Lady Lions reveal Big Ten schedule
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The defending Big Ten Champion Penn State women’s basketball team announced its 2012-13 Big Ten Conference schedule Friday (Aug. 31). The Lady Lions begin their title defense at the Bryce Jordan Center against Northwestern on Thursday, Jan. 3. Additionally, the Lady Lions will also host the Seventh Annual Pink Zone at Penn State on Sunday, Feb. 24 against Michigan. The Lady Lions have raised more than $565,000 in the fight against breast cancer through its first six Pink Zone events. The Big Ten will announce television arrangements and game times at a later date.
As part of the 16-game Big Ten slate, Penn State will face five Big Ten foes twice and will only square off once each against Illinois, Northwestern and Purdue (home only) and Indiana, Iowa and Ohio State (away only).
The Lady Lions open their Big Ten schedule at the Bryce Jordan Center against Northwestern on Thurs., Jan. 3 before traveling to Michigan State on Sun., Jan. 6. After a bye date, the Lady Lions then return home for back-to-back home games against Nebraska (Sun., Jan. 13) and Wisconsin (Thurs., Jan. 17).
Penn State visits Michigan for a Monday evening contest on Jan. 21 and then returns to the friendly confines of the BJC to meet Minnesota on Thurs., Jan. 24. The Lady Lions close out the month of January with road games at Ohio State (Sun., Jan. 27) and Wisconsin (Thurs., Jan. 31).
The Lady Lions will appear on ESPN’s Big Monday when they host Purdue on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Last season on ESPN’s Big Monday, Penn State clinched its first Big Ten regular-season title since 2004 with a win over Ohio State.
After traveling to Indiana (Thurs., Jan. 7), Penn State hosts Michigan State on Sun., Jan. 10 before hitting the road to face Iowa for a Valentine’s Day contest.
Following a bye date, Penn State closes out its home slate against Illinois (Wed., Feb. 20) and with the Seventh Annual Pink Zone at Penn State against Michigan on Sun., Feb. 24. The Lady Lions finish out the regular-season with a pair of road games at Minnesota (Thurs., Feb. 28) and Nebraska (Sun., Mar. 3).
The Big Ten Tournament will be played March 7-10 at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
The Lady Lions previously announced their non-conference schedule, which begins with an exhibition game against California (Pa.), which is coached by former Lady Lion Jess Strom, on Sat., Nov. 3. The regular season opens with a home contest against Howard on Sun., Nov. 11. Penn State hits the road for a midweek meeting with SEC foe Texas A&M in College Station on Wed., Nov. 14 before returning to the BJC to face Lafayette on Sun., Nov. 18.
Penn State will head to the West Coast for the Thanksgiving holiday, participating in a tournament at Cal State Northridge. Joining the Lady Lions and Matadors, a WNIT selection last year, in the holiday tournament will be WNIT participant Detroit and South Alabama. Penn State remains on the road for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge game at NCAA participant Miami (Fla.) on Thurs., Nov. 29.
The Lady Lions are back at the Bryce Jordan Center for a weekend date with Fairleigh Dickinson on Sun., Dec. 2 before visiting seven-time National Champion Connecticut to open a home-and-home series with the Huskies. The rematch of the 2012 NCAA Sweet Sixteen meeting will be Penn State’s first trip to Connecticut since Dec. 1, 1981. The Lady Lions are 3-7 all-time against the Huskies.
Penn State returns to the friendly confines of the Bryce Jordan Center to meet NCAA Tournament participant Georgetown on Sun., Dec. 9. The Lady Lions are back on the road to visit ACC foe Virginia Tech on Wed., Dec. 12, before returning home for their final two non-conference games against South Dakota State on Sun., Dec. 16 and NJIT on Sun., Dec. 23. The NJIT contest will be part of a men’s and women’s doubleheader at the BJC.
Leading the way for the Lady Lions is the All-American backcourt tandem of senior Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) and junior Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.). Bentley garnered first team All-Big Ten honors for the second-straight season and also took home honorable mention WBCA All-America accolades. She was second in the Big Ten and in the Top 20 nationally in steals, averaging 3.0 per game. The Big Ten All-Defensive team choice led Big Ten action with 49 steals in 16 games, becoming the first Lady Lion to lead the league in steals since Jess Strom did it in back-to-back years in 2003-04 and 2004-05. Additionally, Bentley was 11th in the conference in scoring (14.1), fourth in assists (4.7) and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). Lucas earned first team All-Big Ten and honorable mention Associated Press All-America honors after finishing third in the conference in scoring at a 19.5 per game clip and was just the fourth different Lady Lion to score more than 600 points in a season with 642 tallies on the year. Lucas was also Top 10 in the league in free throw percentage (.886 – 3rd), three-point field goal percentage (.410 – 3rd) and three-pointers made (2.5 – 2nd). The Narberth, Pa. native is just the third sophomore in school history to reach 1,000 points.
The Lady Lions also return starters Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) and Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.). Greene garnered All-Big Ten third team accolades after accounting for 9.8 points and a team-best 7.8 rebounds. Greene ranked in the Top 10 in the Big Ten in rebounding (4th), field goal percentage (7th – .472) and blocked shots (5th – 1.4). Her 176 career blocks are fifth in school history. Nickson fought through a series of injuries to claim All-Big Ten honorable mention honors as she averaged 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Additionally, she was named to the NCAA Tournament Kingston All-Region team after tallying 19 points, five rebounds and two steal against eventual National Semifinalist Connecticut. In Big Ten play, Nickson was eighth in rebounding (7.5) and 10th in field goal percentage (.455).
Lady Lion Basketball season tickets are available by calling 800-NITTANY. Season tickets are $99 for adults and $50 for youth (12 and under), this includes a Nittany Lion Kids Club Membership for 2012-13. The PNC Flex Books are available again this year for $99. The Flex Book gives fans 12 vouchers, 10 that can be redeemed in any combination for Nittany Lion and Lady Lion Basketball tickets throughout the year and two extra vouchers for the Nittany Lions’ Coaches Vs. Cancer game and the Lady Lions’ Pink Zone game.
The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) and the Lady Lions and coaches (@pennstatewbb) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstateladylions