Maggie Lucas buried her face in a towel on the bench as her day, her NCAA tournament and her college career came to a disappointing end. Stanford's swarming defense simply shut down the Big Ten's best player.
Lucas went scoreless in the second half of third-seeded Penn State's 82-57 loss to No. 2 seed Stanford on the Cardinal's home floor Sunday, and finished with just six points in the regional semifinals.
"This was really hard, when you're at this point in your career," Lucas said. "Certainly we didn't want to go out the way we did, but I am proud of the team and what we accomplished this year -- a lot of people didn't expect us to do what we did."
Ariel Edwards scored 22 points and Dara Taylor 11 for the Lady Lions (24-8), who matched Stanford's physical play early but couldn't sustain it and hurt themselves with 15 turnovers.
"Maggie Lucas hasn't had six points since third grade," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "She can flat-out score."
Chiney Ogwumike had 29 points and 15 rebounds and Mikaela Ruef produced a career performance on both ends for Stanford. The Cardinal (32-3) built a big first-half lead and rolled against the Lady Lions to move into Tuesday night's regional final against No. 4 seed North Carolina.
Ruef recovered from getting poked in the eye early to contribute 11 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. She was cheered at every chance by the raucous home crowd at Maples Pavilion. Amber Orrange added 18 points in Stanford's ninth consecutive NCAA tournament home win.
It hardly mattered that Hall of Famer VanDerveer spent a day each of the past two summers at her New York home providing tips to Penn State coach Coquese Washington.
The Cardinal figured they more than earned their home-court comforts, having traveled all the way to Iowa as a surprised No. 2 seed for a couple of 19-point NCAA victories and then home to the Bay Area -- rather than getting to play in West locales of Los Angeles or Seattle.
Stanford is unbeaten at home this season and also in the NCAA tournament at Maples since a second-round shocker by Florida State in 2007. The Cardinal have won 29 of 33 tournament games on campus overall.
Speedy Stanford freshman Lili Thompson pressured Big Ten Conference player of the year Lucas, who shot 3 for 14 and missed all five of her 3-point tries. She went 0 for 6 from the floor in the second half.
"I don't think she was necessarily frustrated," said teammate Talia East, who had 10 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. "I think it was jitters. We all were a little bit jittery."
Frustrated Penn State fans chanted "Neutral site! Neutral site!" in the game's closing minutes.
"I'm not in favor of it," Washington said of playing on Stanford's home floor. "It's an extremely difficult task to ask. I'm glad the NCAA has gone back to neutral sites in the regional next year moving forward. I think that's important for our game."
More Stanford Region
■ North Carolina 65, South Carolina 58: Freshman Diamond DeShields scored 19 points, leading No. 4 seed North Carolina (27-9) one win closer to the Final Four by beating top-seeded South Carolina (29-5) for the second time this season in the other regional semifinal.
■ Louisville 73, LSU 47: Shoni Schimmel scored 19 points, Tia Gibbs added five 3-pointers and third-seeded Louisville (33-4) rolled seventh-seeded LSU (21-13) to reach the regional final.
■ Maryland 73, Tennessee 62: Alyssa Thomas scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as fourth-seeded Maryland upset No. 1 seed Tennessee (29-6) in the other regional semifinal. Former Hopewell standout Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 10 points for the Terrapins (27-6).