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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2014 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament will get
under way on Thursday, Feb. 6 inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis,
Ind. The Lady Lions will enter as the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will be
in search of their third conference tournament title, the first since 1996.
Penn State is coming off of their third straight regular season conference
title and will enter this season's championship as the top seed. This marks the
seventh time in program history that the Lady Lions will take No. 1 seed into
the conference tournament.
You know about the Lady Lions, but here is what you should know about the 11
other teams at the 2014 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament.
No. 1 Seed - Penn State Lady Lions (22-6, 13-3 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - 11; RPI - 9; Strength of
Schedule - 7
Top Scorer: Maggie Lucas, 21.5 ppg
Top Rebounder: Talia East, 7.5 rpg
Penn State celebrated Senior Day with a victory on Saturday and then had to
wait and see whether they would be the top seed for the third straight season
or if they would enter the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed. A Nebraska
loss afforded Penn Stat the No. 1 ranking, since the Blue and White owned the
tie breaker with Michigan State via their 66-54 win in East Lansing on Jan. 19.
The Lady Lions will be looking to exercise some frustrations at the Big Ten
Tournament, entering as one of the top two seeds each of the last three seasons,
but playing in only one championship game. Penn State will take the top seed
into the tournament for the seventh time in program history and owns a combined
25-17 record at the event with two titles - 1995 & 1996.
Big Ten Player of the Year Maggie Lucas gets most of the attention from
opposing defenses, but still pours in 21.5 points per game to ranks second in
the conference. She sits seventh in the Big Ten in steals per game (1.9) and
ranks among the conference leaders in three point field goals made. The senior
also leads the conference and NCAA in free throw percentage at 95.9 percent. She
is the school record holder in career free throws made, career free throw
percentage and career three pointers made, while ranking among the career and
single season leaders in a bevy of other categories.
Senior Dara Taylor was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
after averaging 2.9 steals per game and drawing the tough assignment of
guarding the other team's top guard each night. Taylor probably could have won
the award last season, if it weren't for her teammate Alex Bentley's prowess on
defense. The senior is more than just a defender and traffic cop this season,
as she refined her game in the offseason. A better understanding of the offense
and what the coaching staff wanted out of her, coupled with a dangerous
midrange jumper and the ability to get to the basket made her a threat all over
the court in 2013-14.
If I had a vote for Lady Lions' Most Valuable Player it would go to Ariel
Edwards. The senior was arguably the most underrated players in the conference,
averaging 15.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in conference games. She is
such a tough matchup due to her ability to play in the post and on the
perimeter. She can also use her length to make it hard on opposing guards and
can move into the post to guard an athletic post for the opposing team.
A wildcard for the Lady Lions will be their bench play. With a possible three
games in three days it will be a key for the reserves to provide solid minutes
to help keep the legs under the starters, who all average 20-plus minutes per
game in the regular season. Kaliyah Mitchell and Peyton Whitted have shown the
ability to fill the stat sheet and now is the time to do it. Mitchell leads all
reserves with 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds, while Whitted averages 2.9 rebounds
and 3.0 points a contest.
No. 2 Seed - Michigan State Spartans (21-8,
13-3 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - 19; RPI - 31; Strength of
Schedule - 47
Top Scorer: Aerial Powers, 13.8 ppg
Top Rebounder: Aerial Powers, 8.0
After dropping two straight contests to Penn State and Illinois, Suzy
Merchant's squad rattled off nine wins in their last 10 games to claim a share
of the Big Ten regular season title. The Spartans boast perhaps one of the
league's top freshmen in guard Aerial Powers. Powers leads the Spartans in
points, rebounds and steals and has tallied eight double-doubles on the season.
Michigan State has two other players that average in double figures in freshman
guard Tori Jankoska (12.7 ppg) and senior forward Annalise Pickrel (12.6 ppg).
