PALO ALTO, CA - The third-seeded Penn State Lady Lions (24-8, 13-3) suffered an 82-57 setback to No. 2 seed and host Stanford (32-3, 17-1 Pac-12) in the NCAA Regional Semifinals on Sunday afternoon inside Maples Pavilion. The loss marks the end of the career of Penn State's superb senior class, which is just the third class in school history to top 100 wins. The class finishes second in school history with a 101-31 overall record.
After Penn State took a 23-19 lead, the Cardinal mounted a 14-0 scoring surge mid-way through the first half to take a double-digit lead (33-23) and never looked back. Senior Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) was superb in her final outing for the Lady Lions. Edwards scored a team-high 22 points, marking her fourth 20-point outing in the final six games and her highest total in 10 career NCAA Tournament games. Seniors Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) and Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) joined Edwards in double figures. Taylor had 11 points, five assists and four rebounds, while East had 10 points, four rebounds and three steals.
Big Ten Player of the Year Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) closed out a stellar Penn State career with six points. Lucas finishes as the program's No. 2 scorer with 2,510 points. In all, the senior guard leaves Penn State in the Top 10 in 17 different statistical categories. She also finishes her career fourth in the Big Ten in career scoring and first in three-point field goals and free throw percentage.
Stanford used a 25-7 run to close out the first half en route to a 44-30 lead at the break. The game seesawed back and forth in the early minutes until the Lady Lions used a 6-0 spurt to go on top by a score of 23-19 following a jumper from Lucas at the 9:35 mark. From there, the Cardinal scored the next 14 points and held the Lady Lions scoreless for 5:12 to build a double-figure lead. Edwards, who had 10 in the first half, scored Penn State's final seven tallies to send the teams into the break with the margin at 14 (44-30).
Penn State shot 41 percent from the field in the first half. Seven Lady Lions registered tallies in the scorebook during the opening 20 minutes of play. The Cardinal shot 47 percent from the field and committed just one turnover in the first half.
The Lady Lions scored five of the first seven points to open the second half. Taylor's triple at the 17:42 mark capped the 5-2 run and trimmed Stanford's lead down to 11 at 46-35. Stanford countered with a Mikaela Ruef basket, but Edwards scored on the next possession to again make it an 11-point contest. The Cardinal lead grew to 18 with 9:55 to play, but the Lady Lions were not quite done.
Penn State cut the deficit down to 13 (61-48) when Taylor capped off a 5-0 run with a three at the 8:41 mark. A jump-hook from East made it a 63-50 game with 8:10 to play, but that would be as close as the Lady Lions would get down the stretch.
From there, Stanford mounted a 10-2 run to build a 21-point edge on the way to punching a ticket into the NCAA Regional Finals. The Cardinal limited Penn State to just 36 percent from the field for the game and 31 percent for the second half. Stanford All-American forward Chiney Ogumike paced all scorers with 29 points and 15 rebounds.
Penn State reached the NCAA Regional Semifinals for the 13th time in program history and second time in the past three years.
--Penn State Athletic Communications
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