Posted January 30, 2013 on AP on Fox
One of the tallest players on No. 7 Penn State's roster is one of the most soft-spoken members of the team. Six-foot-4 center Nikki Greene has taken her aggression out in the paint, scrambling for rebounds and maneuvering down low in the post. She's been the perfect complement for prolific shooting guard Maggie Lucas and playmaker Alex Bentley during the Lady Lions' best stretch of basketball during a season in which they have their best record in nearly two decades. ''When she's playing the way she is, you have to account for her,'' coach Coquese Washington said before practice Wednesday. ''It just gives us more weapons when she's playing that way, and gives everybody else a lot of confidence.'' Penn State (17-2, 7-0) has its best record since going 22-2 to start the 1993-94 season. Winners of 11 straight, the Lady Lions have also won a school-record 14 Big Ten straight games dating back to last season. Opposing defenses are well aware of Lucas and Bentley, two of the best players in the country. Now, Greene gives foes yet another blue-and-white headache just in time for conference play. The senior has had six straight games of double-digit rebounds, and an already potent offense gets a lift when she's scoring inside. The quandary: How much attention do defenses pay to Greene at the risk of not double-teaming Lucas (20.0 points), or losing track of Bentley (13.1 points) and her mid-range jumper? Wisconsin (9-11, 1-6) gets that predicament on Thursday night in Madison. ''If she's clogging up the paint, she's going to get a double team, and with an inside-out game, it works great with all our shooters,'' said junior Dara Taylor, the third member of Penn State's powerful three-guard lineup. But it's on defense where the Lady Lions have especially left their mark this year. Penn State steamrolled over most of the nonconference schedule, with Lucas, Bentley and Taylor spearheading the team's suffocating defensive play from the backcourt. Having shot-blocking threats in Greene and 6-foot-5 backup center Tori Waldner doesn't hurt, either. ''It allows us to be more aggressive on the ball and put more pressure on passing lanes because we know that (Greene) is going to be in there cleaning up for us,'' Taylor said. Just don't expect Greene to be very vocal. She doesn't necessarily need to be either with verbose personalities like Lucas, Bentley and Mia Nickson. But Greene has been more assertive. ''Nikki is a kid where the more comfortable she is, the more aggressive she can be,'' Washington said. ''It's all coming together for her, and she's really confident and aggressive on the floor.'' That's never been a problem for Lucas. The long-range shooting threat has constantly had to make adjustments over her career as defenses, especially in the Big Ten, get more physical and to try to throw her off rhythm. Midway through conference play, Lucas said she's trying to get more aggressive to get open on the wing, running plays as if she's posting up. Then again, she's seen this defensive chess match before. ''It just gets amplified a little bit each year,'' she said. ''I'm almost in a comfort zone right now.'' Just like rest of the streaking Lady Lions. ''It's cool. I'm happy for the girls that they they've had that experience,'' Washington said of the lengthy winning streak. ''But it doesn't look like it's that important because there's so much basketball left.'' ---- Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Penn State at Iowa Recap

Final: Penn State 67 – Iowa 76 Penn State is now 8-13 (0-9 in the Big Ten) after losing on the road tonight at 14-7 Iowa. This was a game full of mini-runs that would eventually be answered by bigger Iowa runs. Penn State started the game on fire, getting out to a 10-3 lead, then…

Wisconsin Women upset No. 7 Penn State, 63-61, in dramatic fashion

It's safe to say this season hasn't been easy on the Wisconsin women's basketball team, but all of that changed a bit on Thursday night as the Badgers (10-11, 2-6 B1G) earned their biggest victory of the Bobbie Kelsey era, taking down No. 7 Penn State, 63-61 on the strength of a last second rebound and put back by Tiera Stephen and a career high 33 points from guard Morgan...

Wisconsin 63, No. 7 Penn St. 61

Morgan Paige scored a career-high 33 points to lead Wisconsin to a 63-61 upset over seventh-ranked Penn State on Thursday night. Tiera Stephens scored the game-winner on a putback with 5 seconds left to end the Nittany Lions' 12-game winning streak. Stephens scored five points and had 11 rebounds and Jacki Gulczynski added 16 for Wisconsin (10-11, 2-6 Big Ten). The victory...

Special Offer for Penn State Fans

Get a one-month subscription to FightOnState.com, receive a second month AND the 2013 Football Recruiting Yearbook free. Treat yourself or the Nittany Lion fans in your life to the best PSU site and community.

AOL Sporting News article exploits Jerry Sandusky for page views

AOL's Sporting News syndicated an article today that was originally posted over at the Sports Business Journal covering Penn State's Division I hockey team and how they're drawing a ton of interest around the state of Pennsylvania. On the surface the story is a nice read, but when you examine the URL for the article at Sporting News things become a bit fuzzy.  ...

Chambers on Iowa Loss

Penn State Coach Pat Chambers met with the media Thursday after his team's 76-67 loss at Iowa. See what he had to say in this post-game video of his press conference.

Penn State at Iowa Preview

Penn State Nittany Lions (8-12, 0-8 in the Big Ten) at Iowa Hawkeyes (13-7, 2-5 in the Big Ten) When: Thursday, January 31st, at 8:00 PM Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa TV: ESPNU Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers is 0-12 in Big Ten road games so far in two seasons with Penn State, and will…

Good Counsel O-Lineman Hoping for Terps offer

Maryland, Pitt, and Penn State are in Madaras' Top 3.

Pancoast to Play it Safe at PSU

Two-way Pennsylvania high school standout is running on for the Nittany Lions, where he'll be a defensive back.

Lions Catch Another Garrity

The son of the wide receiver who made "The Catch" is running on to the Penn State football team. See what went into the younger Garrity's decision.

Hawks Dump PSU

Iowa picked up a much-needed win Thursday night against visiting Penn State. HI was in the house and has interviews, the game story and the box score right here.

Geiger Counting the Days

The run-on athlete from the Harrisburg area can't wait to get to Penn State to start chasing his dream. He believes he can make an early impact on special teams.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.