Rebounding is one of the biggest strengths for Michigan State as they are
second in the conference in rebounding offense, rebounding defense, defensive
rebounds and rebounding margin. The free throw line is the biggest weakness for
Michigan State. As a team they shoot 71.3 percent from the charity stripe, good
for 10th in the conference. No Spartan averages better than 79 percent from the
No. 3 Seed - Nebraska Cornhuskers (22-6,
12-4 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - 16; RPI - 28; Strength of
Schedule - 66
Top Scorer: Jordan Hooper, 20.1 ppg
Top Rebounder: Jordan Hooper &
Emily Cady, 9.3 rpg
The Cornhuskers collected nine straight victories before losing their season
finale to Purdue, 82-66, on Mar. 2. Nebraska has beaten every team in the
conference besides Purdue - including the top-two seeds Penn State and Michigan
State and both came by a margin of 20 points in each game. Big Ten Player of
the Year by the coaches, senior forward Jordan Hooper is the Huskers go to
player on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Hooper has 14 game of 20-plus
points and two 30-plus point games on the season. Hooper's fellow First Team All-Big
Ten teammate, sophomore guard Rachel Theriot averages nearly 14 points per game
and shoots 45 percent from downtown. Nebraska's defense has haunted opponents
all season. The Huskers have the second best scoring defense, holding opponents
to just 63.1 points per game which leads to them owning the number one scoring
margin in the conference at +12.1.
No. 4 Seed - Purdue Boilermakers (21-7, 11-5
AP Ranking - 17; RPI - 7; Strength of
Schedule - 6
Top Scorer: Courtney Moses, 15.4
Top Rebounder: Whitney Bays, 7.5 rpg
Purdue enters the Big Ten tournament as the hottest team in the conference. The
Boilermakers head to Indianapolis riding a six game winning streak. Senior
Courtney Moses is one of the most efficient players in the Big Ten and that can
be seen through her numbers. The senior is shooting 49.5 percent from the
field, 46.8 percent from beyond the arc, which leads the Big Ten, and 91.5
percent from the charity stripe. Thanks to Moses and teammate KK Houser, the
Boilermakers are second in the Big Ten in three-point shooting at 38.1 percent.
Houser injured her knee vs. Michigan State on Feb. 2, but played sparingly vs.
Nebraska in the season finale, so that is something to watch as the senior
averages 5.0 assists per game and orchestrates the high-scoring attack from the
point guard position. Purdue has shown that they can compete with the best in
the conference, no matter the location. The Boilermakers upset both Penn State
and Nebraska on the road this season.
No. 5 Seed - Iowa Hawkeyes (23-7, 11-5
AP Ranking - 23; RPI - 24; Strength of
Schedule - 49
Top Scorer: Samantha Logic, 14.1 ppg
Top Rebounder: Samantha Logic, 6.6
The top scoring offense in the Big Ten hails from Iowa City. The Hawkeyes are
averaging 75.5 points per game in conference play, but the Iowa defense is
allowing 72.0 points per game which has led to five games decided by four or
fewer points. They are the only team in the conference with four players
averaging 13 points per game or better in conference play, led by Bethany
Doolittle's 14.2 points on 57 percent shooting. As a team, the Hawkeyes are
leading the conference in field goal percentage at 46 percent. Samantha Logic
is the do-it-all player for the Black and Yellow, ranking among the conference
top-15 in all games for scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and minutes
played. Head coach Lisa Bluder became the winningest coach in Iowa history this
season, claiming her 270th victory over Northwester on Feb. 10. She has
accumulated 630 wins overall as a head coach and any coach with that many wins
and a balanced scoring attack like the Hawkeyes have is a threat to win on any
No. 6 Seed - Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-11,
8-8 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 38; Strength of
Schedule - 18
Top Scorer: Rachel Banham, 22.4 ppg
Top Rebounder: Amanda Zahui B., 11.3
Minnesota is led by two of the conference's most dominant players in junior
guard Rachel Banham and freshman center Amanda Zahui B. Both players were
All-Big Ten First Team selections and Zahui B. also picked up Big Ten Freshman
of the Year, All-Freshman Team and All-Defensive Team honors. Banham leads the
conference in scoring averaging 22.4 points per game Zahui B. sits at 10th on
the conference scoring charts with 15.1 per game and leads the Big Ten in
rebounding with 11.3 per game. Guards Shayne Mullaney and Sari Noga compliment
the team's two stars by averaging nearly eight points per contest and totaling
over 34 minutes per game. As a team
Minnesota thrives with their Big Ten leading defense that holds opponents to a
conference best 62.4 points per game and 36.4 percent field goal percentage.
