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PSU Women win NCAA opener

By Kenny Varner

UNIVERSITY PARK – All eyes were on Penn State University Sunday afternoon as the Lady Lions basketball team opened the 2014 NCAA Women’s Championship with a home contest against Wichita State in a Nationally televised contest.

It was another successful for the Lady Lions season as they completed their third consecutive BIG 10 title and its third trip to the big dance.

After a Shocking first half that saw Penn State trail for most of the period, the Lady Lions battled back in the second to take a lead over #14 seed Wichita State and hold on for the 62-56 victory.

Maggie Lucas led the scoring for the Lady Lions with 22 while Ariel Edwards had 17. Teammate Talia East finished in doube-digits with 13.

Trailing 30-25 at the half, Penn State opened the half like a team possessed going on a 13-0 run to start the half and grabbed back the lead at 39-30.

Veteran forward Ariel Edwards got the scoring started collecting consecutive baskets to pull Penn State to within two.

Lucas then caught fire as well, hitting the next three points, giving the Lady Lions a one-point 31-30 lead.

From there Lucas passed the Torch to East who then collected two consecutive baskets of her, upping the lead to 35-30.

Penn State’s defense tightened up as well forcing the Shockers from getting a basket for the first eight minutes of the half.

But Michaela Dapprich brought the Shockers back in a big way, hitting on two triples, cutting it to 44-38.

The two battled back and forth but the game remained a 7/8 point contest for the following four minutes.

However, the Lady Lions continued their steady play and built up a 48-40 lead going into the final eight minutes.

Dapprich would not let her team go away without a fight as she posted a triple with 1:45 left to pull her team to within two of the Lady Lions, 56-54.

But East was strong on the following possession, hitting a bucket to put her team up 58-54 with 1:18.

Penn State’s Edwards sealed the deal, hitting a bucket and Lucas added the final touch hitting two of two from the charity stripe that gave them a six point lead, 62-56.

After a strong start by the Lady Lions going up 7-2, Wichita State rallied back in a big way going on a 14-0 run , taking the lead at 16-7.

A Dara Taylor lay up ended PSU’s scoring drought with 8:36 left in the opening half. That started a mini rally by the Lady Lions.

Senior Maggie Lucas led the charge hitting consecutive triples and a field goal in the final six minutes to help Penn State cut the Shockers’ lead to five at the intermission.

Lucas tallied 12 points in the first pacing the Lady Lions.

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