7-3, 3-3 Away

Maggie Lucas pours in career-high 39 as Penn State rocks Georgetown

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The odds weren't good for Maggie Lucas on the break against two backpedaling Georgetown Hoyas before one defender tripped and Penn State's prolific shooting guard stopped suddenly in the lane to create space for an easy jumper.

Whether wide open from the corner for 3s or creating havoc in transition, Lucas was a problem all day for Georgetown in the 10th-ranked Lady Lions' easy 97-74 victory Sunday.

Lucas set a career high and Jordan Center scoring record with 39 points, backcourt mate Alex Bentley added 23 and Penn State's potent transition game throttled the Hoyas early. Lucas had 26 alone in a first half in which Penn State (7-2) led by as much as 34.

"I'm always like, 'More Maggie,' especially when she's hot," Bentley said. "The girl can shoot. I'm so happy when she gets night like these."

Lucas was 11 of 21 from the field including 7 of 13 from 3-point territory. Five 3s came in the first half, shattering the Georgetown zone.

Sugar Rodgers scored 24 for Georgetown (7-3), which had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Hoyas shot only 31 percent (23 of 72) on the afternoon.

"When you play a team like that, we can't let their go-to players get away," Hoyas coach Keith Brown said. "Any time you're a defensive team and giving up 95 points, you're not supposed to win."

It took just three minutes for Penn State to take control after Lucas hit an open 3 from the left corner to start a 10-0 run. The Lady Lions then converted steals on three straight Georgetown possessions, culminating Bentley's easy layup for an 18-9 lead with 14:47 left in the first half.

The rout was on.

"I just tried to get into some passing lanes and get at the ball hard," said Lucas, who had six turnovers and six steals. Dara Taylor and Ariel Edwards did an effective job in containing Rodgers, who had come into the game averaging 24.2 points, to 10 points on 4 of 10 shooting in the first half.

Penn State ran on nearly every opportunity, with center Nikki Greene (13 rebounds) helping Penn State control the glass, and Lucas and Bentley deftly handling the ball on the break.

Bentley zipped a cross-court pass in transition to Taylor for a layup with 8:42 left of the first half to build the lead to 21. Lucas couldn't be stopped even when she was outnumbered -- making the sudden stop in the lane to lose two defenders for the short jumper and a 44-17 lead with 5 minutes in the half.

But it was Lucas' long-range shooting that really hurt Georgetown.

"They did a great job penetrating and kicking to her," Brown said. "We left one of the best shooters in the country open."

It was just the type of easy victory Penn State needed to regain confidence after a 67-52 loss in its previous game last week at undefeated No. 2 Connecticut. Penn State shot 30 of 62 (48 percent) from the field and 29 of 35 (82 percent) from the foul line, and outrebounded Georgetown 49-37.

Rodgers was Georgetown's only consistent scorer, but was just 8-of-22 shooting in the Sunday matinee. Sydney Wilson added 11 points and eight rebounds.

Rodgers had 14 points in a second half in which the Hoyas never got the deficit to less than 20. The senior guard became the first Georgetown women's player to eclipse 2,000 career points after scoring 30 in last week's 61-48 win over Monmouth.

But Sunday belonged to Lucas, who eclipsed her previous career-high of 33 with 16 minutes still to go in the contest. The energetic junior worked her way for open shots from one of her favorite spots in the left corner and buried 3s with defenders in her face at the wings.

Penn State coach Coquese Washington's insertion of Taylor into the starting lineup three games ago to inject more speed in a three-guard look with Lucas and Bentley seems to be paying off as well. On Sunday, it allowed Bentley and Taylor to handle the bulk of the ball-handling against Georgetown's press early and freed Lucas up for good looks.

"I thought the first half, that was the team and the way I was looking for us to play, with that level of energy," Washington said. "Our speed turned into opportunities in transition."

Taylor finished with seven points, five rebounds and five assists with six turnovers. Bentley was 8-of-14 shooting, including two jumpers that beat the shot clock.