The Gophers also thrive from downtown averaging a league high 39.3 percent from
three-point range, with Banham nailing a team-best 77 three-point buckets.
No. 7 Seed - Michigan Wolverines (17-12,
8-8 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 92; Strength
of Schedule - 67
Top Scorer: Shannon Smith, 14.3 ppg
Top Rebounder: Cyesha Goree, 9.5 rpg
Michigan has one of the top backcourts in the conference in juniors Nicole
Elmblad and Shannon Smith and freshman Siera Thompson. All three players are
averaging in double figures this season, led by 14.3 points by Smith. Elmblad
ranks second on the team in rebounding at 7.7 per game to go along with 11.7
points and a team-best 93 assists on the season. Another of cog in the
impressive Big Ten freshman class, Thompson averages 13.3 points per game and
ranks third in Michigan single season history with 68 made three pointers. The
Wolverines also have a presence on the inside in junior Cyesha Goree, who nearly
averages a double-double at 11.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. In Big Ten
play, Michigan owns a scoring margin of -1.1, but it has been feast of famine
for the Wolverines. Of their eight wins, seven of them came by seven points or
more - four of 10 or more points. All but one of their eight losses has come by
seven or more points, including three losses of 10 or more points.
No. 8 Seed - Ohio State Buckeyes (15-17, 5-11 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 58; Strength
of Schedule - 3
Top Scorer: Ameryst Alston, 18.2
Top Rebounder: Darryce Moore, 5.8
Defense is the name of the game for the Buckeyes. The Scarlet and Grey are
second in the conference in blocked shots with 5.1 per game and fourth in
scoring defense, allowing just 65.1 points per game. Despite beating Purdue at
home earlier in the season, the Buckeyes have lost seven out of their last
eight contests. Senior Ashley Adams leads her team with 63 out of her team's
164 blocked shots, while teammates Darryce Moore and Martina Ellerbe each lead
Ohio State with 5.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston averages
36.6 minutes per game, which ranks second in the Big Ten, and leads the team
with 18.2 points per game. Just a sophomore, Alston plays like a four-year
veteran, shooting 45.1 percent from the field, 34.4 percent from three and 83.2
percent from the foul line.
No. 9 Seed - Northwestern Wildcats (15-14, 5-11 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 97; Strength
of Schedule - 32
Top Scorer: Nia Coffey, 15.2 ppg
Top Rebounder: Nia Coffey, 8.1 rpg
Despite losing seven of their final eight conference games, the Wildcats
grabbed the No. 9 seed with an overtime win against Wisconsin in the season
finale. With Northwestern does have three wins over ranked opponents this
season (DePaul, Purdue and Nebraska) and they sit atop the Big Ten in blocked
shots with 195 - 6.7 per game. Many of those are thanks to 6-foot-5 junior Alex
Cohen, who averages 2.3 blocks and 4.5 rebounds per game. The Wildcats will rely
on star freshman Nia Coffey, as the versatile 6-foot-1 forward is eighth in the
conference with 15.2 points per game and adds 1.7 blocks and 8.1 rebounds per
game. A big wildcard for the Wildcats is the extent to which junior guard Karly
Roser will play. After playing in every game her freshman and sophomore seasons,
Roser missed the first 20 games of this season due to injury.
