By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Sunday marked a cause for celebration at the Bryce Jordan Center, as over 500 breast cancer survivors and their families were honored at halftime as part of Penn State's annual Play4Kay Pink Zone game.
It wasn't quite a storybook ending on the court, as the Lady Lions fell, 89-64, to the No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes, but the experience was still something to appreciate for the Lady Lions in their final regular season game.
"It was really cool to be in this atmosphere," sophomore Jaida Travascio-Green said. "Last season, I didn't get to play in this game, so this was my first Pink Zone game. My family is here, friends are here, there's just a ton of survivors. Playing for someone outside ourselves was a great thing to be a part of."
Penn State's partnership with the Pennsylvania Pink Zone, now in it's 12th year, has seen serious growth that has impacted head coach Coquese Washington and the players in a very special way.
Travascio-Green had a day to remember for the Lady Lions, as she was able to hit her shots early and fuel the Lady Lion offense. She finished with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
"This was a big game, in terms of adrenaline and one of those things. My teammates found me when I was open and I'm glad I was able to hit them," Travascio-Green said.
Her teammate, junior guard Teniya Page, reached a milestone as well, scoring 19 points on the day to move into 13th on the all-time Lady Lions scoring list (1,525 points). She passed Vicki Link, who had 1,514 points in her career from 1984-87.
The Lady Lions were met with another prolific scorer, as Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell led all scorers with 22 points. Mitchell became the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer in men's or women's basketball earlier this season.
"[Mitchell] is just a really good all-around player, she can do it all," Travascio-Green said. "She's faster than any other player I've ever played against, and it's a team effort to guard her. It's just so hard to stop her because she's so good all around and just great at so many things."
Ohio State's defense came to play as well, holding the Lady Lions to just under 38 percent shooting on the day.
"Ohio State did a really good job trying to contest shots," Washington said. "They just tried to make us work offensively. I thought we had some opportunities as well early in the first quarter that we didn't take advantage of. If we can do that, maybe we'd get off to a little bit better start."
The Buckeyes clinched the outright Big Ten championship and will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament. Penn State draws the No. 11 seed and will take on No. 14 Illinois in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday in Indianapolis.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's basketball pinked out the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday, locked in on finding the cure for breast cancer. In its 12th annual Play4Kay game benefitting Pink Zone, the Nittany Lions hosted 530 survivors for an afternoon filled with celebration.
"I am really pleased with what we do on this day to honor survivors, honor the families that are supporting their loved ones that are going through this and making this day a day they can remember outside of what happens on the court from a basketball standpoint," Penn State head coach Coquese Washington said. "Just knowing that there is a community of people who care and there's a community of people who are working to help make survivors lives better, to make their treatment better and working to find a cure."
From survivors to previvors and those working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring life to such a special event, take a deeper look at some of the storylines from a day dedicated to hope and perseverance.
Checking in with Penn
State's Pink Zone Survivors
Penn State's 530 survivors arrived by bus, entering through a dedicated entrance following registration. At registration, each survivor was given a light up bracelet to shine brightly during halftime recognizing a total number of years each individual is cancer free. Spanning all ages, each survivor has their own story and their own way of inspiring others.
Meet Pink Zone
Coordinator Roberta Hardin
Having once come to the Play4Kay benefitting Pink Zone as a survivor, Roberta Hardin is now helping to pull the event together. As the Pink Zone Survivor Coordinator, Hardin has worked behind the scenes organizing the special day. Hear Hardin's story below.
Pink Zone Previvor Arlene
At the age of 18, Arlene Williams tested positive for a BRCA breast cancer gene mutation that had already made a significant impact on her family. With Williams' mother thankfully a breast cancer survivor, with family history in mind she made the decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy to eliminate her risk. Hear Williams' story below.
