- Associated Press - Saturday, March 1, 2014

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Michigan had only lost once on the road this season.

With a share of the Big Ten title on the line and the last regular season home game for the Penn State seniors, the Lady Lions weren’t about to let the Wolverines road success continue.

Ariel Edwards scored 21 points on Senior Day at Penn State and her three senior teammates - Maggie Lucas, Talia East and Dara Taylor - followed with 17, 16 and 11 points, respectively, for a 77-62 victory and a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship for the third straight year.

Shannon Smith scored 21 points for Michigan (17-12, 8-8) while Madison Ristovski added 14 on 4 for 6 3-point shooting and Siera Thompson chipped in with 10 more.

The Wolverines led 16-14 early in the opening half but were unable to keep Penn State from pulling away after the Lady Lions took a 17-16 lead with 12 minutes left before break.

Penn State (22-6, 13-3) was able to attack the rim for layups and short-range jumpers and took just four 3-point shots, making three of them. Penn State can win the title outright on Sunday only if Nebraska loses to Purdue and Michigan State falls to Indiana.

“It was pretty even and back-and-forth in the first half in the first eight or nine minutes and they went on a stretch where they were scoring and also shooting one-and-one at that point,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said.

“That hurt us. Talia East did a great job of scoring and getting the ball inside as well. When we were able to contain Lucas at times, they had other people step up.”

Penn State closed the half with a 10-4 run to build a 40-31 lead; the Lady Lions’ balance was the key, Barnes Arico said.

“That makes it incredibly tough,” she said. “That separates the really great teams from the average ones. Everybody comes in to Penn State wanting to shut down Maggie Lucas, and if you have other players making plays that makes a difference.”

Cyesha Goree and Val Driscoll each had six rebounds for Michigan and despite a narrow 31-30 rebounding edge for Penn State, the Wolverines were done in by a nearly 54-percent shooting day by Penn State.

“We have a young freshman (Siera Thompson was 4 for 15) on our team who leads our team in 3-point shooting who wasn’t making many shots tonight,” Barnes Arico said.

“I think we were hesitant. I thought we had looks and we passed them up. They played the zone and tried to really pack it in and take away our inside and our penetrations, and they did a really good job of it.”

Penn State’s senior-class foursome has won 99 games for Penn State thus far in their careers, and this marks the fourth straight season the Lady Lions have won more than 20 games.

“This is pretty unbelievable,” Penn State’s Lucas said. “I don’t think too many people believed we could do this. We worked so hard for this. I’m just so happy for the four of us.”

Penn State’s post-game celebration was an on-court shower of blue-and-white confetti.

“It doesn’t get old,” Penn State’s Taylor said. “You can win one, you can win 10. It feels great every time.”

Penn State coach Coquese Washington, who won her 140th game in her seven-year career at Penn State, said this year’s conference title brought added meaning.

“They had a tough path this year, probably the hardest of the three championships because it was such a new team,” Washington said.

“This program has such a storied legacy. To be able to do something (win three straight titles) this program hasn’t done, it’s pretty hard. It’s really cool for this team to have that in their hat.”



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