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PSU ladies make sweet 16

By Kenny Varner

UNIVERSITY PARK – After finding themselves down at the half against 14th seed Wichita State, the Lady Lions put their game on fast forward cruising into the second round of the NCAAs and a match up with upset minded Florida Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Though the focus was on shooting guard Maggie Lucas early on, Penn State diveed up the scoring as Ariel Edwards and Dara Taylor got loose a the break early and often.

Lucas was hot from the field posting another 20-plus point performance ( 22 ) as did teammate East ( 22 ). Edwards also finished in double-digits (18).

Florida upset higher seeded Dayton on Sunday to earn the right to play for a berth at the sweet 16  themselves.

There would be no upset on this night a the Lady Lions were up to the task defeating Florida, 83-61.

Going into the second half, the Lions saw themselves just twenty minutes away from advancing to the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years, holding onto a 43-32 advantage.

There was a white hot glow on the ball in the second half as the Lady Lions caught fire, opening the half on a 14-4 run. The run was sparked by a five point effort by Lucas.

Before the Gators knew what hit them, the Lady Lions built up a 56-36 lead with 15:31 to go.

Florida refused to go away as they went on a 15-0 run to get itself back into the game at 69-53 with less than eight minutes left.

Penn State continued to fire them up, posting over 62 points in under 36 minutes.

Both teams looked focused and ready to play as they warmed up before the game.

However, it would be the Lady Lions who came out swinging as the game got underway, opening the game going on a 15-4 run less than midway through the first half.

In the first nine minutes of play, the Gators managed just a field goal and a triple.

With 7:55 left in the first half, the Lady Lions got a scare when center Talia East fell awkwardly into the photo pit and went into the locker room.

Penn State’s defense forced numerous first half turnovers as they built up a 10 point lead going into the final seven minutes of the period.

However, a four point play by Carlie Needles brought the Gators back into striking distance of the Lions.’

After only sitting out a few minutes East was back in the game and was crashing the boards.

Florida kept in it as they excelled from the three-point line, getting as close as 6 points before the first half ended.

Things started to get a little physical toward the end of the first half, highlighted by Florida coach Amanda Butler’s technical foul.

When the dust settled, Penn State led by double digit 43-32.

Leading the offensively for Penn State at the end of the first half were Taylor with 13, Edwards with 10 and Lucas with nine.

Kayla Lewis led the Gators in the opening period with eight while teammates Carlie Needles and Jeterra Bonds had seven.

With the victory the Lady Lions will head to Stanford to play the very same Cardinal team.

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