Taylor turned in one of her best all-around performances of her collegiate career, notching her second double-double. She orchestrated the high-powered attack by scoring 15 points and dishing out a Penn State career-high 10 assists while only committing one turnover. The senior also impacted the game defensively as she swiped a team-high four steals. Taylor’s first collegiate double-double was at Maryland against the Virginia on Jan. 11, 2010. The point-assist double-double is the first for a Lady Lion player since Alex Bentley had 15points and 15 assists against North Carolina on Nov. 30, 2011
Fellow senior Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) added a game-high 25 points on her mini-bobblehead giveaway day. Lucas got off to a great start, scoring 15 of her 25 points in the first half. The senior shot 7-of-15 from the field, 4-for-8 from beyond the arc and 7-of-8 from the free throw line in 32 minutes of action. To complete her performance, Lucas added three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) also reached double figures on the afternoon as the senior poured in 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting and chipped in five rebounds and two assists. Freshman forward Alex Harris (Lorain, Ohio) showed some pop off of the bench with five points and five rebounds, while fellow rookies Peyton Whitted (Suwanee, Ga.) and Jenny DeGraaf (Springboro, Ohio) added four points each.
The Lady Lions’ defensive unit was also a major factor in the outcome. Through 35 minutes of play, Penn State allowed only three Golden Gophers to make a mark in the scoring column. A total of five Minnesota players ended up scoring in the contest, with three Gophers combining for 49 of the 53 points. Penn State also won the turnover battle with eight turnovers compared to Minnesota’s 21.
The Lady Lions couldn’t have asked for a much better start on Sunday afternoon, as Penn State jumped out to a 13-4 lead in just over four minutes of play. Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) opened up the game’s scoring with a layup and then Taylor and Lucas took over the next few minutes, combining to score 11 points. Taylor hit a jumper, a layup and two free throws, while Lucas connected on two shots from the charity stripe and a trey.
Over the next three and a half minutes of action the two sides traded buckets, with each team scoring eight points to move the score to 21-12 with 12:14 left in the first half. Penn State did all of its offensive damage from outside the paint during the stretch, as Edwards and Lucas both hit shots from beyond the arc and then Lucas added a midrange jumper.
Leading by nine, Edwards knocked down a jumper to give Penn State its first double-digit lead of the afternoon at 23-12. The Lady Lions went on to methodically increase its lead to 22 points, outscoring the Gophers, 21-10, for the rest of the first frame to take a commanding 44-22 lead into the break. It was a complete team effort in the run to close the opening 20 minutes, with six different players combining to score the 21 points.
Penn State opened the second stanza by scoring 13 of the first 21 points to grab its largest lead of the game at 57-30 at the 14:57 mark. Lucas once again led the way in the spurt scoring seven points off a three, a jumper and two free throws. Whitted, Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) and East each added two points during the stretch.
Minnesota answered with a 12-2 run over the next three minutes of play to cut the deficit down to 17 at 59-42 but was unable to draw any closer the rest of the way, as the Lady Lions outscored the Golden Gophers 24-11 down the stretch to win their fourth game in a row and stay atop the Big Ten standings with an 83-53 victory.
GAME NOTES: Dara Taylor earned her second career double-double and first as a Penn Stater with 15 points and 10 assists today … Taylor’s first career double-double was at Maryland against the Virginia on Jan. 11, 2010 … The 10 helpers are the most for Taylor in a Penn State uniform … The point-assist double-double is the first for a Lady Lion player since Alex Bentley had 15points and 15 assists against North Carolina on Nov. 30, 2011 … Maggie Lucas posted 25 tallies for her 57th career 20-point performance and 10th of the season … With seven field goals made against Minnesota, Lucas moved to seventh on Penn State’s all-time career field goals made with 713 … Taylor reached the 300-rebound milestone for her collegiate career … With three helpers today, Lucas surpasses the 250-assist milestone (251) … Penn State has not allowed an opponent to score more than 55 points in its last four games, marking the first time that has occurred in Big Ten play for the Lions since 1999-00 (Indiana, 74-36; Northwestern, 66-34; Minnesota, 99-43; Ohio State, 56-50).
--Penn State Athletic Communications
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