HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Big Ten player of the year Maggie Lucas and conference regular-season champ Penn State are the opponent for the MSU women’s basketball team in tonight’s Big Ten Tournament semifinal at the Sears Centre Arena.
The Spartans are trying to break through against the No. 7-ranked Nittany Lions for the first time this season. MSU dropped both of the regular season meetings by double figures and feels it didn’t play a complete game in either contest.
“We’re looking forward to it a lot,” MSU’s Becca Mills said. “They always say its hard to beat a team three times so hopefully it will be in our favor.
“We have to play 40 minutes to beat them. At their place we played 30 coach (Merchant) said. We need to put a full 40 minutes together to beat that team.”
Penn State defeated MSU 76-55 on Jan. 6, and 71-56 on Feb. 10.
MSU and Penn State are meeting in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2005 when the then-No. 2 seed Spartans knocked off the then-No. 3-seed Nittany Lions en route to its first and only tournament title.
Overall, the Spartans are 1-2 against Penn State in the tournament.
The Spartans are 1-8 all-time in the semifinal of the tournament.
The usual starters for MSU tonight – Jasmine Thomas, Kiana Johnson, Klarissa Bell, Becca Mills and Courtney Schiffauer.
Penn State’s starters are Nikki Greene, Mia Nickson, Maggie Lucas, Dara Taylor and Alex Bentley starting for Penn State.
7:30 – Penn St. 4, MSU 0 – Nittany Lions with baskets on first two possessions.
7:30 – Penn St. 4, MSU 3 – Thomas makes 3 for MSU
7:32 – Penn St. 7, MSU 3 – Bentley hits a 3 and has five early points
7:34 – Penn St. 12, MSU 5 – At media timeout at 15:47, Nittany Lions are in control and off to a hot start. Bentley has 5 points and Lucas has a 3 for Penn St. Becca Mills has MSU’s only other basket.
7:39 – Penn St. 14, MSU 5 – Annalise Pickrel just picked up her second foul off the bench. This isn’t the start MSU needed here.
7:41 – Penn St. 14, MSU 5 – Bell with a couple inside misses and then turns it over on a skip pass.
7:45 – Penn St. 16, MSU 5 – At media timeout at 11:52 mark, Spartans still trying to find something offensively and get some shots to fall.
7:48 – Penn St. 16, MSU 7 – Spartans had gone 5:27 without a field goal until Mills scored in the paint.
7:49 – Penn St. 16, MSU 9 – Pickrel scores inside and Penn St. calls timeout at 10:07 mark.
7:50 – Penn St. 16, MSU 10 – Bell splits pair of FTs at 9:43 mark.
7:52 – Penn St. 16, MSU 12 – Greene picks up second foul after Jasmine Hines gets rebound. Hines makes both FTs.
7:55 – Penn St. 16, MSU 14 – MSU is on 9-0 run and has pulled within two at the media timeout with 7:28 left in the 1st half. PSU without a field goal since 12:44 mark.
7:59 – Penn St. 18, MSU 14 – Pickrel just picks up her third foul with 5:33 left. Ariel Edwards makes both free throws to end long drought.
8:02 – Penn St. 18, MSU 14 – Nickson misses pair of free throws with 4:57 left.
8:03 – Penn St. 18, MSU 16 – Hines makes pair of free throws at 4:14 mark.
8:05 – Penn St. 18, MSU 16 – We’re at the final media timeout of the first half with 3:44 left. Thomas just got called for an offensive foul. Spartans have had plenty of opportunities over past four-plus minutes since pulling within two
8:15 – Penn St. 19, MSU 17 – Its halftime and its been a defensive battle here. Penn State went final 12:44 of opening half without a field goal and MSU went the final 7:55. Both teams had just three points over the final 7:55 of the half. Nittany Lions went just 6-30 from the field in the 1st half. MSU was 5-27. Hines had 4 points and 9 rebounds.
8:30 – Penn St. 21, MSU 20: Field goal droughts end as each team scores on opening possession of 2nd half. Greene scores inside, then Mills hits a 3.
8:39 – Penn St. 24, MSU 24: Spartans took their first lead of game at 22-21 after Schiffauer scored inside at 16:54 mark. Lucas answered with a 3 to help Nittany Lions retake lead. Mills then tied the game with short jumper. We’re not at media timeout with 15:48 left
8:44 – MSU 28, Penn St. 24: Spartans take four-point lead after jumper by Mills and fast-break layup by Pickrel. 13:11 left.
8:49 – MSU 30, Penn St. 24: We’re at media timeout with 11:35 left and Spartans have scored eight straight over past four-plus minutes.
8:52 – MSU 32, Penn St. 27: Bentley’s 3 ends Penn St. drought and MSU’s 10-0 run
8:55 – MSU 34, Penn St. 33: Lucas starting to come to life for Penn St. Has back-to-back 3s that have pulled Nittany Lions within 1
8:59 – MSU 36, Penn St. 33: Thomas hit a big jumper for the Spartans at 6:57 mark. We’re at the media timeout with 6:30 remaining. Mills has 13 points and Thomas has 11 for the Spartans.
9:03 – MSU 39, Penn St. 33: Mills hits 3 to put lead to six. Penn St. calls timeout with 5:22 left.
9:05 – MSU 44, Penn St. 33: MSU on 10-0 run since Penn St. closed within one.
9:08 – MSU 44, Penn St. 33: We’re at final media timeout and Spartans have biggest lead of game. 3:40 left.
9:13 – MSU 46, Penn St. 38: Spartans up 10 with 1:45 left. Lucas fouled on drive and headed to shoot free throws. Lucas made both.
9:15 – MSU 48, Penn St. 40: Nittany Lions with ball and 55.8 seconds left. Spartans trying to hang on.
9:20 – MSU 54, Penn St. 46: It’s a final. MSU will be facing Purdue in title game tomorrow