March 2, 2007
INDIANAPOLIS - Senior Amanda Brown grabbed a tournament record 18 rebounds and scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half to lift fifth-seeded Penn State past fourth-seeded Illinois, 61-49, in the 2007 Big Ten Tournament on Friday.
With the win, the Nittany Lions (15-15, 8-8 Big Ten) advance to Sunday's second semifinal against three-time conference and defending tournament champion Ohio State.
The 18 rebounds raised the single-game standard and marked a career-best for Brown. Three other Nittany Lions - Brianne O'Rourke, Kamela Gissendanner and Tyra Grant - all scored in double figures.
For the Illini (18-11, 7-9 Big Ten), Rebecca Harris came off the bench to score a team-leading eight points. Lacey Simpson grabbed 11 rebounds and six points, while four others had six a piece.
The Illini had their chances to cut down Penn State's lead, but 23.3 percent shooting in the second half doomed Illinois.
The Nittany Lions quickly built an 11-0 run to start the game, holding Illinois scoreless for the first five minutes. Erin Wigley nailed a jumper to finally put the Illini on the
board at 15:05 in the first half.
Kamela Gissendanner, who scored all of her 13 points in the first half, led the Nittany
Lions to a 12-point lead midway through the first stanza, but the Illini weren't done yet. They chipped away at the deficit before Chelsea Gordon swiped the ball from Brown with eight seconds left in the half. Gordon sprinted down the court and nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull the Illini within four at the break.
Unfortunately for Gordon and the Illini, that was as close as they would come. Another Gordon steal off Brown helped the Illini pull within four again with four minutes left, but Brown took over in the final minutes, scoring four points and snaggin three rebounds to seal the Penn State victory.