Baton Rouge, LA – Maggie Lucas scored 23 points and Alex seeded Penn State Lady Lions to a 77 win over the 13th-seeded Texas-El Paso Miners in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Pete Maravich Center.
Zhauqe Gray had 15 points and Nikki Greene scored 12 points and was a rebound short of a double-double for Penn State (25-6) which will take on either fifth-seeded LSU or 12th-seeded San Diego State in the second round.
Gloria Brown had a double-double off the bench with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Kayla Thornton had a double-double of her own with 15 points and 12 rebounds for UTEP (29-4). Jenzel Nash had 13 points and Kelli Willingham chipped in 10 as well for the Miners who had 10 different players score.
The first half was tight and the game was deadlocked 39-39 at the half after UTEP connected on 16-of-31 shots from the floor with Penn State hitting on 14-of-37 and outscoring the Miners 15-9 from three point range.
Penn State led 48-45 five minutes into the second half but then rattled off an 11-0 run to take its largest lead of the game, 59-45 with 12:46 remaining. The Miners never got much closer as they shot just 33.3 percent in the second half.
Penn State forced 17 turnovers which the Lady Lions converted into 22 points. UTEP's bench outscored it's counterpart 47-10.