All season, Penn State has made a living by coming back late to win games. Monday night, it was DePaul that pulled the heroics in the second round of the NCAA Tournament as the Blue Demons came back from a double-digit deficit to defeat the Lady Lions 75-73 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State led comfortably throughout the game and held off several DePaul charges to maintain a lead late into the second half. After the Blue Demons tied the game late, though, Alex Bentley was whistled for a foul and Keisha Hampton sank two free throws to give DePaul the lead with 4.9 seconds remaining. Penn State inbounded to Bentley, but she was immediately pressed in the back court and forced to give up the ball to senior Julia Trogele who missed on a 3/4 court heave as time expired, ending the Lady Lions' campaign in the round of 32.
Bentley racked up a team-high 21 points in the game and Nikki Greene posted a solid night of 12 points and six rebounds. In her final game wearing the blue and white, Trogele finished with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman star Maggie Lucas had a rough night with only seven points on 1-11 shooting including 0-6 from the 3-point line.
Hampton finished as Depaul's big scorer, posting a game high 26 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Felicia Chester had 16 points and two rebounds. Anna Martin added 10 points and five boards.
Penn State outshot DePaul 47.5%-39.1%, however, the Lady Lions were outrebounded 40-38 including 22-14 on the offensive boards and turned the ball over a frustrating 17 times.
DePaul advances to take on second-seeded Duke in the Sweet 16 next weekend. The winner will likely meet Connecticut for a spot in the Final Four.
It was a disappointing end to a solid season for the Lady Lions. Most doubted Penn State would be a player this season but Coquese Washington led the team to within a few seconds of the Sweet 16. With everyone but Trogele returning next season, expect this team to be very dangerous in the Big Ten and possibly contend with some of the best in the nation.