By Brian McLaughlin,
Student Staff Writer GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State opened the fourth quarter on a 11-to-0 run against Northwestern and never looked back, topping the Wildcats 67-59 Wednesday night in the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Lady Lions struggled with turnovers in the second and third quarters, allowing Northwestern to open up a lead as large as 13 late in the third quarter. After four consecutive turnovers for Northwestern to start the final frame, Penn State took advantage and brought the energy.
"I think as a group we were lackadaisical to start the game and it took us a while to realize we were down and I think everybody's mentality changed," junior guard Teniya Page said. "It shouldn't be like that, we should come out ready to play but we have to change our mentality and be a little more aggressive on the defensive end."
Both teams struggled out of the gate to find rhythm offensively, with the Wildcats scoring just seven first quarter points. For the Lady lions it was the second and third quarter where they could not get going, shooting just 31 percent from the field in the second quarter and 33 percent in the third.
"We had a lot of turnovers in the second and third quarters with 17 on the game and in those first three quarters we were turning the ball over a lot. They were also live turnovers which can sometimes be deflating. We didn't really respond to turning the ball over," head coach Coquese Washington said. "In the fourth quarter we were better defensively and didn't turn the ball over. We talked in the timeout about having a lot more energy in the fourth quarter especially in the defensive end."
Defensively the game changed when Washington switched her team's defense to a man-to-man style and applying a lot more pressure. Amari Carter and Siyeh Frazier each snagged multiple passes from Northwestern to get easy layups. The start to the fourth quarter was able to give the Lady Lions the push they needed to finish the game.
"Positive plays generally can give you a lot of an emotional push, and when you can string two or three positive plays together it really works," Washington said.
The entire team struggled throughout the game from the field, but all of a sudden everyone was making huge plays in the fourth quarter.
"We were also getting some key contributions from a number of people. Amari Carter made some plays, De'Janae (Boykin) made some plays in the fourth quarter, Siyeh was all over the place defensively and Jaida Travascio-Green a big three late in the game," Washington said. "Teniya of course got to the free throw line and made some plays. So a big positive was it wasn't just one person we got huge contributions from lots of people on the floor. That makes it a lot harder for the defense to key in on one person."
Page led the Lady Lions with 22 points, and also contributed with three steals on the defensive end. That defense is an area that Washington believes is extremely underrated in Page's game.
Penn State will get the next week off before travelling to Nebraska next week in their final Big Ten road matchup of the season.