LSU 71, No. 8 Penn St. 66
Penn State coach Coquese Washington spent an entire season
preaching defense, and it helped the Lady Lions win even on nights
when shots weren’t falling.
That is, until the final minutes of their second-round NCAA
tournament game against LSU.
Adrienne Webb scored a career-high 29 points, including a
pivotal 3-pointer with 3 minutes left, Bianca Lutley added a clutch
basket in the final 40 seconds, and LSU upset third-seeded Penn
State 71-66 on Tuesday night.
”We’ve held teams scoreless the last five, six, seven, eight
minutes of a game, and we didn’t do that tonight,” Washington
said. ”When they needed a basket, they got a basket. So
defensively I felt we could have been a little bit better.”
Nikki Greene had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Alex Bentley
scored 14 for Penn State (26-6), whose loss meant all four No. 3
seeds were out of the tournament.
Bentley’s night started strong but ended with a miss in the
final minutes that could have given the Lady Lions the lead.
”They just came out in the second half with a little bit more
firepower and a little bit more determination,” said Penn State
forward Mia Nickson. ”It’s really tough. We worked really hard to
get here. … It’s going to be hard to swallow.”
Penn State’s Maggie Lucas, the Lady Lions’ leading scorer all
season and the Big Ten player of the year, shot 2 of 10 and
finished with nine points, missing a 3-pointer and jumper in the
tight final minutes.
”She got good looks. She didn’t knock them down, so that’s
basketball,” Washington said. ”That’s the way it goes some
Webb was 10 of 16 in what would have been her last game had No.
6 seed LSU (22-11) lost. Instead, she carried LSU to the Spokane
Regional semifinal on a night when the Lady Tigers had only seven
”Adrienne Webb is one of hardest-working players I’ve ever
coached,” LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said. ”Her competitive spirit
on the defensive end allowed her to really have the attitude you
have to have when you face a player like Lucas.”
”Her mental toughness is something she has fostered throughout
the offseason,” Caldwell added. ”So she’s been training for this
type of game, this type of environment, this type of
Lutley overcame foul trouble and scored 18 points, including a
tough floater in traffic in the final minute to give LSU the lead
and added another key free throw to make it a four-point game with
8.3 seconds to go.
LSU next meets second-seeded California on Saturday.
The Lady Tigers opened the tournament with only eight healthy
players, but reserve junior guard Jeanne Kenney’s concussion in
LSU’s first-round victory sidelined her against the Lady Lions.
Kenney, an emotional leader for the Lady Tigers, was told to stay
home, Caldwell said, in an effort not to aggravate any of her
The Lady Tigers hoped to avoid having key players in foul
trouble, but that’s what happened. Lutley, a 5-11 starting forward,
was called for her fourth foul with 11:51 left. Then 6-foot-4
reserve center Derreyal Youngblood was called for her fourth with
6:01 to go.
That limited both players aggressiveness in defending and
rebounding, and Penn State appeared ready to pull away when Green
scored three times inside, Taylor hit a layup with Lutley backing
away during an 8-0 run that gave the Lady Lions a 60-55 lead.
But Lutley responded with a 3, and LSU regained the lead, at
63-62, on Webb’s 3 with 3:04 to go.
Ariel Edwards, who had 13 points for Penn State, drove past both
Lutley and Youngblood for a layup, then hit a pull-up jumper with
54 seconds left that put Penn State in the lead for the final time
at 66-65. But Lutley then dribbled into traffic in the lane and
rolled in a shot to restore LSU’s lead.
The contributions by Webb and Lutley were particularly important
on a night when 6-foot-5 Theresa Plaisance, an All-Southeastern
Conference forward, shot 3 of 14 and finished with eight
”They’ve been a team all season that played through adversity.
… They kind of used that as fuel, and certainly it happened
tonight,” Washington said of LSU. ”They had some added emotion,
along with the home crowd.”
As happens sometimes in women’s basketball, Penn State had to
play on the road as the higher seed because first-round sites had
been pre-determined. Last season, they overcame that to beat LSU in
Baton Rouge in the second round, but not this time.
Now LSU is in the regional semifinals for the first time since
2008, while Penn State failed to get as far as it did last season
despite appearing to have a deeper and more experienced team.
”It’s a tournament. People lose. Upsets happen,” Washington
said. ”That’s part of the tournament.”