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The Journal Gazette

  • Penn State guard Alex Bentley (20) shoots against Michigan guard Kate Thompson (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Monday, January 21, 2013 8:43 pm

No. 8 Penn State tops No. 23 Michigan 59-49


Maggie Lucas scored 19 points and Alex Bentley added 16, and No. 8 Penn State took over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with a 59-49 victory over No. 23 Michigan on Monday night.

The Lady Lions (15-2, 5-0 Big Ten) and Wolverines (15-3, 4-1) were the only teams in the league without a conference loss. Michigan kept it close before Penn State went on a late 12-0 run.

Rachel Sheffer had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolverines, who went 6 of 26 from 3-point range.

The loss snapped Michigan's 10-game winning streak, which equaled a school record. The Lady Lions have won nine straight.

Penn State led 47-46 before holding Michigan scoreless for over 6 minutes.

The Lady Lions played much of the second half without 6-foot-4 Nikki Greene, who was in foul trouble. But the Wolverines, who entered shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc on the season, couldn't take advantage.

Mia Nickson scored twice on moves inside during Penn State's decisive run, and when Bentley connected from the perimeter it was 55-46. The Lady Lions stayed aggressive on defense even as fouls mounted, forcing turnovers and keeping Michigan from finding a rhythm from 3-point range.

Penn State had barely been challenged recently in Big Ten play, beating Michigan State by 21 points, Nebraska by 22 and Wisconsin by 44 before Monday's game in Ann Arbor. The Lady Lions started impressively in this one too, going on an early 15-0 run capped by Dara Taylor's driving three-point play that made it 17-8.

Michigan pulled back within a point, but Penn State closed the half on an 8-1 run and led 32-24.

Michigan scored the first eight points of the second half, a run that began 29 seconds in when Greene picked up her third foul and left the game. Greene was called for a flagrant foul when she caught Sheffer around the neck and jaw with her left elbow.

After tying the game at 32, Michigan took a 35-34 lead on a 3-pointer by Kate Thompson. Greene came back in the game and gave the Lady Lions a boost, but only briefly. She was called for her fourth foul and then left the game with 12:17 to play and Penn State up 40-35.

Even with Greene out, the Wolverines never did take the lead again. Lucas hit a 3-pointer off a nifty crossover move to put Penn State ahead 43-37.