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No. 8 Penn State women lose in Big Ten semifinals

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm •  Published: March 9, 2013
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Penn State led 21-17 early in the second half before the Spartans responded with a 15-3 run. Mills made a 3-pointer before Courtney Schiffauer converted a layup to give Michigan State its first lead of the game. Mills tacked on two more jumpers and Thomas' basket made it 32-24 with 10:54 remaining.

The Lady Lions then turned to Lucas, who made consecutive 3-pointers to trim Michigan State's lead to one. Penn State had a couple of chances to move in front, but Bentley missed a jumper and Mia Nickson was off on a layup attempt.

That provided an opening for the Spartans, who put the game away with a 10-0 burst. Thomas' layup made it 44-33 with 4:08 left, leading to a celebration on Michigan State's sideline and a timeout by Penn State.

"You can't look past it. You can't look past a loss," Bentley said. "We take what we learned from this game and we learn from it and we get better and we use that to move forward."

Penn State got off to a fast start then struggled to score in an ugly first half that featured more turnovers (14) than field goals (11).

Tori Waldner converted a layup with 12:41 to go to give the Lady Lions a 16-5 lead — but that was their last basket of the period.

Penn State staggered into the break with a 19-17 lead despite shooting 20 percent (6 for 30) and losing 28-21 in the rebounding battle. That's because Michigan State was even worse, shooting 18.5 percent (5 for 27) and committing nine turnovers.

Led by Thomas, the Spartans eventually calmed down and shot 60 percent (15 for 25) in the second half for their first victory against a top-10 team this season.

"It's a 40-minute game and Penn State is the type of team that can get going instantly," Thomas said. "There's no time to celebrate, you've got to stay in the game, stay in the moment."

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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap