Penn State women clinch Big Ten regular-season title
Nebraska's Lindsey Moore is guarded by Penn State's Mia Nickson, right, in the second half of the Lady Lions' Big Ten regular-season title-clinching win.
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Penn State wanted the Big Ten Conference championship all to itself, and the Lady Lions played like it.
Maggie Lucas scored 34 points to lead the seventh-ranked Lady Lions to an 82-67 victory Sunday against No. 20 Nebraska, clinching consecutive conference championships and ending the host Cornhuskers' 10-game win streak.
"It's important to us. We didn't want to share it," Lucas said.
Lucas made a career-high eight 3-pointers, with four of them coming in a bunch to help the Lady Lions stretch their lead in the first half and three more keeping the Huskers at bay early in the second.
Penn State (24-4, 14-2) improved to 6-1 against ranked opponents and secured its best conference record since 2003-04.
The Huskers (22-7, 12-4) were playing their final game at the Devaney Center, their home for 37 seasons.
Penn State and Nebraska go into the Big Ten tournament this week as the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, and if things go right for the Lady Lions there, they will be in line for a lofty seeding for the NCAA tournament.
"If they keep doing what they're doing, they're capable of being an Elite Eigh-t or Final Four-type of team," Nebraska coach Connie Yori said.
Alex Bentley scored 13 points and Mia Nickson and Nikki Greene 10 apiece for Penn State. Lucas added nine rebounds.
Penn State shot 69.2 percent in the second half and 52.5 percent for the game.
Lindsey Moore led the Huskers with 23 points, and Emily Cady added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Lucas, Division I's active career leader in 3-point percentage, hit four 3s while scoring 14 points in an 18-7 spurt that put the Lady Lions up 24-15.
Moore, the Huskers' star point guard, hit a couple of early 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first half. She finished 9 for 11 from the field but committed eight turnovers.
Jordan Hooper got the Huskers within 40-37 with a three-point play, but they could get no closer.
Penn State couldn't pull away until Nebraska went into a scoring drought that lasted almost five minutes.
"When they needed a bucket, they got it. When we needed one, we couldn't get it," Moore said.
First Published March 4, 2013 12:00 am