No. 8 Penn St. 84, Wisconsin 40

Nikki Greene’s performance Thursday night prompted only three
postgame words from teammate Alex Bentley.

”She’s a beast,” Bentley said after Green scored a season-high
23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead No. 8 Penn State to an
84-40 rout of Wisconsin.

It was Greene’s third double-double of the season.

”They were guarding Alex (Bentley) and Maggie (Lucas) pretty
tough and I took advantage of what their defense gave me and I just
scored,” Greene said.

Bentley added 14 points, Lucas had 11 and Ariel Edwards 10 for
the Nittany Lions (14-2, 4-0 Big Ten), who won their eighth
straight game overall and third in a row by at least 20 points. It
was Penn State’s first conference victory of 40 or more points
since the 2000-01 season.

Morgan Paige scored 14 points and Jacki Gulczynski had 10 for
Wisconsin (8-10, 0-5), which lost its sixth consecutive game.

”When you can string some wins together, you certainly start to
build a little bit of confidence,” said Penn State coach Coquese
Washington.

Penn State was able to make the most of a size advantage under
the basket, scoring 52 points in the paint compared to 10 by the
Badgers.

”When Nikki can play big minutes, she can put up big numbers
for us and that opens things up for other people,” said
Washington. ”Nikki’s incredibly talented.”

Relentless defensive pressure enabled the Nittany Lions to
outrebound Wisconsin 55-31 and Penn State scored 29 points off 24
Wisconsin turnovers.

”Our foundation and defensive principles have to be solid,”
Washington said. ”We did a good job of really attacking the ball,
especially on the defensive end.”

The Nittany Lions also had a distinct depth advantage. Wisconsin
began the season with 14 players but is down to nine after senior
Taylor Wurtz (back) and sophomore AnnMarie Brown (knee) underwent
the team’s most recent season-ending surgeries.

Wisconsin coach Bobbie Kelsey also noted that starting center
Cassie Rochel, who had four points and six rebounds, was battling a
stomach illness.