#9 Penn State Women's Basketball 2012-2013 Preview

Penn State Lady Lions

Overall Rank: #9
Conference Rank: #1 Big Ten
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Not since the 2003-04 season had a Penn State women’s basketball team been atop the Big Ten at the end of the season. Eight years later, the Nittany Lions climbed the mountain and planted the flag, winning 13 of their 16 conference games on the way to a very successful season. The good news is almost everyone from that squad returns for another year, meaning Penn State may be able to repeat the success of a year ago on the way to another NCAA tournament appearance.

2011-12 record: 26-7, 13-3
2011-12 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Coquese Washington
Coach Record: 92-67 overall

The two things every basketball team likes to see up front are scoring and rebounding. Penn State returns 86 percent of its scoring and 93 percent of its rebounding from a year ago, and part of the reason why is Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas. The two are among 25 players on the “Wade Watch” list for the State Farm Wade Trophy, and Bentley succeeds in scoring and assisting others while Lucas likes taking the long shot. With Nikki Greene back to block on defense, Penn State has both ends of the court covered nicely. Bentley will get a little extra help now that former Maryland standout Dara Taylor is eligible. Taylor set the Maryland freshman assists record in 2009-10.

There isn’t much to talk about in terms of weaknesses. With four starters back and nine letter winners returning to the 2012-13 roster, the Nittany Lions are loaded for bear. About the only thing Penn State lacks is a roster full of freshmen and sophomore backups, but when your freshman is a 6-foot-6 center (Candice Agee) you really can’t even nitpick that.

Final Projection:
This looks like it could be Penn State’s year to make some noise, not only in the Big Ten but also nationally. Penn State lost 77-59 to Connecticut in the NCAA regional semifinals, and the Huskies are on the schedule this year as a non-conference game. There are a few tough tests in the non-conference slate but the Big Ten will be fun to watch once again. Penn State should have little trouble eclipsing 20 wins for the third year in a row.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Alex Bentley, Senior, Guard, 14.7 points, Big Ten Preseason Co-Player of the Year
Ariel Edwards, Junior, Guard/Forward, 7.0 Points, 4.3 rebounds
Mia Nickson, Senior, Forward, 8.7 points, 2012 AP Honorable Mention All-America
Maggie Lucas, Sophomore, Guard, 19.5 points, fifth on team blocks list (176)
Nikki Greene, Senior, Center, 9.8 points, 7.8 rebounds

Madness 2013 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#12 Alex Bentley

Madness 2012 Women's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#23 Candice Agee