PSU clinches Big Ten title

Nittany Lions claim first crown since '04 season
February 21, 2012 6:01 pm
  • Penn State players celebrate the team's 84-66 win Monday against Ohio State in University Park that gave the Nittany Lions at least a share of the Big Ten title.
    Penn State players celebrate the team's 84-66 win Monday against Ohio State in University Park that gave the Nittany Lions at least a share of the Big Ten title.
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Nikki Greene had 25 points and 15 rebounds to help No. 11 Penn State beat No. 8 Ohio State, 84-66, at the Bryce Jordan Center, clinching at least a share of its first Big Ten title since 2004.

Mia Nickson also had a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds. She and Greene combined for 25 points and 19 rebounds alone in the first half as the Lady Lions (22-5, 11-3) built a 15-point halftime lead.

It was more than enough cushion against the Buckeyes (23-4, 10-4), who never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.

Penn State also clinched the top seed in the conference tournament, which starts next week in Indianapolis.

Samantha Prahalis had 16 points and eight assists for Ohio State.

But Monday belonged to Lady Lions, who outrebounded the Buckeyes, 60-32.

Maggie Lucas added 12 points and 10 rebounds, the first time that Penn State had three players with double-doubles since 2008.

Their loyal fans celebrated in the stands, waving white pom-poms. Happy Valley hasn't celebrated a conference title in eight seasons, when Rene Portland coached at Penn State.

"We are ... Penn State," exclaimed the fans with 1 minute left and the Lady Lions leading by 18. The pep band then broke out into an impromptu rendition of the alma mater while Penn State brought the ball up one last time.

Other Top 25 women

• Notre Dame 68, Louisville 52: Skylar Diggins scored 21 points and freshman Kayla McBride added 15 to lead No. 3 Notre Dame (26-2, 13-1 Big East) past host No. 16 Louisville (19-8, 8-6), moving the Fighting Irish one step closer to a Big East title.

District women

• Robert Morris 72, Bryant 68: Artemis Spanou recorded her fourth double-double in a row and 17th of the year with 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Colonials (16-11, 10-6 NEC) past the visiting Bulldogs (13-14, 6-10). Josette Campbell scored a career-best 18 points and added four steals in the win. Bryant trailed by just two points with less than eight minutes to play in the second half, but Robert Morris used a late 9-3 scoring surge to seal the win.

Big East

• Connecticut 73, Villanova 70: Shabazz Napier swished a 29-footer with 0.6 seconds left in overtime, and Jeremy Lamb scored a career-high 32 points to help Connecticut (17-10, 7-8) stun host Villanova (11-16, 4-11).

Ty Johnson appeared to send the game to double OT on his tying layup for Villanova off a missed Connecticut free throw. But Napier, who questioned the heart of his teammates after a loss Saturday at Marquette, hit the pull-up 3-pointer and got all net in the final seconds to keep the defending champions' NCAA tournament hopes alive.

The Huskies rallied from an 18-point deficit to win without coach Jim Calhoun on the bench. Calhoun should return from a back injury and be on the sidelines for Saturday's game against No. 2 Syracuse.


First Published 2012-02-20 23:12:53

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