UNIVERSITY PARK – Senior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) scored a team-best 18 points as the #17/15 Lady Lions (9-3, 0-0 Big Ten) recorded a 70-56 victory over Hartford (3-10) on Sunday afternoon.Fellow senior Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) also had a solid outing, scoring 15 points on an efficient 6-of-11 shooting from the field. She also grabbed seven boards and dished out an assist in the win.
Lucas poured in eight points in the first halfand followed with 10 in the second to finish with 18 tallies on the day andmove into 13th place on the Big Ten’s career scoring list (2,091), passing Illinois’ Ashley Berggren (2,089). Lucas went a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line and added five rebounds, two steals and two assists to complete her performance.
The Lady Lions had a very balanced offensive attack with 10 players finding their way into the scoring column, with six totaling five or more points. The Lady Lions finished 28-for-65 from the field (43.1 percent), while holding the Hawks to 20-for-57 shooting (35.1 percent). Penn State also dominated the glass, outrebounding Hartford 47-30.
The visitor’s jumped out to a quick 12-6 lead in the opening seven minutes. The Hawks hit two of their first four shots from beyond the arc to fuel their strong start. Edwards scored four of the Lady Lions’ first six points, with Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) chipping in the other two.
Penn State abruptly responded by outscoring the Hawks 13-3 over the next five minutes to take a four-point advantage at 19-15 with eight minutes left in the first frame. Edwards powered the run by leading the Blue and White with five points with Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) adding four tallies and Lucas and Kaliyah Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) scoring two points apiece.
Hartford’s Morgan Lumb ended the Lady Lion run by knocking down a trey, cutting the visitor’s deficit to one at 19-18. Waldner and Lucas each finished layups at the rim to push the lead up to five before Lumb answered with another shot from distance to make the score 23-21 with 6:29 left on the clock.
Penn State then reeled off six-straight points to build its lead to 29-21, the largest of the first 20 minutes, with just under five minutes left in the frame. The Lady Lions’ defense sparked the run, as back-to-back steals led to fast break layups from Lucas and Peyton Whitted (Suwanee, Ga.). Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) capped the run by hitting a jumper in the lane.
The Hawks refused to go away and finished the half by outscoring the Blue and White 10-8 to cut the Lady Lion lead to six at the halftime break at 37-31. Edwards paced Penn State at the intermission with 13 points, while Lucas added eight.
The Lady Lions opened the second stanza by scoring the first four points on a Waldner jumper and Lucas layup, pushing their lead to double digits for the first time at 41-31. Over the next seven minutes of play the two teams traded baskets, with both sides scoring nine points each to move the score to 50-40 with 12:10 left in the contest. Taylor powered the Lady Lion attack during the stretch with four points. Mitchell and Alex Harris (Lorain, Ohio) each added two points while East converted 1-of-2 free throws for Penn State’s nine points.
In the final 12 minutes of action the Lady Lions’ lead was never threatened, as the hosts methodically increased their lead to as many as 17 points with two minutes to play in the game. A late Hartford triple with just 28 seconds left on the clock cut accounted for the final score of 70-56.
GAME NOTES: Penn State leads 2-0 against Hartford in series history … The 2013-14 season marks the fourth consecutive season that the Lady Lions have at least nine non-conference wins … Penn State improves to a 5-0 record against the America East …The Lady Lions were held without a three-pointer for the first time since November 30, 2011 at South Carolina, a string of 73 games … With 18 points, Maggie Lucas moves into 13th in the Big Ten career records in scoring (2,091), she advances past Ashley Berggren’s 2,089, Illinois (1995-98) … This is the first time in Lucas’ career that she has been held without a triple in consecutive games … Dara Taylor surpassed the 600-point mark for her career with eight tallies today (603) … Tori Waldner had one block, giving her at least one block in the past 11 games … Peyton Whitted’s four rebounds match her career high previously recorded against Alcorn State (12/22/13) and Bucknell (11/20/13).
The Lady Lions open conference play with a pair of road games at Iowa on Jan. 5 at 3 p.m. and at Illinois on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 9 p.m., a game that will air on the Big Ten Network. Penn State’s Big Ten home opener will take place on Sunday, Jan. 12 against Purdue at 3 p.m. on ESPN.
--Penn State Athletic Communications
Copyright 2013 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.