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Boilermakers too strong for Lady Lions

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The #15/14 Penn State Lady Lions (11-4, 2-1 Big Ten) tied the school record with 14 blocks on the day, but it was not enough as the Lions dropped an 84-74 decision to #20/21 Purdue (11-4, 1-2). The loss was also Penn State's first to a Big Ten team at home since Jan. 7, 2012 (Michigan State).

Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) scored her 17 points thanks in part to two treys. The senior guard added seven rebounds, an assist and a steal to complete her afternoon. Fellow senior Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) totaled 13 points and led the squad with six assists, while Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) tallied 12 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal.

Senior Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) turned in one of the most impressive stat lines of the game for Penn State, totaling 10 rebounds, nine points and a career-high seven blocks. The seven rejections tie her career high set against South Carolina during sophomore season and are just one shy of tying the Lady Lion record for blocks in a game.

The Lady Lions came out of the gate fired up for their first Big Ten home game of the season, scoring the first seven points of the contest. Taylor scored Penn State's first five points, knocking down a midrange baseline jumper and a shot from beyond the arc to open up the scoring. East capped the great start with a layup just two and a half minutes into the game.

After the opening Lady Lion flurry, Purdue battled back into the game and grabbed its first lead of the game with 10:18 left in the first off a layup from Whitney Bays to put the Boilermakers up 19-18, outscoring Penn State 19-11 in the stretch. Lucas scored seven of the team's 11 points for Penn State with a four-point play followed by another trey on back-to-back possessions.

The two sides traded buckets for the next six minutes of play, with each team scoring 17 points apiece, moving the score to 36-35 with just over four minutes left in the first frame. The Lady Lions' bench provided much of the offensive production over the stretch, as the trio of Candice Agee (Victorville, Calif.), Kaliyah Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Alex Harris (Lorain, Ohio) combined to score 13 of the team's 17 points. Purdue took over in the final four minutes of the half, outscoring Penn State 10-2 in the run to take a 46-37 lead into the halftime break.

The Boilermakers began the second half just as they had finished the first, growing their lead to as many as 15 points at 60-45 with less than 13 minutes to play. The Lions showed its resiliency by battling back and trimming the visitor's lead down to just six points over the next four minutes of action by reeling off 15 of the 21 points scored in the spurt to bring the score to 66-60. East powered the surge, scoring seven points off of three layups and a free throw.

Purdue's Liza Clemons hit a jumper to temporarily slow the Lady Lions' charge and increase its lead back to eight. After the Boilermaker bucket Penn State made another run, scoring the next six points from a Taylor jumper and four free throws to make it a one possession game at 68-66 at the seven-minute mark.

Despite the rally, Purdue managed to weather the Penn State comeback, scoring six unanswered points to push its lead back to eight at 74-66 with 3:42 remaining. The Boilermakers managed to keep the Lady Lions at bay for the remainder of the game and came away with a win by a final of 84-74.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times