Lady Lions drop heartbreaker to DePaul in NCAA Tournament

University Park, Pa. -- The No. 6 seeded Penn State Lady Lions (25-1-, 11-5) dominated much of the game, but a pair of Keisha Hampton free throws with four seconds left gave the No. 3 seed DePaul (29-6, 13-3 Big East) a 75-73 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Bryce Jordan Center Monday night. Sophomore guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored 17 of her team-high 21 points in the second half to finish the season with back-to-back 20-point games.

Bentley, who was 9-for-16 from the field, also tallied four assists and two steals. Senior guard/forward Julia Trogele (Devon, Pa.) capped her stellar career with her 10th career double-double via 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 11 rebounds. She also dished out four assists and had a steal. Sophomore center Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) chipped in 12 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.) added eight points and eight rebounds.

DePaul opened the scoring with a three-pointer by Anna Martin, but the Lady Lions responded with a 15-2 run that featured eight points by Greene to take a 15-5 lead with 13:43 remaining in the opening half. The Blue Demons scored six of the game’s next eight points to pull within six at 17-11 with 11:26 on the clock.

Bentley connected on a jumper and Trogele converted on a three-point play around one DePaul free throw to make it a 10-point lead (22-12) with less than 10 minutes to play in the half. After an exchange of scores, the Lady Lions extended the lead to 11 points (28-17) on a rebound and layup by Trogele with six minutes left.

The Blue Demons were within three after an 8-0 run, but Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) netted a three-pointer to snap a four-minute scoreless drought for the Lady Lions and make it a 31-25 game with just over two minutes remaining. After DePaul made one of two free throws, Marisa Wolfe (Ford City, Pa.) scored her second basket of the game off of a great pass from Trogele to extend the lead to 33-26with 1:35 on the clock. Following a three-pointer by Deirdre Naughton, the Lady Lions closed the half with a bucket by Trogele and a three-point play by Nickson to take a 38-29 lead into the break.

Greene led all scorers with 12 points to go with four rebounds, while Trogele added nine points, five rebounds and four assists. Trogele was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field in the opening half as the Lady Lions shot 56.7% (17-30) from the field. Penn State’s defense held DePaul to just 28.6% (10-35) shooting from the field in the first frame.

Bentley kicked it into high gear in the second half as she scored seven of the first nine points of the closing frame to make it a 14-point Penn State lead at 45-31 with 18:22 left in the game. However, DePaul would not go down easily as the Blue Demons scored nine of the game’s next 11 points to close within seven (47-40) with less than 17 minutes left.

The Lady Lions pushed the lead to nine (51-42) after sandwiching free throws by Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) and Bentley around a DePaul basket by Felicia Chester. DePaul would score the game’s next seven tallies to make it a one-possession game at 51-49 with just over 13 minutes remaining. Bentley scored back-to-back baskets to make it a 55-49 game with just over 12 minutes to play, but the Blue Demons would go on an 8-3 run to close within a point at 58-57 with less 10 minutes to play.

Penn State scored three points from the free throw line to extend the lead to four points (61-57) with 8:26 to play, but DePaul would once again close within a point as the Blue Demons scored three points following an intentional foul by Nickson on a breakaway layup. With the score 61-60, Nickson converted on a pass from Bentley, Zhaque Gray (Chicago, Ill.) netted a pair of free throws and Bentley connected on a step-back jumper to make it a seven-point lead (67-60) for the Lady Lions with 5:24 left.

DePaul tallied eight straight points to take a 68-67 lead, its first since the first basket of the game, but Penn State responded with a layup by Bentley and a steal by Bentley, who found a streaking Renee Womack (Lansdale, Pa.) for the layup and a 71-68 lead for the Lady Lions with less than three minutes to play. The Blue Demons scored the next three points and tied the game on a Keisha Hampton jumper with 1:30 remaining.

With the shot clock winding down, Lucas hit a jumper just outside of the lane to give the Lady Lions a 73-71 lead with 56 seconds on the clock. However, DePaul responded on the ensuing possession with a jumper by China Threatt to even the game at 73-73 with 40 seconds remaining.

Penn State had a shot to take the lead as Trogele took a jumper from the corner with 20 ticks left, but the shot caromed off and was pulled in by DePaul’s Sam Quigley. On the ensuing Blue Demon possession, Hampton was fouled on her three-point attempt by Bentley with four seconds and made two of three shots to give DePaul a 75-73 lead. The Lady Lions had one final chance, but Trogele’s half court shot was too strong.

GAME NOTES: The Lady Lions are 27-22 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 17-5 mark in home games … This was Penn State’s first loss in the Bryce Jordan Center in NCAA Tournament games (9-1) … Penn State holds a 9-8 record in second round NCAA Tournament games … This was the first time the Lady Lions have lost this season when leading at the half (15-1) … The Lady Lions tied the school record for three-pointers in a season with 228 three-pointers, equaling the mark set by the 2002-03 … Julia Trogele broke the 800-point plateau for her career (803) and scored in double figures for the 15th time this season … Trogele recorded her sixth double-double of the season and 10th of her career … Alex Bentley scored 20+ points for the seventh time this season … Maggie Lucas passed Kahadeejah Herbert for 15th on Penn State’s season scoring list (552) … Nikki Greene tied Kahadeejah Herbert for 13th on Penn State’s season rebounding list (272) … Greene scored in double figures for the 14th time this season.

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Last Updated March 28, 2011