Nov. 16, 2012
The Lafayette women’s basketball team tries to bounce back from a 73-34 loss to Villanova on Wednesday, traveling to No. 9 Penn State on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Bryce Jordan Center. The Leopards (1-2) and Nittany Lions (2-0) will meet for the first time in their histories.
LEOPARDS’ LAST TIME OUT
Facing its second Big East foe in as many weeks, the Lafayette women’s basketball team ran into a sharpshooting Villanova squad, falling to the Wildcats inside Kirby Sports Center on Wednesday evening, 73-34.
Junior co-captain Danielle Fiacco followed up her consecutive double-doubles and Patriot League Player of the Week award with a seven-point, five-rebound performance. The Leopards shot 26.2% from the field, going 14-for-53. Comparatively, Villanova shot 49.1% on 27-of-55 shooting, making 10-of-20 three-point attempts.
SCOUTING THE NITTANY LIONS
The ninth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions come into Sunday’s contest at 2-0, taking care of Howard and No. 16/13 Texas A&M so far this season. The win over Texas A&M was the first non-conference loss at home for the Aggies since 2003.
The Nittany Lions are led by junior guard Maggie Lucas, averaging 21.5 points per game. Lucas dropped 18 points on the Aggies this past Wednesday. Senior guard Alex Bentley and classmate forward Mia Nickson also average in double-figures at 17.1 and 10.0 points per contest, respectively.Nickson also snags 10.5 rebounds per game, averaging a double-double in her first two games of the season.
ROAMING THE SIDELINE
Lafayette head coach Dianne Nolan enters today’s matchup with a career record of 537-459 and a 20-43 mark in her third year at Lafayette. On the other side, Penn State head coach Coquese Washington is in her sixth season at State College. Washington holds an overall mark of 92-67 and was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2011-12.
BIG TEN, BIG CHALLENGE
Sunday’s game will mark the first time Lafayette has matched up with Penn State in its history and the first of two Big Ten opponents it will face this season, traveling to Ohio State on Dec. 9. These two contests will be just the third and fourth times Lafayette has faced Big Ten teams, the other two coming against Indiana, whom it split with in 1989 and 1990.
The Leopards’ schedule features two preseason top-25 and NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago. Most notably, Penn State is ranked No. 9 in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Top 25. Additionally, Ohio State sits 20th in the Associated Press Top 25 and 21st in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
BREAKING THE TREND
In addition to never having beaten a nationally-ranked team in its history, Lafayette has another trend that it would break with a win on Sunday. Penn State has not lost a non-conference home game since Dec. 21, 2010 when Drexel came into Bryce Jordan Center and upset the Nittany Lions, 84-73. The Leopards’ last non-conference road win came on Dec. 21, 2011 when they took down St. Francis (N.Y.) in Brooklyn Height, N.Y., 46-33.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
The Leopards meet three opponents for the first time in school history this season. In the season opener, Lafayette defeated the Loyola Chicago Ramblers, 62-51. The Leopards travel to University Park, Pa. Sunday to take on No. 9 Penn State and make their longest trek of the season to match up with the No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes on Dec. 9.