No. 10 Seed - Indiana Hoosiers (18-11, 5-11
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 68; Strength
of Schedule - 65
Top Scorer: Larryn Brooks, 16.3 ppg
Top Rebounder: Simone Deloach, 6.3 rpg
The Hoosiers knew there would be some growing pains this season after
losing all-everything forward Aulani Sinclair to graduation in 2012-13. Those
growing pains were not felt early on, however, as the Hoosiers reeled off 14
straight wins to start the season. Arguably the best true freshman in the
conference this season, Larryn Brooks leads the team and ranks sixth in the
conference in scoring at 15.9 points per game. She also ranks sixth in the Big
Ten with 4.6 assists per game. The Hoosiers have started three freshmen in all
but two games this season, with the freshman class averaging 42.8 points per
games, or 1,200 points in 28 games, which is nearly 60 percent of the Hoosiers
No. 11 Seed - Wisconsin Badgers (10-18,
3-13 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 126; Strength
of Schedule - 22
Top Scorer: Michala Johnson, 16.5 ppg
Top Rebounder: Taylor Wurtz, 8.3 rpg
Scoring hasn't been a problem for Wisconsin this season, entering the game
averaging 65.4 points a contest, including 67 or more points in eight of their
last 10 games, but the Badgers are allowing 67.6 points a contest and opponents
shoot 41 percent from the field. Michala Johnson is one of the top scorers in
the Big Ten at 16.5 points per game and is among the top rebounders, as well,
grabbing 7.2 boards per game. Graduate student Taylor Wurtz missed most of the
last season due to injury, but has returned to form this season. She has 1,354
career points, including 204 made three pointers, to average 10.8 points and
6.3 rebounds per game in her career. She has also handed out 201 assists while
at Wisconsin, including a career- and team-high 67 this season. The Badgers share
the ball well, too, with four players accumulating 60-plus assists this
season. Wisconsin has lost five
conference games by single digits in 2013-14 and has had the lead at some point
in six of their last seven games, including leading in the second half in two of
No. 12 Seed - Illinois Fighting Illini (9-20, 2-14 Big Ten)
AP Ranking - NR; RPI - 169; Strength
of Schedule - 42
Top Scorer: Amber Moore, 14.9 ppg|
Top Rebounder: Ivory Crawford, 5.8 rpg
The Illini entered the season needed to replace their top two scorers and
rebounders in All-American Karisma Penn and Adrienne GodBold, but followed up a
19-14 campaign with a 9-20 mark. After starting the season 7-5, Illinois has
dropped 15 of their last 17 games, with their wins coming vs. Northwestern and
Michigan State. The talented backcourt duo of Ivory Crawford and Amber Moore leads
the team in scoring with 14.4 and 14.9 points, respectively, and Moore leads
the conference with 2.9 three pointers made per game. The Illini currently lead
the Big Ten and are tied for ninth national in steals per game (10.8) and are
atop the conference and 18th in the NCAA in turnover margin (+5.10).
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The Nittany Lion basketball team (14-15, 5-11) begins its final week of regular
season competition on Thursday at 7 p.m. (ESPNU) inside Welsh-Ryan Arena when
it meets Northwestern (12-17, 5-11) for the only time in 2014.
With two games to play before the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, the
Nittany Lions are set to embark on a five-day road trip. First up is a clash against Northwestern in
Evanston. From there, the Lions till fly
to Minneapolis in preparation for Sunday's 5:15 p.m. tip at Williams Arena
"I'm focused on us and becoming the best team we can be by the end of the year,"
head coach Patrick Chambers said. "But,
they (Northwestern) have slowed it down, juicing the clock a little bit and
taking the best shot available. Then,
they play very good defense because they switch one through four."
Take a look through some
things to watch for in Penn State's lone regular season matchup against the Northwestern
VIDEO: Northwestern Preview
Head coach Patrick Chambers and sophomore Donovon Jack preview Thursday's
game at Northwestern. Take a look.
