March 4, 2011

Lady Lions roll Purdue 73-61, likely lock up NCAA berth

There wasn't a whole lot going for Penn State coming into today's game against Purdue. The Boilermakers swept the Lady Lions in the regular season, both wins coming in convincing fashion. Taking into account the previous editions of this matchup so far this season, one would expect Purdue to hold the "2" in front of their name, with Penn State the "7".

But the No. 2 seed Lady Lions finally found a way to beat No. 7 seed Purdue, and it couldn't have come at a better time than this afternoon in Indianapolis, as Penn State downed the Boilermakers 73-61 to advance to the semifinal round of the Big Ten tournament. The Lady Lions will face the winner of the Michigan-Illinois game, which will tip off this afternoon.

It was a tight game for the first 20 minutes, only 31-30 in Purdue's favor at the half. But Penn State dominated the final period, 43-30, jumping ahead early and not really allowing Purdue to mount a serious comeback threat the rest of the game. The Boilers were forced to send Penn State to the line often in the final minute, where the Lady Lions drove the nail home to seal victory.

No matter what happens in the semifinal tomorrow, Penn State is now virtually assured a NCAA berth. With lowly Illinois probably not strong enough to repeat another big upset, Michigan is the Penn State's likely opponent in the next round.

Update: Well, turns out Illinois is hotter than anyone thought, as the Illini beat Michigan today. So Go State, Beat Illini!

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