Sarah and Lisa McMurtry
Breast cancer touches the lives so many, including the McMurtry family. For Lady Lion senior Sarah McMurtry, each Play4Kay game benefitting Pink Zone means so much more than hoops. Joined by her mother Lisa, a breast cancer survivor, they recap the day.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Playing its second game in a span of three days, No. 12 Penn State women's lacrosse capped off a 2-0 week with a 16-11 win against No. 17 Cornell Saturday. Despite some less than favorable weather conditions, the Nittany Lions were hardly phased, moving to 3-1 on the year.
With the first three weeks of the season now complete, head coach Missy Doherty sees progress, but like any coach, there's always room to grow.
"I think as a coach you're really never exactly where you want to be," Doherty said. "You're looking at progress and you're looking to see if the things you're implementing are coming around. We did a great job clearing the ball today. We had a lot of patience and did a great job as a team brining the ball down the field which is something we've been really working on, so that's great. We're just going to keep building and fine tuning and seeing where it takes us."
Facing a 4-0 deficit early in the first half, Doherty opted to sub in freshman Lucy Lowe in net for the Nittany Lions.
"I felt like we were a little down in momentum and Lucy [Lowe] and Madison [Cunningham] both do a really good job so we figured we'd put Lucy in to see if she could give us a spark and she certainly did," Doherty said.
Lowe proved just the spark the Nittany Lions needed as senior Katie O'Donnell quickly ignited the Penn State offense with her first of a career-high six goals to open a 4-0 scoring streak to tie the score. With fewer than two minutes remaining on the clock, the Big Red looked to halt that momentum with a goal, but Penn State was just getting started.
Quickly regrouping, junior Madison Carter won the draw control and raced down the field to bury her second goal of the afternoon. Penn State took its first lead of the day with 24 seconds on the clock as O'Donnell scored on the free position, adding one more 16 seconds later to send the Nittany Lions to the locker room leading 7-5 at halftime.
"I think that momentum swing was huge moving forward into the game," O'Donnell said. "It took us a little while to get started and then when we ended the first half like that, we could go into halftime with confidence like, 'okay, guys we're good, we got it.' I think it was a great momentum swing coming down and attacking hard, which we needed to do the whole beginning of the first half."
Penn State would not relinquish its lead for the rest of the game, but it didn't exactly come easy for the Nittany Lions. Cornell came within one goal of tying the score twice, but each time Penn State had an answer.
After back-to-back Big Red goals with 10:48 left in the game, Penn State called a timeout to regroup. It was veterans O'Donnell and Carter who came through out of the break, opening another 4-0 scoring run to lift the Nittany Lions to the win.
"It was just good to see them operate at full pace," Doherty said. "Madison Carter and Katie O'Donnell just had some great plays. Around them too, people are really coming along. There's a lot of players really gaining some valuable experience in these early games. It's good to see us getting better and better."
As new faces settle into their roles in the early part of the season, it's an encouraging step in the right direction for Penn State's upperclassmen.
"As a senior it's so awesome to see them come on the field with confidence like that," O'Donnell said. "I think it's only going to keep improving as the year goes on. It's only our fourth game so I'm so excited to see what they are going to have for the rest of the season."
Perhaps nobody proved more pivotal in gaining the valuable experience than Lowe, who earned her first collegiate win in goal, making eight saves for the Nittany Lions.
"Lucy was great. Some of the interceptions she had were momentous and gave us great momentum for the game," Doherty said. "She came up with some huge kick saves that I don't even know if everyone could appreciate if they were sitting far from the field. She really gave us a spark to kind of turn that game around."
Lowe would hardly take credit for her standout performance, giving it back to the improving Nittany Lion defense.
"I give a lot of credit to my defense, they were coming up with a lot of good interceptions and ground balls," Lowe said. "I give so much credit to them. The communication what huge and I think they also helped just bring the spark to the defense and keep the game going."
By Maria Evangelou, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Rec Hall was teeming with activity on Saturday, where the women's gymnastics team celebrated not only the final home meet of the regular season, but also the annual senior day, all in addition to the season's second double dual of the season with the men's squad. The No. 28 Penn State women's gymnastics team welcomed the No. 18 George Washington Colonials, and the men's squad faced off to Minnesota.
