HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) — Maggie Lucas and Penn State used the Big Ten's most potent offense to win the conference title for the second straight season.
Lucas showed up on Saturday, but the rest of the offense was gone.
The eighth-ranked Lady Lions shot 22 percent in a 54-46 loss to Michigan State in the semifinals of the conference tournament.
"We didn't shoot the ball well at all," coach Coquese Washington said. "They shot the ball much better than we did. We had too many stretches where we got pretty decent looks that didn't go down."
Lucas, the conference player of the year, had 23 points and nine rebounds, but none of her teammates scored in double figures.
"They played good defense," said Alex Bentley, who was 3 for 15 from the field. "They tried to stop us from getting in the lane. They forced us to go into the baseline. We just couldn't get our offense going."
Jasmine Thomas scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half and Becca Mills added 16 points for Michigan State (24-7), which will play Purdue in the Sunday's title game. Jasmine Hines had 14 rebounds, helping the Spartans to a 52-38 edge on the glass.
Michigan State allowed just 51.4 points per game during the regular season, tops in the Big Ten. It was the lowest scoring total and shooting percentage this year for Penn State, which rolled to two convincing victories over the Spartans this season.
"We rely on our defense," Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said, "so to see our defense come to fruition tonight, I'm very, very proud of them and feel good about the win."
Penn State (25-5) won the regular-season championship and lost in the tournament semifinals for the second straight year. The Lady Lions fell 68-66 against eventual champion Purdue in 2012.
"You look at this game, it's an anomaly," Washington said. "It might be the worst shooting game we've had all season. And again, credit Michigan State, but this isn't who we are."
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