University Park, PA – Maggie Lucas scored a game-high 24 points as No. 9 Penn State put together a couple of big runs in the second half to down Northwestern, 73-69, in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Mia Nickson added a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Lady Lions (11-2, 1-0 Big Ten), who won their fifth straight game despite shooting just 29.9 percent from the floor in the contest.
Karly Roser paced Northwestern (8-6, 0-1) with 16 points and Kendall Hackney followed with 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Wildcats fell for the second time in three games.
Northwestern shot 44.6 percent in the game, but also turned the ball over 28 times, resulting in 27 points for Penn State.
Northwestern scored the first six points of the game and maintained that lead throughout the first half en route to a 38-32 advantage at the break.
But the Lady Lions opened the second half with a 16-7 run to go on top, 48-45, following Ariel Edwards' layup with just over 11 minutes left in the game.
Penn State held a one-possession lead until Alex Cohen later capped a 9-0 spurt with a shot from beyond the arc to give the Wildcats a 60-54 edge with 4:47 remaining.
The Lady Lions, however, responded with a 14-5 run to take a 68-65 advantage with less than a minute left in the game. After Lauren Douglas missed a triple on Northwestern's ensuing possession, Alex Bentley converted on a pair of foul shots for a five-point lead with 36 seconds left.
The Wildcats would get no closer than two from there as Penn State was able to close out the game at the foul line.