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Strong Fourth Quarter Powers Lady Lions in Comeback

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Down 54-44 to Fordham with just under six minutes left in the game, it didn't seem like the Lady Lions' night.

 They were being outrebounded by 20, including a difference of 18 on the offensive glass. The Rams held a 20-2 advantage on second chance points, and had five scorers in double figures, including a double-double from their center, Mary Goulding.

Who the Rams didn't have, however, was Teniya Page, as she proved once again why she is the leader of this team and one of the best players in the Big Ten with an outstanding fourth quarter to give the Lady Lions a 65-60 victory Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Page made her last five shots on the night, and shot a scorching 11-for-15 from the field in only her fifth game back of an offseason injury. She also added a season-high 27 points and team-high eight rebounds, all part of a 16-0 run late in the fourth quarter to bring the Lady Lions all the way back and give them the lead for good. 

"It's always a part of the game plan to get Teniya shots, because she is an incredible shot maker," head coach Coquese Washington said. "She's still feeling her way and I think it's tough when you don't play basketball for months and jump back in the middle of the season. I think tonight, it finally came together in the fourth quarter. But we don't want to be a team that has to rely on Teniya having fourth-quarter heroics." 

Shot selection changed for Page in the fourth quarter as she got more and more into a rhythm, and she just got hot at the right time when her team needed it the most.

"There were shots that were open in the first three quarters that I just didn't take," Page said. "Coach told me that I needed to be more aggressive, and that's what I did."

Page's comeback efforts on the offensive end were supplemented with much better defense and rebounding, as the Lady Lions made Fordham look lost down the stretch and force a lot of questionable shots.

Forward Jaylen Williams was a big reason for that, coming up with two huge blocks late in the fourth quarter at a point where every possession was so valuable to the Lady Lions. 

"Jaylen's blocks were really big," Washington said. "We talked in the timeouts about how we needed to get stops. We had been playing zone, and we got some big defensive rebounds. We decided to go man-to-man when we were up three with about 45 seconds left, and Jaylen came up with a big block to get the ball, and we were able to go down and get to the free throw line." 

The Lady Lions were much improved on the defensive side, as Fordham shot only 18 percent from the field in the fourth quarter and managed only 11 points.

"We talked about some rotation things that we needed to do better, and we wanted to do a better job contesting shots," Washington said. "In the first half, they got too many wide open looks, and we certainly didn't want to give them that. I thought in the second half, we did a better job of moving and contesting their threes in the zone."

Rebounding was a drastic turning point as well, as the Lady Lions pulled down 12 in the fourth compared to only 11 in the other three quarters combined. It was the only quarter in which they outrebounded Fordham.

"I thought the last four minutes of the game, we did a much better job securing defensive rebounds," Washington said. "The first three quarters, they were a lot more aggressive. But that aggressiveness, at the same time with them going to the boards when we actually got defensive rebounds, we were able to get going in transition." 

While it wasn't the most conventional win for the Lady Lions, it was the third straight as they now move to 8-2 on the year. Penn State next travels to St. Bonaventure for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday.

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