WCBK

Greene, Nittany Lions scripting storybook season

Share This Story

   
 

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP)

One of the tallest players on No. 7 Penn State's roster is one of the most soft-spoken members of the team.

Six-foot-4 center Nikki Greene has taken her aggression out in the paint, scrambling for rebounds and maneuvering down low in the post.

She's been the perfect complement for prolific shooting guard Maggie Lucas and playmaker Alex Bentley during the Lady Lions' best stretch of basketball during a season in which they have their best record in nearly two decades.

''When she's playing the way she is, you have to account for her,'' coach Coquese Washington said before practice Wednesday. ''It just gives us more weapons when she's playing that way, and gives everybody else a lot of confidence.''

Penn State (17-2, 7-0) has its best record since going 22-2 to start the 1993-94 season. Winners of 11 straight, the Lady Lions have also won a school-record 14 Big Ten straight games dating back to last season.

Opposing defenses are well aware of Lucas and Bentley, two of the best players in the country.

Now, Greene gives foes yet another blue-and-white headache just in time for conference play. The senior has had six straight games of double-digit rebounds, and an already potent offense gets a lift when she's scoring inside.

The quandary: How much attention do defenses pay to Greene at the risk of not double-teaming Lucas (20.0 points), or losing track of Bentley (13.1 points) and her mid-range jumper? Wisconsin (9-11, 1-6) gets that predicament on Thursday night in Madison.

''If she's clogging up the paint, she's going to get a double team, and with an inside-out game, it works great with all our shooters,'' said junior Dara Taylor, the third member of Penn State's powerful three-guard lineup.

But it's on defense where the Lady Lions have especially left their mark this year.

Penn State steamrolled over most of the nonconference schedule, with Lucas, Bentley and Taylor spearheading the team's suffocating defensive play from the backcourt.

Having shot-blocking threats in Greene and 6-foot-5 backup center Tori Waldner doesn't hurt, either.

''It allows us to be more aggressive on the ball and put more pressure on passing lanes because we know that (Greene) is going to be in there cleaning up for us,'' Taylor said.

Just don't expect Greene to be very vocal. She doesn't necessarily need to be either with verbose personalities like Lucas, Bentley and Mia Nickson.

But Greene has been more assertive.

''Nikki is a kid where the more comfortable she is, the more aggressive she can be,'' Washington said. ''It's all coming together for her, and she's really confident and aggressive on the floor.''

That's never been a problem for Lucas. The long-range shooting threat has constantly had to make adjustments over her career as defenses, especially in the Big Ten, get more physical and to try to throw her off rhythm.

Midway through conference play, Lucas said she's trying to get more aggressive to get open on the wing, running plays as if she's posting up.

Then again, she's seen this defensive chess match before.

''It just gets amplified a little bit each year,'' she said. ''I'm almost in a comfort zone right now.''

Just like rest of the streaking Lady Lions.

''It's cool. I'm happy for the girls that they they've had that experience,'' Washington said of the lengthy winning streak. ''But it doesn't look like it's that important because there's so much basketball left.''

----

Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


FOX SPORTS Videos

Why is LeSean McCoy practicing blindfolded? Posted: Aug 12, 2014
Donovan McNabb and Mike Garafolo talk Eagles RB 'Shady' McCoy.

Could Richie Incognito get another NFL job? Posted: Aug 12, 2014
Donovan McNabb and Mike Garafolo talk Richie Incognito.

Byron Scott: No Laker Can Beat Me In Horse - @TheBuzzeronFOX Posted: Aug 12, 2014
The Lakers new coach is still pretty confident in his shot. Kobe Bryant might ha...

WCBK Headlines

  • Power Ranking

  • Power Ranking

  • Power Ranking

  • Power Ranking

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Zephyr Florida Gators White DH Fitted Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/21914/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_21000/DS_21914_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Zephyr Florida Gators White DH Fitted Hat
    Zephyr Florida Gators Royal Blue DH Fitted Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/50646/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_50000/DS_50646_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Zephyr Florida Gators Royal Blue DH Fitted Hat
    Ohio State Buckeyes Scrub Top - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/60808/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_60000/FF_60808_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Ohio State Buckeyes Scrub Top - Gray
    Nike Texas Longhorns #7 Burnt Orange Replica Football Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Texas_Longhorns/browse/featuredproduct/62039/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_62000/FF_62039_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 Nike Texas Longhorns #7 Burnt Orange Replica Football Jersey
    Ohio State Buckeyes Scarlet Scrub Top --- http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/67086/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_67000/FF_67086_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Ohio State Buckeyes Scarlet Scrub Top ---
    Michigan Wolverines Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_Wolverines/browse/featuredproduct/70367/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70367_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Michigan Wolverines Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Florida State Seminoles Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_State_Seminoles/browse/featuredproduct/70625/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70625_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Florida State Seminoles Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Texas Longhorns Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Texas_Longhorns/browse/featuredproduct/70626/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70626_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Texas Longhorns Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Kentucky Wildcats Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Kentucky_Wildcats/browse/featuredproduct/70627/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70627_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Kentucky Wildcats Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Ohio State Buckeyes Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/70628/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70628_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Ohio State Buckeyes Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt