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Lucas pours in career-high 39 in PSU rout

December 10, 2012
By Jim Rodenbush - For the Mirror

UNIVERSITY PARK - Maggie Lucas said it was "a little shocking" how open she found herself during the first half Sunday.

What isn't shocking is how the Penn State guard responded.

Lucas set a Bryce Jordan Center scoring record and a career-high with 39 points to lead No. 10 Penn State to a surprisingly easy 97-74 rout of Georgetown.

Lucas, the Big Ten's leading scorer, had 26 points in the first half to help Penn State (7-2) jump out to a 34-point lead. The junior guard finished 11-of-21 from the field and matched a career high by hitting 7-of-13 from 3-point range.

Sugar Rodgers scored 24 points to lead Georgetown (7-3), which had won three straight.

The Hoyas led 9-8 three minutes into the game when Penn State took control.

Lucas hit an open 3-pointer to spark a 10-0 run. Following Lucas' shot, PSU then converted steals into layups on Georgetown's next three possessions to grab an eight-point lead. A free throw from Lucas made it 18-9 with 14:09 left.

Jasmine Jackson ended Georgetown's scoring drought with a 3-pointer. Lucas followed with three more 3-pointers of her own, all on open looks, over the next three minutes to push Penn State's lead to 29-12 with 10:03 left in the first half.

Coming into the game, Penn State coach Coquese Washington thought Georgetown's zone defense would give Lucas some opportunities.

"The team did a good job of finding Maggie," Washington said. "She's such a good shooter. If she gets that wide open, she's going to make a lot of them."

Washington said the number of open looks for Lucas didn't surprise her.

"That's Georgetown's philosophy," she said. "She got to the spots that we thought would be open in the zone. We found her and she made them. Teams generally do what they do. Georgetown is a zone team. They played that way pretty much the whole game."

Penn State, the Big Ten's top scoring team, continued to push its offensive tempo. Up by 17 midway through the first half, the Lady Lions scored 22 of the next 27 points.

Bentley, who finished with 23 points, had nine during this stretch. Her three-point play gave the Lady Lions a 51-17 advantage with 2:53 left in the first half.

Penn State went into halftime with a 53-25 lead.

"I think it's the best half we've played all year," Bentley said. "We're going to try to keep that up for (Washington). We're going to try to put that first half and a second half (together) too, so we can play 40 minutes that great."

With the victory, Penn State rebounded in resounding fashion from a 67-52 loss at No. 2 Connecticut on Thursday night.

"We all knew we were about to bounce back," Bentley said. "It's all about just getting better every day. Obviously, we weren't happy with how we played a couple of days ago. We all got after it in practice the next day and we were ready to execute the game plan that (Washington) had for us today."

Georgetown cut its deficit to 21 points in the waning minutes of Sunday's game but never seriously challenged in the second half.

It was Lucas who continued to be the story. She surpassed her previous career high of 33 points, set in January in a loss to Michigan State, by making three free throws with 16:24 left. In the process, she became the first Lady Lions player to hit the 35-point mark in a game since Kelly Mazzante in March 2003.

Lucas' two free throws with 5:57 left gave her 39 points and set the BJC record. She had two chances to surpass 40 points but missed a 3-pointer and a jumper over the final five minutes.

"It feels good," Lucas said about her achievement. "But it's a team thing. Today, we were just focusing on getting a bounce back. We needed to get our rhythm going heading into the rest of these games before we go on winter break. It's all about the team right now."

 
 

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