HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Alex Bentley scored 20 points, Maggie Lucas added 18, and No. 8 Penn State beat Ohio State, 76-66, Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament Sears Centre Arena.
The top-seeded Lady Lions (25-4) had their difficulties in this one after earning a first-round bye and back-to-back regular-season titles with a 14-2 conference record. But they went on a big run early in the second half to break a tie and earn a spot in the semifinals today against Michigan or Michigan State.
Bentley was 8 of 13 from the field. Lucas, the Big Ten Conference player of the year, hit three 3-pointers.
Nikki Greene scored 17, and the Lady Lions shook off a slow start to shoot just over 49 percent in the game.
Tayler Hill scored 23 for Ohio State (18-13) and became the fifth Buckeyes player to hit the 2,000-point mark. She has 2,015 in her career, but it was a tough game overall, even though she tried to inject some suspense as the game wound down.
Hill hit back-to-back 3-pointers and added a free throw after being fouled on another attempt from long range, pulling the Buckeyes within 73-66 with 42 seconds left. But she was just 7 of 21 from the field after scoring 25 in the first round against Minnesota.
Amber Stokes had 18 points and five steals. Ashley Adams added 13 points and eight rebounds, but the ninth-seeded Buckeyes came up short after winning seven of their previous nine games.
With an experienced and talented backcourt led by Bentley and Lucas and the depth to play just about any style, Penn State believes it has the makeup for a long postseason run. Winning the conference tournament would be a significant step. That's something the Lady Lions haven't done since 1996.
They came in as the second seed two years ago and lost to Ohio State in the final, and a year ago, Penn State earned the top seed, only to fall to fourth-seeded Purdue in the semifinals.
• Nebraska 76, Iowa 61: Jordan Hooper scored 24 points to lead No. 21 Nebraska to a victory against Iowa. Lindsey Moore had 13 points and six assists, and Emily Cady had eight rebounds and six assists for the Huskers (23-7), the second seed in the tournament. Hooper also grabbed seven rebounds to help Nebraska take a 44-30 advantage on the boards. The Huskers shot 46 percent from the field while the Hawkeyes shot 38 percent. Theairra Taylor scored 22 points to lead Iowa (20-12). Melissa Dixon scored 18 points for the Hawkeyes. Rachel Theriot's 3-pointer just before halftime gave Nebraska a 34-24 lead, and the Huskers led by as many as 27 points in the second half.
• Purdue 74, Wisconsin 62: KK Houser scored 15 points as Purdue defeated Wisconsin. Drey Mingo added 13 points and Sam Ostarello had nine points and 11 rebounds for the third-seeded Boilermakers (22-8). Wisconsin scored the first seven points of the second half to take its biggest lead, 43-35, with 18 minutes to play. But Purdue scored the next eight to tie it, and went ahead to stay at 48-47 midway through the half. Jacki Gulczynski led the 11th-seeded Badgers (12-19) with 21 points. Tessa Cichy had 14 points and six rebounds and Tiera Stephen scored 10 points for Wisconsin. The Badgers, who made all 21 of their free-throw tries in their first-round victory Thursday against Illinois, made 13 of 14 against Purdue.