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Comeback Falls Short Behind Career Night From Page

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By Jeff Sattora,
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- Despite a new career-high from their all-star point guard, the Penn State Lady Lions weren't able to claw out of an early hole, and fell to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 70-64 in the Big Ten Tournament Thursday night. 

On Monday, the sophomore standout point guard Teniya Page earned First Team All-Big Ten honors, and Thursday night in Indianapolis she played like a first team performer.

The guard dropped in 13 of the Lady Lions' 17 first quarter points, 12 of those points coming on 3-point field goals, keeping the Lady Lions in the game despite a hot start from the Golden Gophers, as Minnesota held a 26-17 lead after one.    

After Minnesota hit five 3's in the first and PSU turned the ball over seven times in that quarter, the script flipped as those numbers were zero and two respectively in the second.  Penn State used those numbers to its advantage, as they cut the deficit to just 33-29 at the break. 

"I think it just took us a quarter to kind of feel them out," Washington said on the switch between quarters. "Once we kind of figured out the game and the way the game was being called and things of that nature, we just kind of settled in."

The third saw the Lady Lions continue to fight, as they took their first lead of the game at 43-41 with 3:23 to play in the quarter. 

While the comeback attempt came up short, Washington was proud of how her team battled back from what was a 12-point Gophers' first half lead.  

"I think we really tried to rally back. Minnesota got off to a good start in the first quarter. And then I thought the second quarter our defense locked in pretty well and made it a game. And then we just competed down the stretch," she said. 

Leading that competitive charge was Page, who finished the night with a career-high and Penn State Big Ten Tournament record, 35 points on 11-22 shooting. 

"Just get to my spots, shoot, people were finding me," the guard said on how she was able to light up the score sheet.  "Attack the basket, that's pretty much it." 

 While Page's attacking style lit up the box score, another guard, Sierra Moore, also stepped up finishing with 13 points and 11 boards on the night for her first double-double of the season. 

Moore also credited an aggressive style for her success.

"I just kept crashing the boards," she said.  "I know Minnesota is one of the best rebounders in the conference so I knew I had to just keep going in their and keep fighting until the end."  

For Washington, the performance by those two is what made her team go. 

"They've been key players for us all season long. And they're the barometer. You know coming into every game that they're going to compete, they're going to fight. And they did the same thing," she said on her team's leaders tonight.  "I thought Sierra got some big offensive rebounds and made some big plays for us in the fourth quarter. And Teniya was fantastic all night. So those two certainly came with a lot of energy, a lot of effort and made a lot of big plays for us.

While Penn State didn't get the result they came to Indy looking for, they are hoping to continue postseason play in the NIT Tournament in the coming weeks.  

"it's something we've got to talk about as a team." Washington said.  "We're competitors and the opportunity to continue to play is something that we'll look forward to."

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