second half at Minnesota on Feb. 5. Lucas reached the milestone in just 58 games, which is 11th-fastest in Big Ten history. She resides fourth on Penn State's career three-pointers list (181) in just two seasons and occupies two spots in the Top 10 on PSU's single-season three-pointers chart. Additionally, Lucas has already moved up to 30th on the program's career scoring list (1,093).

"We're used to seeing some of the same names from the high school awards reappear on the college level, but to have the last four high school winners in contention for this year's college player of the year award is pretty special," said Eric Oberman, Atlanta Tipoff Club executive director. "We wish them, along with the rest of the nominees, the best of luck in the final stretch of their seasons."

Since 2005, presenting sponsor AT&T has set the standard in allowing fans to participate in determining the trophy winner. Through the power and ease of text messaging fan voting will account for 25 percent of all of the final results - more than any other national college basketball award.

"With such a great line-up of women athletes, AT&T is proud to sponsor the 2012 Women's Naismith Trophy," said Jamie Kerr, Director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. "Just as each athlete has her own set of skills, each fan has their own opinion on who they think deserves the award. That's why AT&T is happy to continue the tradition of allowing fans to vote for who they believe is the most deserving player."

ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 season, has presented the Naismith Trophy every year since UCLA's Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. Old Dominion's Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women's Naismith Trophy in 1983.

The Naismith Award has become the most prestigious award in all of college basketball, recognizing the Men's and Women's College Basketball Player of the Year, Men's and Women's College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and contribution to the game.

The Lady Lions head to Indianapolis for the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. Penn State is the #1 seed and will face the winner of the #8 Minnesota vs. #9 Wisconsin game at 6 p.m. Friday. The Lady Lions are the top seed for the first time since 2004. Penn State is 23-15 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament with tourney championships in 1995 and 1996.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 02, 2012