UNIVERSITY PARK - Julia Trogele walked the Bryce Jordan Center floor with her parents before Sunday's game, taking in her final regular-season outing at Penn State, which also happened to be the Lady Lions' fifth annual Pink Zone game.
With less than two minutes to go in Penn State's eventual 66-56 win over Northwestern, a small chorus of "Thank You Julia" chants broke out behind one basket as the Wildcats' Allison Mocchi went to the free-throw line.
And as Trogele dribbled the ball across midcourt with 12.8 seconds to play, Penn State coach Coquese Washington called a timeout to insert Tina Edwards for Trogele, allowing the senior to take in one last ovation from the pinked-out crowd of 11,288.
"People would ask me if I feel like Pink Zone took away from my Senior Day. If anything, I think it added to it," Trogele said. "The crowd, everyone was really loving. My teammates came ready to play and I think that they not only did it for the survivors and the victims of breast cancer, but they played really hard for me as well."
But if things play out the way Trogele and her teammates hope, she will get at least one more game at the BJC, which is a first and second-round host site for the women's NCAA tournament on March 19 and 21.
The Lady Lions, whose win Sunday clinched the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament, look all but assured of a berth in the Big Dance and, in all likelihood, a trip back home. Their next game is 11:30 a.m. Friday in Indianapolis.
On Sunday, Penn State utilized a 14-0 run over a nearly four-minute span early in the second half to wrestle control of the game.
Trogele, Penn State's lone senior, finished with six points, eight rebounds, four assists and five steals. Maggie Lucas snapped out of a two-game funk to score a team-high 21 points off 7-for-13 shooting, including 3 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Her final trey, at the game's 7:10 mark, was the 102nd of her freshman season, tying her with Kelly Mazzante for the school's single-season record.
Lucas also got her first career start, swiping spots with point guard Alex Bentley, who was the first Lady Lion off the bench Sunday.
"Alex has been struggling a little bit lately," Washington said, "and I've always felt all along, all season long that we kind of had six starters, and at any point throughout the game, any combination of the five of them is a good option for us."
NORTHWESTERN (17-12, 6-10): Jaeschke 6-17 12-15 24; Orban 3-6 3-5 11; Mocchi 2-5 2-2 8; Hackney 3-9 0-0 6; Diamant 1-3 2-2 4; Marshall 1-9 0-0 3; Jones 0-1 0-0 0; Reed 0-2 0-0 0; McKeown 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-53 19-24 56.
PENN STATE (22-8, 11-5): Lucas 7-13 4-4 21; Gray 3-9 3-5 12; Nickson 2-8 7-9 11; Trogele 3-8 0-1 6; Bentley 3-8 0-0 6; Womack 2-6 0-1 4; Wolfe 1-3 0-0 2; Greene 1-4 0-2 2; East 1-1 0-0 2; Edwards 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-62 14-22 66.
Halftime: Northwestern 31, Penn State 30. 3-point goals: Northwestern 5-23 (Mocchi 2-4; Orban 2-4; Marshall 1-6; Reed 0-1; McKeown 0-1; Diamant 0-1; Hackney 0-3; Jaeschke 0-3), Penn State 6-17 (Lucas 3-6; Gray 3-6; Trogele 0-1; Bentley 0-2; Womack 0-2). Rebounds: Northwestern 41 (Jaeschke 14), Penn State 42 (Nickson 9). Assists: Northwestern 13 (Marshall 3), Penn State 15 (Bentley 6). Total fouls: Northwestern 19, Penn State 23. A: 11288.