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    NU Edged by No. 9 Penn State, 73-69, in B1G Opener

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Sophomore forward Alex Cohen played key minutes off the bench for NU, with nine points and seven rebounds.

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Sophomore forward Alex Cohen played key minutes off the bench for NU, with nine points and seven rebounds.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Jan. 3, 2013

    Final Stats

    NU vs. PSU Box Score Get Acrobat Reader

    Site: University Park, Pa. (Bryce Jordan Center)
    Score: No. 9 Penn State – 73, Northwestern 69
    Records: NU (8-6 overall, 0-1 Big Ten), Penn State (11-2, 1-0 Big Ten)
    Next NU Event: Sunday, Jan. 6 – at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), 1 p.m. CT

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Northwestern hung tough with No. 9 Penn State in its Big Ten opener, but a late Nittany Lion run gave them the 73-69 victory Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.

    The Wildcats played without two of their starters for a majority of the second half as senior forward Kendall Hackney and senior forward/center Dannielle Diamant both fouled out early in the second. Sophomore guard Karly Roser tied her career high for the second time in as many games, scoring 16 points. Hackney registered a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Diamant finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

    Sophomore forward Alex Cohen logged key minutes off the bench, scoring nine points and adding seven rebounds while senior forward Kate Popovec also chipped in nine points.

    Northwestern jumped out to a 6-0 lead, taking advantage of cold shooting by the Nittany Lions, who started 0-for-7 before hitting their first shot nearly four minutes into the game. All six of NU’s points to start the game came in the paint as PSU’s 6-foot-4 starting center Nikki Greene was whistled for two fouls early on.

    The Wildcats lead for the entire first half, leading by as many as eight (13-5) and again by seven (23-16) following a 3-pointer by Hackney with 7:24 left in the frame. The Nittany Lions remained cold from the field, but kept things close with 10 first-half steals. A 3-pointer by PSU’s Maggie Lucas put PSU within one point (30-31), but back-to-back buckets by the Wildcats gave them a five-point cushion with just over two minutes left in the half. NU stayed on top and took the 38-32 lead into halftime.

    The Wildcats shot 51.7 percent from the field (15-of-29) in the first half while Penn State was just 9-of-33 for 27.3 percent. Hackney already had a double-double in the first frame, with an NU-leading 12 points (4-of-6, 2-of-3 from 3-point range) and 10 rebounds.

    Lucas, who is second in the Big Ten in scoring averaging 20.9 points per game , did most of the damage for PSU in the opening stanza with 15 points, all coming from 3-point range.

    NU then played without one of its starters for most of the second half as Diamant was whistled four her fourth foul less than two minutes into the frame (18:26). The Wildcats continued to maintain their lead, going ahead by seven (44-37) following a coast-to-coast layup by Roser.

    Penn State started to chip away at the lead, going on an 8-1 run to tie things up at 45-45 with 12:49 left. The Nittany Lions then took their first lead of the game with 11:43 to play as Lucas went 1-of-2 from the line, giving them the 46-45 edge.

    Northwestern stayed close, never trailing by more than three points in the ensuing minutes. Hackney was whistled for her fifth foul, attempting to grab an offensive rebound with 8:30 left, leaving the game with 12 points and 11 rebounds, one off her career high.

    Despite the loss of Hackney, and Diamant back in the game with four fouls, NU continued to stay close and was down just one point with 7:50 to play after Cohen drained two free throws, putting the score at 52-51.

    Diamant then fouled out of the game with 6:54 left and Mia Nickson converted two free throws, giving the Lions another three-point cushion at 54-51 with 6:56 left.

    The Wildcats kept battling and found themselves back on top with 5:41 to play. A Roser steal lead to two free throws at the other end, putting NU ahead 55-54 and Cohen then added an insurance bucket. She extended the lead even further, banking a long-range 3-pointer from the top of the key with the shot clock expiring, stretching NU’s lead to six (60-54).

    PSU once again went on a run, outscoring NU 12-5 to re-take the lead (66-65 PSU) with 1:26 remaining and hung on for the 73-69 victory.

    Northwestern finished at a 44.6 percent clip from the field while limiting Penn State to just 29.9 percent. NU had the 50-36 advantage on rebounds.

    Lucas led all scorers with 24 points and had five of PSU’s six 3-pointers.

    Northwestern continues Big Ten action on the road, playing at Indiana on Sunday. Tip is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT in Bloomington, Ind.

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