Penn State had a week of wins to live up to as the team was coming off a first-place score of 195.325 in a tri-meet against Cornell and Penn last weekend.
Extra pressure was surely riding on Briannah Tsang, the team's lone active senior, on her senior day. However, Tsang has proven time and time again that she works beautifully under pressure--and Saturday was no different.
Tsang and her Nittany Lion teammates started the day off strong on vault.
"I definitely have to give it to our coaching," head coach Sarah Brown said. "Rob Drass handles our vaulting and each week he comes in and does the best he can between finding the balance between big vaults and landings. I thought we did a much better job controlling our landings. We also were able to debut another 1.5 from Lauren Bridgens, so to have two vaults in the lineup that start from a 10 is incredible. I just can't say enough about their composure, being that we only have five athletes competing, we really didn't' have room for error, and they handled themselves like pros tonight."
Bridgens also tied a personal record she achieved earlier this month, nabbing another 9.925 on the uneven bars. She was quickly followed with a matched score and flawless performance by junior Sabrina Garcia in the same event. The Nittany Lions took a win on bars with a 49.325, with Penn State gymnasts securing the top two spots and a tie for third.
"I think the greatest thing is that we had way more sticks, way more energy after each person's turn," Garcia said. "We took everything one at a time, and that was the main difference between this and the last meet. I think we did really well."
"I followed a really strong bar lineup with Sabrina and Lauren," Tsang said, who tied for third in the event. "So, I just wanted to go out there and have fun, too."
Several unfortunate falls showed for some difficulty on the beam, where the Nittany Lions scored 48.350. However, Tsang's high 9.900 contributed to the scoring immensely, earning her yet another accomplishment on her senior day.
In light of her senior day, it only seemed fitting that Tsang would anchor the lineup on the team's final event. The gymnast landed a tied for career-best 9.950 on the floor to tie for first with George Washington's Camille Drouin-Allaire, with fellow Nittany Lion Garcia snagging the spot just below. The gymnasts gathered together after the conclusion of the event for an emotional celebratory hug with Tsang at the center.
"We started the meet so strong on vault and carried that into bars," Brown said. "We're still struggling to find our confidence on beam, so we had some mistakes there that we've seen throughout the year. I think since we've seen those mistakes before, we knew that we could finish the meet strong on floor, and it was amazing to send out our senior with a team best both on vault and floor."
Tsang was awarded the All-Around title with a total score of 39.600, a career-best score. Other placing Nittany Lions included Bridgens and Garcia.
"Bri has had an amazing career, and she showed that tonight," Brown said. "What could be better than a career best at senior night at home? It just shows that she's not done yet, she still has more in her, and she continues to be an amazing leader for our program."
In addition to Tsang, Penn State women's gymnastics program honored senior managers Chanen Raygoza, Kira Schmoke, and Oni Timothy.
"There was a lot thrown in with the double dual and last regular season home meet," Brown said. "I don't think we allowed ourselves to really think of it as the last meet here in Rec Hall, just knowing we're going to host regionals, but I would be lying if I said I didn't get a little nostalgic thinking of this being my first season here in Rec. I just attribute everything to the athletes and the amount of buy-in that they have given me."
Despite a close loss to George Washington, the Nittany Lions had much to be proud of with a season-best all-around score and multiple individual records for their athletes.
"The energy and having so many people for the double dual was super exciting, it's so much fun competing alongside the guys," Tsang said. "It was definitely exciting. I just wanted to go out there and enjoy every single moment, because there's really nothing like competing in Rec Hall."
The Nittany Lions will begin their slate of away meets for the remainder of their regular season in Pittsburgh on Sunday, March 4, where they will face Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
By Andy Kuros, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Don't look now, but No. 18 Penn State men's hockey did it again. After defeating No. 8 Minnesota 5-1 Friday night, the Nittany Lions got the best of the Golden Gophers again Saturday, this time by a 5-2 score to complete the program's first series sweep against Minnesota.
