Penn State finding its stride

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Penn State coach Coquese Washington thinks her team is starting to get into a groove.

“I think that we’re starting to find our rhythm,” Washington said. “I think at this point we’re getting comfortable with our roles and getting familiar with their teammates and how they’re going to play and what they can expect from each other. I think that brings a little bit of confidence.”

Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas each scored 20 points to lead No. 8 Penn State to a 76-54 win over Indiana on Thursday night.

Mia Nickson had 13 points and Dara Taylor added 10 for the Lady Lions (19-3, 9-1 Big Ten), who have won 13 of their last 14 games.

Aulani Sinclair had 21 and Jasmine McGhee had 12 for the Hoosiers (10-13, 1-9), who have lost eight straight.

The Lady Lions went on a 15-2 run in the second half to go up 18 points on two free throws by Lucas with 11:22 left to play. The Lady Lions took a 41-34 lead on baskets by Bentley and Taylor after the Hoosiers got within three at the start of the second half.

It wasn’t all that easy, though. It took a while for the Lady Lions to get rolling against the Hoosiers.

“There were so many whistles, both teams were in the bonus within like 12 minutes of each half,” Washington said. “It was really hard to get into a rhythm offensively for us.”

It wasn’t enough to hold the Lady Lions back, though.

Sinclair and McGhee scored right away in the second half to get within three, 37-34, before the Lady Lions pulled away.

Chaplin scored for the Hoosiers to make it 41-36 and then Bentley hit a 3-pointer to spark the second half run for Penn State.

The Hoosiers missed a shot and then Bentley made two free throws, Lucas hit a free throw and two other baskets and Taylor scored in the run.

“There were too many turnovers that led to easy points,” Indiana coach Curt Miller said. “And then the rebound differential.”

The Lady Lions scored 25 points off Indiana’s 20 turnovers. And the Lady Lions had their way with the Hoosiers on the glass, outrebounding Indiana 54-32 and grabbed 23 offensive rebounds.

Penn State went on a 8-0 run late in the second half to seal the game.

“There’s a lot of individuals that are going to play beyond college and there’s a lot of WNBA players on that roster,” Indiana coach Curt Miller said. “But with that said, I thought we competed and I’m very proud of our team.”

PENN ST. (19-3): Nickson 4-6 5-7 13, Greene 0-7 4-4 4, Taylor 4-7 2-4 10, Bentley 8-17 2-2 20, Lucas 8-18 3-4 20, Agee 0-1 0-0 0, East 1-1 0-0 2, Edwards 2-6 1-3 5, Studevent 0-3 0-0 0, Waldner 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 28-70 17-24 76.

INDIANA (10-13): Chaplin 1-4 2-2 4, Sinclair 6-16 6-8 21, Deloach 1-5 1-2 3, McGhee 5-15 0-1 12, Bell 0-1 0-0 0, Rubene 1-3 3-4 5, Mize 0-0 0-0 0, Taufa 4-6 1-5 9. Totals 18-50 13-22 54.

Halftime-Penn St. 37-30. 3-Point Goals-Penn St. 3-10 (Bentley 2-3, Lucas 1-6, Taylor 0-1), Indiana 5-14 (Sinclair 3-7, McGhee 2-4, Rubene 0-1, Deloach 0-1, Taufa 0-1). Fouled Out-Chaplin. Rebounds-Penn St. 54 (Nickson 11), Indiana 32 (McGhee 6). Assists-Penn St. 7 (Taylor 3), Indiana 11 (McGhee, Rubene 3). Total Fouls-Penn St. 23, Indiana 22. A-1,799.