Penn State Women's Basketball 2012 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Penn State Lady Lions
Big Ten (24-6, 13-3)

Penn State does not usually dominate the competition with huge margins of victory, but they have done a superb job winning close games. The Lady Lions ended up winning the Big Ten by knocking off Purdue and Ohio State towards the end of the season. This is a team that can beat some very good competition, but they can also make some more serious noise in March if the matchups work in their favor.

Big Wins: 11/20 at South Carolina (55-50), 2/16 at Purdue (74-63), 2/20 Ohio State (84-66)
Bad Losses: 12/3 at Texas Tech (66-70), 12/30 Nebraska (63-71), 1/7 Michigan State (65-75)
Coach: Coquese Washington (4 seasons at Penn State)

Why They Can Surprise:
Penn State has a superstar in Maggie Lucas. She is a superb outside shooter who averages nearly 20 points per game. Lucas will do a lot of the scoring and take all of the clutch shots, but backcourt mate Alex Bentley has had a fine junior season. Bentley, the Lady Lion’s point guard, averaged 14.2 points and 4.8 assists per game. Just as importantly, Bentley is a shutdown defender and seems to be good for a few steals every game. Add Zhaque Gray to that talented backcourt and few teams in the Big Ten or the nation can match the pure talent of the Penn State perimeter.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The frontcourt has a few weapons, most notably 6-4 junior Nikki Greene. Greene is a superb rebounder and a decent scorer at times. She does not have a lot of great post moves, but her size allows her to be a big scoring threat against smaller teams. When Greene is scoring in the paint, Lucas is even more dangerous than usual. However, when Greene runs into a bigger and stronger center, she can be neutralized. Mia Nickson, Talia East, Ariel Edwards and Marisa Wolfe are all 6-2 or 6-3, but if Greene is having trouble scoring, so will they. The Lady Lions will work through the frontcourt when they can, yet a lot of pressure is put on Lucas and Bentley if the post players cannot score.

Probable Starters:
Alex Bentley, Junior, Guard, 14.2 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.1 spg
Maggie Lucas, Sophomore, Guard, 19.1 ppg, 2.8 apg, 4.7 rpg
Zhaque Gray, Senior, Guard, 10.6 ppg, 1.8 apg
Mia Nickson, Junior, Forward, 7.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg
Nikki Greene, Junior, Center, 10.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.4 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Talia East, Sophomore, Forward, 3.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Ariel Edwards, Sophomore, Forward, 6.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Gizelle Studevent, Junior, Guard, 2.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg
Marisa Wolfe, Junior, Forward, 3.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.7 (9th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.2 (140, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (19, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 34.3 (15, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.6 (172, 8)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.8 (10, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.5 (62, 7)
Rebound Margin: 4.3 (60, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.4 (109, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.7 (34, 3)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
Penn State    2011    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Dayton
Penn State    2011    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to DePaul
Penn State    2010    NIT        Round of 64 loss to Hofstra
Penn State    2005    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Liberty
Penn State    2004    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Hampton
Penn State    2004    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Virginia Tech
Penn State    2004    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Notre Dame
Penn State    2004    NCAA    Regional Final loss to Connecticut
Penn State    2003    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Holy Cross
Penn State    2003    NCAA    Round of 32 win over South Carolina
Penn State    2003    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Tennessee

*all team stats through 3/1

See All Women’s Basketball Postseason Capsules