Jasmine Thomas remained calm when Michigan State charged into the lead. She had the same relaxed expression when Penn State rallied, and she remained composed as she dribbled out the final seconds of an impressive victory.
Thanks to Thomas' presence and a stout defense, the Spartans upset the eighth-ranked Lady Lions, 54-46, in the Big Ten tournament semifinals Saturday at Sears Centre Arena.
"It's a 40-minute game and Penn State is the type of team that can get going instantly," said Thomas, who scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half. "There's no time to celebrate, you've got to stay in the game, stay in the moment."
Maggie Lucas finished with 23 points and nine rebounds for Penn State (25-5), and Becca Mills added 16 points for Michigan State (24-7).
• More Big Ten: Sam Ostarello scored 18 points as Purdue (23-8) beat No. 21 Nebraska (23-8), 77-64, in a semifinal.
• SEC: DeNesha Stallworth had 18 points to help seventh-ranked Kentucky (27-4) past No. 12 Georgia (25-6), 60-38, in a semifinal. ... Courtney Walker had 18 points to lead Texas A&M (23-9) past Tennessee (24-7) in the other semifinal.
• Atlantic Coast Conference: Haley Peters had 17 points to help sixth-ranked Duke (29-2) beat No. 23 Florida State (22-9), 72-66, in a semifinal. ... Latifah Coleman scored 17 points as No. 15 North Carolina (28-5) beat No. 10 Maryland (24-7), 72-65, in the other semifinal.
• Big East Conference: Andrea Smith had 17 points to lift South Florida (21-9) to a 42-39 win against Rutgers (15-14) in the second round. ... Shenneika Smith had 16 points to lead fifth-seeded St. John's (18-11) to a 51-45 win against Seton Hall (11-20). ... Anna Martin had 24 points to help seventh-seeded DePaul (21-10) beat Marquette (16-15), 77-69. ... Laura Sweeney scored 17 points and sixth-seeded Villanova (21-9) beat Georgetown (15-16), 89-58.
• Atlantic Sun Conference: Sasha Sims scored 15 points to help Stetson (24-8) rally for an NCAA tournament berth with a 70-64 win against Florida Gulf Coast (27-6) in the championship.
• Ohio Valley Conference: Rickiesha Bryant scored the first five points of overtime, and Tennessee Martin (19-14) beat Tennessee Tech (19-12), 87-80, for the title and an NCAA tournament spot.