Hampton 42

(17-13, 14-4 MEAC)

Penn State 79

(26-5, 15-1 Big Ten)

    2:30 PM ET, March 21, 2004

    Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Virginia

    1 2 T
    HAMP 14 2842
    PSU 47 3279

    Top Performers

    Hampton: L. Sullivan 8 Pts, 5 Reb

    Penn State: K. Mazzante 21 Pts, 2 Reb

    Penn State cruises in opener over Hampton

    BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Penn State lived up to its top billing and had its way with Hampton.

    The No. 1 seed in the NCAA East Regional moved on to the second round with an easy 79-42 victory on Sunday.

    The Lady Lions (26-5) will have to work a little harder on Tuesday night when they take on eighth-seeded Virginia Tech on its home floor, but guard Jess Strom said she and her teammates welcome the challenge.

    Virginia Tech (23-7) beat Iowa 89-76 in the early game Sunday.

    "We've played a lot of tough teams from the Big Ten on their home court, so I think we'll be ready," Strom said.

    Penn State's 15-1 conference record suggests she might be right.

    Penn State was trying to shake off a loss to Purdue in the Big Ten tournament championship, and got started right away. The Lady Lions ran off 22 points in the first half to open a 29-6 lead.

    "I think it was a combination of defense and us attacking on offense," said Kelly Mazzante, who led the Lady Lions with 18 points in 26 minutes. "We understood that this game was all about us."

    The Lady Pirates (17-13), meanwhile, were 0-for-6 from the field in their 8{-minutes of misery with 10 turnovers. They trailed 47-14 by halftime and met the same fate as in their first two NCAA tournament appearances: a 116-45 loss to Connecticut in 2000 and a 90-46 loss to Texas a year ago.

    Still, coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs praised her team for playing hard to the end and said she doesn't feel like her program has a long way to go before expecting to put up a better fight against basketball's best.

    "I think what they did today, they didn't give up an they kept fighting and I'm absolutely so proud of them," Cage-Bibbs said of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament champions.

    "To get from 16 to 1, that's a long way to go," she said.

    Mazzante, the Big Ten's career scoring leader, had plenty of help from the Lady Lions as coach Rene Portland used 10 players and all scored. Tanisha Wright added 16 points and 10 rebounds and Strom scored 14.

    Lynetta Sullivan led Hampton with eight points, but on 3-for-12 shooting, and Kiesha Beard had seven, missing 12 of her 15 shots.

    The Lady Pirates shot 16-for-60 (26.7 percent).

    Portland gave her players five days off after the Big Ten tournament, and they didn't return to practice until Tuesday. They also worked out Wednesday and Thursday in State College, Pa., before traveling here.

    With their seeding viewed as a nice reward for their season, they were eager to get back on the court and show they deserved it, Mazzante said.

    "We were eager to get out there and perform," she said. "It was a good example of how good we are, but we can show that we're a lot better."

    Penn State, playing as a No. 1 seed for the third time in its history, has advanced to the regional semifinals the past two years, and Portland said she's not crazy about the system that finds the Lady Lions on the home court of a lower seed, but isn't fussing.

    "We have been on both sides of it," she said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 42 79
    FG Made-Attempted 16-53 (.302) 25-50 (.500)
    3P Made-Attempted 1-11 (.091) 7-17 (.412)
    FT Made-Attempted 9-11 (.818) 22-26 (.846)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 12 (0/0)

    Game Leaders

    PointsL. Sullivan 8K. Mazzante 21
    ReboundsL. Sullivan 5T. Wright 10


    » Mar 21, 2004 @PSU 79, HAMP 42Recap | Box Score