UNIVERSITY PARK - The Penn State Lady Lions cruised to an 82-37 victory over the NJIT Highlanders (6-7) on Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center in front of a crowd of 7,852, including Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight.
Penn State held the Highlanders to nine first-half points, the fewest allowed by the Lady Lions in a half since giving up seven to Rider on Nov. 14, 2010.
Junior guard Maggie Lucas led the way for the Lady Lions, collecting game-highs in points (21) and rebounds (eight). Lucas shot 7-for-11 from the field, including an impressive 5-for-8 from three-point range. The 21 points by Lucas moved her into 15th place on Penn State's all-time scoring chart with 1,445, passing Jen Bednarek for the spot. Additionally, Lucas passed Lisa Shepherd for second place all-time in three-point field goals made with 234.
Lucas led a total of four Lady Lions with double-digit performances; senior Nikki Greene tallied 12 points, while senior Alex Bentley and junior Ariel Edwards each added 10. Greene added six rebounds and a block, which moved her into a tie for third with Rashana Barnes on Penn State's all-time blocks chart (189). Bentley added six assists and tied her career high with eight steals. Junior Dara Taylor added a game-high eight helpers, the most for her in a Lady Lion uniform.
Just six seconds into the contest, Lucas drained a three from the top of the key to give the Lady Lions a 3-0 lead. On Penn State's ensuing possession, Nickson converted on a wide open layup, which was then followed by a Greene jumper in the paint off a Lucas offensive rebound.
Following a Highlander jumper, the Lady Lions went on a 9-0 run with Lucas being responsible for seven of those points on a pair of free throws, a layup and a 3. Nickson capped off the run with two from the charity stripe. The Lady Lions took a 16-5 lead heading into the second media timeout with 11:45 remaining in the half.
Edwards hit a baseline jumper to give Penn State a 13-point advantage at the 10:51 mark. Bentley then forced a steal and battled for a loose ball where she grabbed it and converted on a difficult layup to give the Lady Lions a 20-5lead. Following a jumper by NJIT's Melanie Griffin, Lucas drained a deep 3-pointer, her third of the game, to put Penn State up by 16 (23-7) with more than seven minutes remaining in the half.
At the 6:07 mark and the Lady Lions leading 25-9, Penn State went on a 19-0 run to end the half. The Penn State run started on a jumper by sophomore Tori Waldner at the top of the key. Taylor made one of two free throws and then Greene followed with the next four points. Bentley put in afast break layup off a Greene steal and senior Gizelle Studevent nailed a jumper to give the Lady Lions a 27-point lead. Following another Greene layup and Bentley freethrow, Edwards scored the final five points of the half on two from the charity stripe and a three to give the Lady Lions a 44-9 lead at halftime.
Penn State's run grew in the second half, as it scored the first nine points of the period. Bentley scored the first four points on a pair of free throws and ajumper. Taylor sunk two free throws and Lucas hit a three to give Penn State a 53-9 lead. A jumper by NJIT's Rayven Johnson stopped the run, but Lucas answered with another three and Greene made a field goal to put the Lady Lions ahead, 58-11.
The Highlanders cut into the Lady Lion lead by going on a 10-6 run up to the 8:15 mark, as Penn State led 66-25. Lucas snapped that run with a jumper in the paint. With 5:09 to go, freshman Candice Agee hit a pair of free throws to put the Lady Lions up 73-30. On the ensuing possession, Studevent hit her second jumper of the game from the baseline. Agee and Edwards capped off a 7-0 run with a post-up layup and a free throw to give Penn State a 47-point advantage.
Penn State extended its lead to a game-high 49 points on a layup by Agee with 2:13 remaining in the contest. The Highlanders closed out the game on a 4-0 run,resulting in the 82-37 Penn State victory.
GAME NOTES: Penn State held NJIT to nine first half points, the fewest allowed by the Lady Lions in a half since giving up seven to Rider back on Nov. 14, 2010 The 21 points by Maggie Lucas moved her into 15th place on Penn State's career scoring chart with 1,445 points, passing Jen Bednarek With five three-pointers, Lucas passed Lisa Shepherd for second place all-time in three-pointers made (234) Lucas' 20-point game is the 38th of her career Senior Nikki Greene's block moved her into a tie for third with Rashana Barnes on Penn State's all-time blocks chart (189) Dara Taylor's eight assists are the most for her in a Lady Lion uniform Alex Bentley matched her career-high in steals with eight, last accomplishing that feat vs. Nebraska on Dec. 30, 2011 The eight steals by Bentley moved her past Nancy Kuhl for seventh place on Penn State's steals list with 264 career thefts Bentley's three made field goals move her into 10th place on the all-time Lady Lion list with 600 Candice Agee tied her career-high in points with eight and set a personal best in steals with two Ariel Edwards eclipsed the 400-point plateau for her career (401).
NJIT (6-7): Olson 1-5 0-0 3, Nwankwo 1-4 5-7 7, Johnson 2-16 0-1 4, Griffin 3-8 3-3 10, Dweck 3-4 0-0 6, Tullis 0-1 0-0 0, Albanese 1-2 0-0 2, Maticka 2-3 0-0 4, Domiterova 0-0 0-0 0, Matejcikova 0-3 1-2 1, Zoric 0-0 0-0 0, Davis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-47 9-13 37.
PENN ST. (10-2): Nickson 1-3 2-2 4, Greene 5-9 2-2 12, Taylor 1-2 3-4 6, Bentley 3-9 4-6 10, Lucas 7-11 2-2 21, Agee 3-8 2-2 8, East 1-4 1-2 3, Edwards 3-6 3-4 10, Studevent 3-5 0-0 6, Waldner 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 28-61 19-24 82.
Halftime-Penn St. 44-9. 3-Point Goals-NJIT 2-12 (Griffin 1-2, Olson 1-5, Johnson 0-1, Nwankwo 0-1, Tullis 0-1, Matejcikova 0-2), Penn St. 7-10 (Lucas 5-8, Taylor 1-1, Edwards 1-1). Fouled Out-Nwankwo. Rebounds-NJIT 28 (Nwankwo 8), Penn St. 42 (Lucas 8). Assists-NJIT 6 (Albanese, Griffin 2), Penn St. 22 (Taylor 8). Total Fouls-NJIT 16, Penn St. 18. A-7,852.