When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Devaney Center, Lincoln
Radio: 93.3 FM KFFF
PENN STATE (23-4, 13-2)
C Nikki Greene, 6-4, Sr., 8.7
F Mia Nickson, 6-2, Sr., 8.7
G Dara Taylor, 5-8, Jr., 7.2
G Alex Bentley, 5-7, Sr., 14.0
G Maggie Lucas, 5-10, Jr., 20.0
NEBRASKA (22-6, 12-3)
F Hailie Sample, 6-1, So., 4.8
F Emily Cady, 6-2, So., 9.3
F Jordan Hooper, 6-2, Jr., 18.1
G Lindsey Moore, 5-9, Sr., 14.7
G Rachel Theriot, 6-0, Fr., 6.1
Scouting PSU: Experienced, talented and more than a little bit ruthless, the Nittany Lions play with swagger, speed and toughness. Because, athletically, PSU has the best roster in the Big Ten, it wants to hurry up its opponents, play as many possessions as possible and eventually let its superior talent win out. This strategy does not work against the top five or so teams nationally, nor does it work when referees call nearly 50 fouls, as they did in Penn State’s 89-81 loss at Minnesota on Thursday. But, generally speaking, it does, as Penn State leads the league in points per game with 73.9. Bentley makes Penn State tick because of her defense — she leads the Big Ten with 3.7 steals per game — and her ability to get to the hoop. Once defenses have to respect her, that frees up Lucas, a skilled 3-pointer gunner. Greene and Nickson stay in the paint and clean up misses. Outside of Lucas, who’s pretty consistent, Penn State can be a cold shooting team. All four of the team’s losses came on the road.
Scouting NU: The Huskers are red-hot, having won 10 straight games. Defense and rebounding have been the keys, but Penn State can match Nebraska in those areas and then some. So Nebraska has to be efficient on offense, protect itself from turnovers and have its bench players hit 3-pointers when they’re open. Unless Jordan Hooper’s entirely in a zone, getting in a running match with the Lions is probably a losing proposition, so coach Connie Yori has to find a happy medium between quick tempo and tentative play. If officials call fouls early, Nebraska has to attack the basket and draw more. When challenged, Penn State can get physical, and frustrated.
Opening tips: Sunday’s game is Senior Night, and Lindsey Moore and Meghin Williams will be honored afterward on the Devaney Center floor. It’s also the Huskers’ final game at Devaney, since it’s presumed that Nebraska’s easily locked up an NCAA tournament bid.