UNIVERSITY PARK - Six days after it topped 100 points in a home victory over North Carolina, the Penn State women's basketball team wasn't as flashy on offense in its return to the Bryce Jordan Center.
This time around, the standout performance belonged to the defense.
No. 17 Penn State limited Virginia Tech to 23.5 percent shooting and forced the Hokies into lengthy scoring droughts in each half of a 66-28 blowout victory Tuesday.
Maggie Lucas had 20 points, Nikki Greene added 14 and Alex Bentley scored 11 for Penn State (7-2), which never trailed in rebounding from a loss at Texas Tech on Saturday. Aerial Wilson had 10 points for Virginia Tech (2-6).
The Lady Lions held the Hokies to their fewest points ever in a single game thanks to a switch from a zone to a man-to-man defense by coach Coquese Washington.
"Their guards are very good shooters," Washington said. "They're the heart and soul of their team, and they're good 3-pointers shooters. I knew we had to have a concerted effort to guard them. We couldn't let them kind of run around and spot up and hit open shots. We wanted to play man to slow them down."
The move was a surprise to Virginia Tech coach Dennis Wolff.
"I expected them to play a little bit more zone," he said. "Whatever they did, we got 28 points, so they probably could have had three people out there and we might not have scored."
The Lady Lions' new defense also contributed to a slow start on offense, Washington said.
Both teams struggled at the outset, and combined to miss 13 of their first 15 shots from the field. A 3-pointer from Lucas and one of two free throws from Ariel Edwards was enough to give the Lady Lions a 4-2 lead five minutes into the game.
"It wasn't our usual pace," Washington said. "They might have been really focused defensively on what we needed to do. Because we've been playing so much zone the last couple of games, playing a lot of man-to-man, it wears on you. There was fatigue early in the game, playing so much man."
The score was still only 6-6 with 12:39 left in the first half when Penn State started to pull away.
Back-to-back baskets from Bentley and Lucas kicked off a stretch of 14 consecutive points from the Lady Lions. Six different players scored during the run, which was capped when Talia East's jumper made it 20-6 with 6:39 remaining. Larryqua Hall's 3-pointer cut Penn State's lead to 11 points and stopped a scoring drought of 6:56 for Virginia Tech.
Bentley's layup with two minutes left in the first half gave the Lady Lions a 25-13 lead and the junior guard 1,000 career points. She became the 33rd player in the teams's history to reach that mark.
"I didn't even know until halftime," she said. "I was like, 'Thanks for letting me know that.' My teammates make it easy for me to score, so I give all the props to them."
The Lady Lions, who led 27-15 at the intermission, increased their lead to 19 points four minutes into the second half. Virginia Tech then went on a 9-2 run, sparked by 3-pointers from Wilson and Alyssa Fenyn, to cut the lead to 40-28 with 13:14 remaining.
The Lady Lions then held the Hokies scoreless the rest of the way, scoring the game's final 26 points. Penn State, which shot 39.3 percent in the first half, was 15-of-21 (71.4 percent) from the field in the second.
"We kind of just turned it on a little bit," Lucas said. "We seemed just a little slow on offense today, not our usual pace. We just kind of reminded ourselves to pick it up and run a little bit better."
Virginia Tech, meanwhile, missed its final 12 shots.
"We got to a certain point where we were still competitive," Wolff said. "Then, with about 11 minutes to go in the game, we had a couple of turnovers that caved us in."
VIRGINIA TECH (2-6): Wilson 4-14 1-2 10, Fenyn 1-5 0-2 3, Montgomery 0-2 0-0 0, Tellier 2-11 0-0 4, Hines-Allen 2-7 0-0 4, Sarver 0-0 0-0 0, Evans 0-2 0-0 0, Hadley 1-6 0-0 2, Hall 2-3 0-0 5, Conyers 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 12-51 1-4 28.
PENN ST. (7-2): Gray 1-4 4-4 6, Bentley 4-6 3-5 11, Edwards 1-5 1-2 3, Lucas 8-16 2-4 20, Greene 6-8 2-8 14, East 3-5 0-2 6, Studevent 1-2 0-0 2, Wolfe 1-1 0-0 2, Waldner 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-49 12-25 66.
Halftime-Penn St. 27-15. 3-Point Goals-Virginia Tech 3-12 (Wilson 1-2, Hall 1-2, Fenyn 1-4, Conyers 0-1, Tellier 0-3), Penn St. 2-8 (Lucas 2-5, Gray 0-1, Edwards 0-2). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Virginia Tech 31 (Hines-Allen 12), Penn St. 39 (Lucas 8). Assists-Virginia Tech 6 (Wilson 4), Penn St. 13 (Bentley 5). Total Fouls-Virginia Tech 19, Penn St. 9. A-3,236.