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Penn State holds on against Minnesota

Maggie Lucas scored 26 points to go with six rebounds and the No. 8 Penn State Lady Lions held off the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 64-59, on Thursday at Bryce Jordan Center.

Lucas scored 15 in the second half and converted four clutch free throws at the end to help Penn State (16-2, 6-0 Big Ten) preserve its 10th straight victory and remain undefeated in conference play.

Alex Bentley was the only other scorer in double-figures for Penn State, scoring 12 points. Nikki Greene contributed nine points and 13 rebounds in the win.

The Gophers (13-7, 2-4) were led by Rachel Banham's 19 points, but she missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 13 seconds left in the game. Micaella Riche followed with 12 points in Minnesota's third consecutive defeat.

Leah Cotton's 3-point play with 1:20 to go in the first half gave the Gophers a slight 29-28 edge, but Bentley added a score for Penn State before Greene split a pair from the line to send the Lady Lions into halftime with a two- point lead.

The game remained a one-possession contest for the next 14 minutes until Penn State finally created some separation.

After Dara Taylor hit 1-of-2 from the line, Greene and Bentley each made baskets to give the Lady Lions a 52-47 lead.

Minnesota clawed within a point five times over the final five minutes, but was never able to take the lead.

Twice the Gophers had a chance to take the lead late after misses by Bentley and Lucas, but both offensive possessions for Minnesota ended in Banham turnovers. She had five of the Gophers' 23 turnovers for the night.

After Lucas then made a pair from the line to stake Penn State to a 62-59 edge, Banham misfired on a game-tying triple. Lucas then converted two more from the charity stripe to seal the victory.