Updated at: 12/09/2012 1:36 PM
By GENARO C. ARMAS
(AP) STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Maggie Lucas scored a career-high 39 points and ignited No. 10 Penn State’s potent transition game in a 97-74 rout Sunday of sloppy Georgetown.
Lucas, the Lady Lions’ prolific shooting guard, was 11 of 21 from the field including 7 of 13 from 3-point territory. She had 26 alone in a first half in which Penn State (7-2) led by as much as 34.
Sugar Rodgers scored 22 for Georgetown (7-3), which had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Hoyas shot only 31 percent on the afternoon.
It took just three minutes for Penn State to take control after Lucas hit an open 3 from the left corner to start a 10-0 run. The Lady Lions then converted steals on three straight Georgetown possessions, culminating in Alex Bentley’s easy layup for an 18-9 lead with 14:47 left in the first half.
Bentley finished with 23 points.
Penn State ran on nearly every opportunity, with center Nikki Greene (13 rebounds) helping Penn State control the glass, and Lucas and Bentley deftly handling the ball on the break.
Bentley zipped a cross-court pass in transition to Dara Taylor for a layup with 8:42 left of the first half to build the lead to 21. Lucas couldn’t be stopped even when she was outnumbered _ making a sudden stop in the lane to lose two defenders for a short jumper and a 44-17 lead with 5 minutes in the half.
The surprisingly easy victory gave Penn State a confidence boost after a 67-52 loss in its previous game last week at undefeated No. 2 Connecticut.
Rodgers was Georgetown’s only consistent scorer, but was just 8-of-22 shooting in the Sunday matinee. Sydney Wilson added 11 points and eight rebounds.
Rodgers had 14 points in a second half in which the Hoyas never got the deficit to less than 20. The senior guard became the first Georgetown women’s player to eclipse 2,000 career points after scoring 30 in last week’s 61-48 win over Monmouth.
But Sunday belonged to Lucas, who eclipsed her previous career-high of 33 with 16 minutes still to go in the contest. The energetic junior worked her way for open shots from one of her favorite spots in the left corner and buried 3s with defenders in her face at the wings.
Coach Coquese Washington’s insertion of Dara Taylor into the starting lineup three games ago to boost team speed in a three-guard look with Lucas and Bentley seems to paying off as well. On Sunday, it allowed Bentley and Taylor to handle the bulk of the ball-handling against Georgetown’s press and freed Lucas up for good looks.
Taylor finished with seven points, five rebounds and five assists. Bentley was 8-of-14 shooting, including two jumpers that beat the shot clock.
Penn State shot 30 of 62 (48 percent) from the field and 29 of 35 (82 percent) from the foul line, and outrebounded Georgetown 49-37.
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(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)