PSU Lady Lions almost lose at Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, ILL. – The Penn State Lady Lions rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit Thursday night to hand Illinois an 82-76 setback in Big Ten college basketball action.

The No. 15 Lady Lions improved to 11-3 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten while Illinois fell to 7-8 and 0-2 in the conference.

Senior Ariel Edwards posted her second career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Maggie Lucas also reached the 20-point mark with 24 points, including a 10-for-10 mark from the free throw line.

Dara Taylor chipped in with 17 points,

The Illini were hot early, connecting on five of their first eight shots to establish a 12-2 lead. The teams exchanged scores over the next 7 minutes to keep the lead at 10 until back-to-back 3-pointers from Taylor and Lucas sliced the Illinois lead to four (23-19) with 7 minutes to play in the half.

Illinois responded with a 5-0 spurt to push its lead back to nine, but Penn State scored the game’s next four points via a 15-footer by Tori Waldner and two free throws from Taylor to make it a 28-23 game with four minutes remaining in the half.

Following a score by Jacqui Grant, the Lions went on an 8-2 run to end the first half and close the gap. Taylor started the run with a layup, followed by two free throws by Edwards. After a bucket by Mackenzie Piper, Whitted and Edwards each connected to send the Lions into the locker room trailing by a single point at 32-31.

The Lady Lions host Purdue Sunday at 3:30 p.m.