STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Maggie Lucas scored 22 points, backcourt mate Alex Bentley added 20 and No. 7 Penn State overwhelmed Illinois in transition in a 95-62 women’s college basketball win Wednesday night, moving a step closer to a second straight Big Ten regular-season title.
The Lady Lions (22-3, 12-1) built a 21-point lead by halftime after shooting 58 percent in the first half. Penn State had a two-game lead on second-place Nebraska entering Wednesday night, with three games left on the Lady Lions’ schedule after the win over the Illini.
Adrienne GodBold had 17 points for foul-plagued Illinois (15-10, 8-5). The Lady Lions outraced the Illini to the bucket on the break, 18-6.
Penn State didn’t let up down the stretch and led by as much as 27 early in the second half.
The Lady Lions went on a 49-26 run over the final 15 minutes of the first half to seize control.
A satisfied Penn State coach Coquese Washington took time to lean back on the scorer’s table and sip from a bottle of water before her team jogged back to the locker room with a 54-33 halftime lead.
Relentless Penn State attacked from all over the court on both ends of the floor. Lucas and Bentley led the charge from the backcourt, while third guard Dara Taylor (nine points, five steals, six turnovers,) harassed opponents with her speed and quick baseline moves.
The balanced attack featured 13 points and seven rebounds from forward Mia Nickson and 11 points from guard/forward Ariel Edwards. The Lady Lions aggressively attacked the basket while also getting 10 blocks, including four from Tori Waldner and three from freshman Candace Agee.
Illinois coach Matt Bollant managed to get his team settled in the second half, but the Illini could get no closer than 19 with 7:42 left to play.
Karisma Penn finished with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and five rebounds, but spent chunks of the game on the bench with foul trouble. Ivory Crawford had 10 points before also fouling out with 9:17 left.
South Florida 73, No. 12 Louisville 62: In Louisville, Ky., Andrea Smith tied a career-high with 35 points for South Florida.
Smith made 11 of 16 shots, including 5-of-6 on 3-pointers, for USF (18-7, 7-5 Big East).
Inga Orekhova added 13 points and Akila McDonald had 10 rebounds to help the Bulls build a 43-34 edge on the boards.
South Florida led 24-22 at the break and scored the first six points of the second half. Louisville (21-6, 9-4) cut it to 30-27 on an Antonita Slaughter three-point play, but Smith and Orekhova answered with back-to-back jumpers and the Cardinals would get no closer from there.
USF shot 47 percent (25-of-53), including 60 percent (15-of-25) in the second half.
Shoni Schimmel scored 16 for Louisville, which shot a season-low 30 percent (19-of-62)
INDIANA 62, NO. 22 PURDUE 61: In Bloomington, Ind., Jasmine McGhee scored 26 points, including the game-winning basket with one second remaining for Indiana.
McGhee hit two free throws with 1:14 remaining, snapping a run of seven straight points by Purdue and giving the Hoosiers (11-15, 2-11 Big Ten) a 60-59 lead.
A basket by KK Houser put the Boilermakers back on top 61-60 with 13 seconds left before Indiana called timeout and got the ball to McGhee, whose jumper sealed the victory and snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Hoosiers.
Aulani Sinclair added 16 points and Sasha Chaplin had 10 for Indiana.
Taylor Manuel had 16 points for the Boilermakers (19-7, 8-5), Houser had 12 and Drey Mingo added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
TCU 64, No. 23 Oklahoma State 63: In Fort Worth, Texas, Delisa Gross hit the game-winning shot with 1:04 remaining and TCU closed the game on an 11-0 run for its first Big 12 victory of the season.
The Horned Frogs (8-17, 1-13) trailed 63-53 after Oklahoma State’s Tiffany Bias nailed a 3-pointer with 5:01 remaining. But TCU got two 3-pointers from Zahna Medley, a basket by Natalie Ventress and a free throw from Donielle Breaux before Gross hit the game-winner.
The Cowgirls (18-7, 7-7) had two turnovers and were 0-for-5 from the field in the final five minutes, including a pair of 3-point attempts by Kendra Suttles in the final minute.
Gross finished with 13 points for TCU, Breaux had 12, Medley 11 and Ventress 10.
Liz Donohoe led Oklahoma State with 22 points. Toni Young added 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Suttles had 11 points.