Sophomore goalie Peyton Jones did his part in helping the Blue and White close out their regular season with a victory. Coming off a game Friday night where he only faced a total of 15 shots, Jones came up big in game two of the series, making 38 saves in what was a very busy night for him.
"I thought I played well," Jones said. "But the team played great in front of me and I was just there when they needed me."
Although Jones made some incredible saves, including 17 in the third period, he wasn't the only Penn State goalie who received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd at Pegula Ice Arena Saturday night. Senior goaltender Matt Erlichman entered the game to a loud cheer from the crowd and that long tribute was exactly how he would finish off his senior weekend.
Erlichman, a walk-on from Penn State's club hockey team, skated onto the ice with 1:07 remaining in what will most certainly be a game he will never forget. The Pennsylvania native not only played in his first home game for Penn State, but registered the first save of his collegiate career.
"It was awesome," Jones said when asked about Erlichman getting a warm welcome from the home faithful. "He deserves everything he got tonight. He works so hard on and off the ice."
"I'm really happy that he got in here at Pegula Ice Arena," Gadowsky said. "It's a special experience to play here and I'm really happy he got that opportunity."
On the other end of the ice, the Blue and White were lead offensively by freshman forward Alex Limoges, who got Penn State off to a much-needed fast start when he found the back of the net just 3:36 into the game.
"They (Minnesota) came out firing and were a better team than us early," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "When Limoges scored the first goal, we breathed so much easier. I thought that (goal) let us get into our game-plan and we weren't so nervous. We knew they came out strong, but when we went up 1-0 it gave us some confidence."
Limoges scored another goal two minutes and 37 seconds into the third period to extend the Nittany Lions lead to three. The Virginia native stretched his consecutive goal streak to a career high three games after a personal best two goal, one assist night.
Limgoes credited his confident play as of late to his increased sense of comfort with the team, having finally made the adjustment to college hockey.
"At the start of the season I was somewhat intimidated," Limoges said. "College is a step up. These guys are bigger, stronger and faster. I've had the same line mates from then to now and we've developed a lot of chemistry in practice. When one of us gets a chance, we're all rewarded. It doesn't matter who scores."Looking ahead, the Nittany Lions will host their first home postseason event in program history as the Golden Gophers once again visit Hockey Valley. This time, it's to kick off the Big Ten Championship tournament. The best-of-three series between No. 4 seeded Penn State and No. 5 seeded Minnesota will begin Friday night.
MOST RECENT POSTS
- Looking Back at Session III
- Looking Back at NCAA Session III
- Nittany Lions Looking Forward to Home Opener
- Nittany Lions Looking Forward to Home Opener
- Team Confidence Soars into Big Fives
- Team Confidence Soars into Big Fives
- Lady Lions Bow Out to Radford in WNIT
- Lady Lions Bow Out to Radford in WNIT
- Looking back at NCAA Session II
- All-Sports Blog (6458)
- Baseball (198)
- Coaches Caravan (55)
- Cross Country (85)
- European Tour 2012 (14)
- Fencing (15)
- Field Hockey (153)
- Football (1947)
- General (9)
- Men's Basketball (650)
- Men's Basketball 2013 European Tour (16)
- Men's golf (5)
- Men's Gymnastics (116)
- Men's Hockey (483)
- Men's Lacrosse (201)
- Men's Soccer (157)
- Men's Volleyball (185)
- PSU Road Warriors (16)
- Softball (116)
- Swimming & Diving (110)
- Track & Field (132)
- Women's Basketball (564)
- Women's Golf (12)
- Women's Gymnastics (142)
- Women's Hockey (206)
- Women's Lacrosse (165)
- Women's Soccer (275)
- Women's Soccer Player Blog (44)
- Women's Volleyball (411)
- Wrestling (451)