The Big Ten's top two teams traded nudges and defensive stands in a chippy game before the host No. 8 Lady Lions raced away for a 69-61 victory to reclaim sole possession of first place in the conference.
Maggie Lucas scored 17 points, Alex Bentley added 13 and host Penn State clamped down defensively in finishing the final 6:39 with a 12-6 run to hold off the 13th-ranked Boilermakers.
"Alex makes a pretty big jumper late in the shot clock, Maggie comes down and knocks a huge pull-up jumper and then our defense was able to make them take tough shots in the last minutes," coach Coquese Washington said.
After five consecutive wins in Happy Valley, Purdue missed out on its only chance to beat Penn State (18-3, 8-1) in the regular season this year.
Maybe Purdue (18-4, 7-2) will get another shot at the Lions in the Big Ten tournament.
"I knew it was going to be a great basketball game tonight," Boilermakers coach Sharon Versyp said. "The key to this game was at the end. They made shots and we didn't."
The Lady Lions rebounded nicely from a 63-61 upset loss on the road last week to Wisconsin.
"To come off that last loss and come into this game prepared and ready to execute, it was a big win for us," Lucas said. "We've got to keep it at that level and keep improving."
• West Virginia 60, Texas 58: Deniz Kilicli and Jabarie Hinds scored 14 points apiece to lead host West Virginia past Texas. West Virginia (11-11, 4-5 Big 12) swept the season series and sent the Longhorns (10-12, 2-7) to their seventh loss in nine games. Freshman Eron Harris added 13 points for West Virginia.
• St. Francis 67, Robert Morris 63: Robert Morris (5-16, 4-6 NEC) battled St. Francis (8-13, 5-5) into double overtime, but in the end the host Terriers secured the victory in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Colonials junior Artemis Spanou had her fourth 20-rebound game of the year as she finished with 18 points.