March 21, 2011

Lady Lions fall to DePaul in soul-crushing collapse, 75-73

Penn State's season will end at home. The season finale location may not have come as a surprise to many. But the situation of that final home game would. The Lady Lions fell to DePaul, 75-73 tonight, in the 2nd Round of the Women's NCAA Tournament at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Was it bad enough that Penn State was eliminated from advancing to the Sweet 16? Yes. Was it bad enough that the loss came at home? Definitely. But it was worse, much worse, as the Lady Lions held as much as a 14-point lead in the early 2nd half of the game, only to see it evaporate into the night.

Some positives: Alex Bentley had another monster game, dropping 23 points on the Blue Demons. Julia Trogele had a double-double, 14 points and 11 rebounds. Too bad she couldn't go out a winner. Nikki Greene had a very nice 12 points, but was injured for a stretch of the game. That was the same stretch that DePaul made the biggest part of their comeback. Penn State outscored DePaul 38-29 in the first half.

Some negatives: Maggie Lucas had a big jumper near the end, but was held to a paltry 7 points. That's an inexcusable number, no matter how well the other team defends your best shooter. Mia Nickson was the only other teammate to score more than 7. Where was the rest of the team? I said earlier today, this had to be a full team effort today. It wasn't, especially down the stretch. And what was THAT play called on the final inbounds with 4.9 seconds left? Penn State went with a short handoff that ran right into double coverage. The ball barely made it past mid-court before Trogele had to heave up a desperation shot. It was a sloppy ending to a sloppy half. And that's a polite description of it. DePaul outscored Penn State 46-35 in the second half.

Now what: Penn State returns the ENTIRE roster next year, except for the lone senior from this season, Julia Trogele. So the promise is there, and it is a very bright future. The program is possibly back on track to the glory days it once enjoyed. But this was a terrible way to end this season. Even a loss in the Sweet 16--say, a blowout loss to Duke--would have been more tolerable than what was experienced tonight in Happy Valley. On to next season...

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