Scores

Final

(9) Penn State 76

(12-2, 2-0 Big Ten)

Michigan State 55

(13-2, 1-1 Big Ten)

    2:15 PM ET, January 6, 2013

    Jack Breslin Student Events Center, East Lansing, Michigan

    1 2 T
    #9PSU 34 4276
    MSU 25 3055

    Top Performers

    Penn State: D. Taylor 18 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

    Michigan State: B. Mills 17 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Nikki Greene's 10 boards power No. 9 Penn State

    Associated Press

    EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Nikki Greene wasn't worried about Penn State's offense against Michigan State's second-ranked scoring defense.

    When the Nittany Lions scored nearly as many points in the second half as the Spartans had been allowing in entire games, her team's focus on defense made perfect sense.

    Green had 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 76-55 Nittany Lions win Sunday. The backcourt of Dara Taylor, Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas also produced 43 points for No. 9 Penn State (12-2, 2-0 Big Ten).

    "To be successful on the levels we want to be successful, we can't rely on outscoring people," Nittany Lions coach Coquese Washington said. "We have to be able to play both ends of the floor."

    Greene did exactly that, going 6 for 9 from the field and disrupting the Spartans' offense with hard hedges away from the basket. Meanwhile, Taylor was 7 for 10 in scoring a game-high 18 points.

    "We weren't really worried about offense, just about limiting their shots," Greene said. "And what Dara did was awesome. She showed her ability to score and play defense. We definitely took advantage of that."

    Becca Mills had 17 points, including three 3-point baskets, for Michigan State (13-2, 1-1), which hadn't allowed more than 60 points all season. Jasmine Hines added 12 points.

    "It was a lot of little things today," Mills said. "Our fight wasn't there as much, and that showed."

    So did Penn State's balance. It shot 51.8 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from long range, converting its chances inside and outside. Taylor was 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.

    "You've got to give them credit," Spartans coach Suzy Merchant said. "Dara Taylor hadn't been a good scorer, shooting 20 percent from the 3. But she came in here and knocked it down today."

    The Nittany Lions dominated on defense, too, blocking seven shots and holding Michigan State to 29.3 percent accuracy from the field and 22.2 percent success from deep, showing the Spartans how their opponents had felt all season.

    Penn State grabbed a 6-0 lead in the first 1:14, then blew open a two-point game with 11 straight points to go up 26-13. The Nittany Lions shot 46.2 percent from the field, 50 pecent from 3-point range and 100 percent at the line in a 34-25 first half.

    Michigan State had held its last 11 opponents to 20.5 percent accuracy from long range and 22.2 points less than its season scoring average. It did a good job on Lucas, as the nation's top 3-point shooter was 0 for 3 from the field and held to just six free throws in the first half.

    But the Spartans shot just 34.8 percent in that span and committed 12 turnovers. If not for Mills' 12 points, the halftime margin might have doubled. Instead, only the final difference did.

    "The biggest thing we wanted to do today was establish ourselves inside," Washington said. "I thought early in the game with Mia Nickson and Nikki, we were able to do that. In some of the games in the past, we haven't had enough balance between guards and posts."

    Lucas, who finished with 12 points, nine below her average, picked up her third foul in the opening seconds of the second half. But she delivered a baseline drive and a free throw for a 40-27 advantage. Two putbacks and a foul shot by Greene plus a layup by Nickson made it 47-29 and gave Penn State four players with nine points.

    The lead grew to 23 with another 10-3 spurt midway through the second half and reached 26 in the final minutes, as the Nittany Lions snapped a four-game series losing streak.

    "I think our conference is one of the toughest, if not the toughest, in the nation top-to-bottom," Washington said. "Every game is a battle. Michigan State is a really good defensive team. So to be able to come in here and have the success we had today, I'm really thrilled about that."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    PSU
    MSU
    Points 76 55
    FG Made-Attempted 29-56 (.518) 17-58 (.293)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-12 (.583) 4-18 (.222)
    FT Made-Attempted 11-16 (.688) 17-26 (.654)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 26 0

    Game Leaders

     
    PSU
    MSU
    PointsD. Taylor 18B. Mills 17
    ReboundsN. Greene 10K. Bell 9
    AssistsD. Taylor 4K. Bell 3
    StealsD. Taylor 3J. Thomas 1
    BlocksT. Waldner 2B. Mills 1

    2012-13 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Jan 6, 2013 PSU 76, @MSU 55Recap | Box Score
    Feb 10, 2013 @PSU 71, MSU 56Recap | Box Score
    Mar 9, 2013 MSU 54, @PSU 46Recap | Box Score