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Hawkeyes Upset Lady Lions

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
The #10/9 Penn State Lady Lions (17-5, 8-2 Big Ten) dropped a 73-70 thriller to Iowa (18-6, 6-4) in the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday night. The Lady Lions ran into a hot-shooting Hawkeye team, led by Ally Disterhoff, who turned in a career night with 24 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field. The loss snaps Penn State's six-game winning streak.

The Lady Lions had four players reach double figures on the evening. Senior guard Maggie Lucas led the team in scoring with 21 points on seven makes from the field, including two from distance and five from the charity stripe. With her performance, Lucas moved into eighth place on the Big Ten's career scoring chart, passing Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen (2,285; 2001-04). Lucas also had three rebounds, two assists and two steals while playing the full 40 minutes.

Penn State's senior center Talia East turned in one of her best performances in her Lady Lion career, as she scored a career-best 14 points and matched her season-best performance on the glass with 12 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season and second in her last three games.

The two other Lady Lions to eclipse the double digit mark were senior guard/forward Ariel Edwards and senior guard Dara Taylor. Edwards recorded 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and a steal, while Taylor added 10 points, three steals, two rebounds and two assists on the evening.

Through the first eight minutes of action the Lady Lions and Hawkeyes battled to a 14-14 standstill. All five Penn State starters found their way into the scoring column with Edwards leading the way with six early points. The Blue and White then went on a mini-run over the next two and a half minutes, outscoring the visitors 9-4 to take a five point lead at 23-18. The spurt was powered by Lucas, who scored seven of the points in a multitude of ways. The senior first converted two free throw attempts then knocked down a jumper before connecting from beyond the arc. East added a layup during the stretch.

Iowa's Theairra Taylor abruptly ended the run with a layup and subsequently sparked an 8-0 run for the Hawkeyes to put the visitors back on top by a score of 26-23 with 8:20 remaining in the first frame. The two sides played an even next eight minutes of action with each side scoring 14 points to give Iowa a 40-37 lead with just under 10 seconds left. East was the catalyst offensively, leading the Lady Lions with six points in that stretch.

Trailing by three, the Lady Lions inbounded the ball under their own basket with just under eight seconds left and found Lucas, who canned a trey from the left side of the arc just before the halftime buzzer to knot the game up at 40-40 heading into the break.

The Hawkeyes opened the final 20 minutes of action playing inspired basketball, as the visitors outscored the Lady Lions 12-4 over the opening three and a half minutes open up an eight point lead at 52-44.

Over the next five minutes Penn State methodically chipped away at Iowa's lead and managed to even the score at 56-56, scoring 12 of the game's next 16 points. Penn State shared the scoring wealth during the stretch with East scoring four points and Lucas, Taylor, Edwards and Kaliyah Mitchell each adding two points apiece.

Iowa answered by scoring the next five points to go up 61-56 with just under 10 minutes left in the game but Penn State quickly responded by ripping off a 12-2 run to take five point advantage at 68-63, matching its largest lead of the evening with 4:26 showing on the scoreboard. Edwards started the spurt with a finish at the rim and freshman guard/forward Peyton Whitted capped the stretch with a jumper just inside the arc to bring the Penn State faithful to its feet.

However, the Lady Lion momentum would be short-lived as the Hawkeyes rattled off the next six points in just over two minutes of game action to retake the lead at 69-68 with just 1:59 left on the clock.

Edwards answered by knocking down a jumper on the next possession to grab the lead back at 70-69, but it was not to be for the Lady Lions. Iowa's Bethany Doolittle converted a jumper to put the visitors up by one point with 1:12 left in the game and after an empty Penn State possession, Disterhoff drew a whistle in the waning seconds of the shot clock and knocked down two free throws to give the Hawkeyes a three-point cushion at 73-70 with 8.2 seconds remaining.

Iowa then astutely fouled Taylor with just under two seconds to go and Taylor was unable to hit the front end of the one-and-one, which sealed the Hawkeye victory.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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