No. 6 Penn St. 80, Detroit 72

Detroit used a junk defense to try and confuse Penn State. It
worked for a bit before Maggie Lucas and the sixth-ranked Lady
Lions finally got going.

Lucas scored 23 of her 28 points in the second half and Ariel
Edwards scored 19 of her career-high 24 points in the first half to
help the Lady Lions hold off the pesky Titans 80-72 on Friday at
the Cal State Northridge tournament.

Lucas scored six points in the second half’s first five minutes
then hit some late shots to seal the victory, including a 3-pointer
with 1:31 to play.

Detroit employed a triangle-and-two defense trying to contain
Lucas and Alex Bentley, who take ”75 percent of their shots,”
said Audrey Matteson.

Detroit coach Autumn Rademacher said the Titans’ plan was to
shut down those two and dare anyone else to beat them.

”We wanted to hang around and we couldn’t let those two beat
us,” Rademacher said, ”so let’s lock those two down and see if
the rest can carry their No. 6 ranking.”

Edwards answered the challenge early. While Detroit focused on
Bentley and Lucas, Edwards found herself with more than enough
space to take midrange jumpers.

”I never played a game when I was that wide open,” she said.
”I have struggled with my jump shot, so it was exciting for it to
click.”

Edwards said she had been coming to practice an hour earlier
each day to take extra jumpers and work on her follow-through. Lady
Lions coach Coquese Washington said it’s not the number of extra
shots that has helped; it’s the sheer repetition.

”Our kids got a little more comfortable at figuring out the
triangle-and-two,” Washington said.

It proved necessary because Edwards was the sole Lady Lion who
had success from the field in the first half. Through the first 10
minutes, the Lady Lions missed all six layups and made just one of
their first six 3-pointers. Edwards scored 11 of her team’s first
17 points.

Lucas broke the Titan defense by getting out in transition
because, she said, ”it wasn’t going to be there for me in the
halfcourt game. ”… Any new experience, you have to learn from
it.”

Edwards and Lucas were the only two Lady Lions to make outside
shots with any regularity.They combined to shoot 19 of 30 from the
field. The rest of the team was 11 of 42, which helped Detroit hold
a 46-31 rebounding advantage. But the Titans also committed 25
turnovers, compared to just 10 for Penn State (4-0).

Matteson scored a career-best 20 points, Shareta Brown scored 16
points with 15 rebounds, and Demeisha Fambro scored a season-best
17 points for Detroit (2-2).

”Terrible defense,” Washington said. ”We’ve got to do a
better job all over: containing the ball, rebounding the ball. We
certainly got to get better, and we will.”