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Lady Lions Outdueled on Pink Zone Day

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By Tom Shively, 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.

 "It's truly a special experience and I'm really pleased with what we do on this day to honor survivors and honor their families," Washington said. "We want to make this a day that the players can remember outside of the basketball court. Just knowing that there is a community of people that care, that are willing to help make survivors' lives better, make their treatment better and work to find a cure." 

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.

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