UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State senior point guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) and junior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) are two of 20 players that have been named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason list, as announced by the Los Angeles Athletic Club Tuesday (Jan. 22). The list is comprised of players who based on their performances in November, December and January, are the frontrunners for selection to the ballot of college basketball’s top award.
Lucas and Bentley are two of three players from the Big Ten on the list, joining Tayler Hill from Ohio State. Penn State is additionally one of six schools to have multiple candidates on the list, including Connecticut (Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Kelly Faris, Stefanie Dolson), Baylor (Brittney Griner, Odyssey Sims), Duke (Elizabeth Williams, Chelsea Gray), Maryland (Alyssa Thomas, Tianna Hawkins) and Notre Dame (Skylar Diggins, Kayla McBride).
Bentley, who is on the Wooden Top 20 list for the first time in her career, currently ranks second in the country in steals with a 4.2 thefts per game average. The point guard is 10th in school history in points (1,555), 10th in field goals made (628), ninth in assists (521) and sixth in steals (287). She is just the fifth player in Big Ten history and the second player in school history, joining Suzie McConnell, to tally 1,500 points, 500 assists and 250 steals. The 2013 Big Ten Preseason Co-Player of the Year is one of 34 Lady Lions to net 1,000 career points.
Coming off honorable mention All-America accolades last season, Lucas has put together a superb 2012 campaign, where she currently leads the country in three-point field goal percentage at a .531 clip. The junior additionally ranks third in the Big Ten and 20th in the country in scoring (19.8 ppg), as well as fifth in the Big Ten in steals (2.5). Lucas currently has 249 career three-pointers, which ranks fifth in Big Ten history. After becoming the 11th-fastest player in Big Ten history to reach the 1,000-point plateau last season, the Narberth native sits in 12th place all-time in school history in scoring with 1,530 career points. Earlier this year, Lucas was named USBWA National Player of the Week for her 39-point performance against Georgetown on Dec. 9.
The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation’s top five players, will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament. The John R. Wooden Award Player of the Year will be announced on April 12, 2013, at The Los Angeles Athletic Club as part of the 37th annual Wooden Award Gala.
About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (’09 and ’11).
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award’s name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award ceremony.
Single game tickets for the Lady Lions are on sale now. Tickets are $15 and $12 for adults and seniors and $9 and $7 for youth (12 and younger). 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 2013 Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Feb. 24 as the Lady Lions take on Michigan in the Bryce Jordan Center. Last year, the Lady Lions donated a record $203,000 to breast cancer causes. This year’s fundraising efforts will benefit the Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Lewistown Hospital. For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.pennsylvaniapinkzone.org.
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.