The Lady Lions finished the regular season losers of three of their last five games, but thanks to their 79-64 win against 11th-seeded Illinois in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday night, none of it is going to matter. Penn State is going back to the title game for the first time since 2004 on Sunday.
Hot-shooting Maggie Lucas led the team in scoring with 23 points on 7-14 shooting overall and 5-9 from 3-point territory. Senior Julia Trogele finished with 20 points to go with nine rebounds and Alex Bentley rounded out the Lady Lions' double figure scoring with 11 points and three assists.
Penn State staked itself to a double-digit lead in the first half. The Fighting Illini roared back to close the gap to two by halftime, however, and even took the lead early in the second half before the Lady Lions earned it back for good moments later and pushed it to a comfortable margin by the end of the game.
The team will face the winner of Ohio State and Michigan State for the championship tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 P.M. on the ESPN2, which is about when Penn State vs. Minnesota should be wrapping up on the Big Ten Network. Big day of hoops ahead, Penn State fans.
Stay tuned to BSD for more on Penn State's opponent when it becomes known later tonight.
Update: The Lady Lions will face Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis' Ohio State team in the final. Penn State split the two regular season games with the Buckeyes, winning 80-71 at the Bryce Jordan Center on Jan. 30 and falling 89-67 in Columbus Feb. 17.