Lions No Strangers to Close Games
The Nittany Lions
have played more than their fair share of close games during Big Ten play in
2014. In all, nine of Penn State's 16
conference games have been decided by five points or less. Additionally, the Lions have had six one-possession
games in Big Ten play, which is the most among any conference teams. Nine of the last 16 Big Ten games have been
decided by an average of 2.8 points per game.
Coach Chambers frequently talks about the fine line between winning and
losing in the Big Ten. Simply put, two
or three possessions in wins or losses have shaped the Lions' conference
record. With a host of experience in
tight battles, the Lions will head on the road looking for their fifth road win
of the season. The last time Penn State
had five or more road wins was during the 2008-'09 season.
Final Push in Big Ten Standings
The Big Ten Tournament bracket will be announced on Sunday evening
following Penn State's clash with Minnesota.
One thing is certain leading up to the final day of regular season play
- the battle for seeding is wide open.
Michigan has clinched the tournament's No. 1 seed, but the other 11
spots will be decided in the next five days.
Indiana is currently in seventh spot in the standings. Just two games separate the Hoosiers from
Northwestern in 12th. The Nittany Lions
are currently in a three-way tie for 10th. Ten games remain on the regular season
The Northwestern Wildcats head into senior night on a six-game slide. The Wildcats tallied four wins in a five-game
span in late January, including road wins at Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota,
but have not won since Feb. 1. Under
first-year head coach Chris Collins, Northwestern is among the top defensive
teams in the Big Ten. The Cats are third
in the Big Ten in scoring defense at 63.4 points per game. They are also holding teams to 41.2 percent
shooting from the field.
However, offensive production has been challenging for Northwestern. The Wildcats have slowed the tempo down
during Big Ten play. As a result,
Northwestern is averaging 54.6 points per game in conference matchups, which is
last in the Big Ten. Northwestern ranks
12th in field goal percentage (39.6 percent) and three-point field goal
percentage (30.2 percent). The Wildcats
are also 12th in rebounding margin (-3.7).
Senior Drew Crawford
is Northwestern's leading scorer at 15.5 points per game. Crawford leads the Big Ten in minutes played
at 36.3 per game. Sophomore guard Tre
Demps is averaging 11.1 points per contest.
Sophomore center Alex Olah is among the most improved players in the Big
Ten. The 7-foot center is averaging 8.8
points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season.
Olah is ranked fourth in the Big Ten in blocked shots at 1.9 per game.
The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series with Northwestern, 27-15. Penn State is 11-9 in games played in Evanston.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter
By Chelsea Howard, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The
men's swimming and diving team traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., and brought back
some of the best performances in school history, and proving that the hard work
the athletes have put in since August paid off as the team continues to move in
the right direction.
"I think the guys overall did a nice job," head
coach Tim Murphy said. "We had numerous best times, we in some cases got better
as the meet went on. Our relays were very competitive which was good for us and
we had some people on the podium. All-in-all, I thought it was a big step
forward from both the individual and team
With some of the top competition in the country coming
together for the Big Ten Championships, the team had no options other than to
push each other through their events and take advantage of every opportunity in
front of them.
"I told the guys at the meet that if they're
fortunate, they will be a part of four Big Ten championship teams. It's an
extremely competitive meet and there are just a few opportunities there. I saw
them really come together as a team, they really
fought for each other and fought with each other."
Allowing them to come together as a team and
support each other was the pride that they share to be a part of the Penn State
swimming and diving program while representing everyone who came before them
and helped build the program.
"They displayed from a performance standpoint the
work they've put in all year and from a team standpoint the pride that they
have representing Penn State swimming and diving. We were able to do that, we
left our mark on the meet and I think all the guys, similar to the ladies, did
as a team swim fast. They had some fun and the team took a step forward,"
One of the swimmers who helped the team take a step
forward was sophomore Shane Ryan, who brought back two Big Ten titles in the
100 freestyle and 100 backstroke in addition to a second place finish in the 50
freestyle. Not only did he make it to the podium in all of his events, he was
also named Swimmer of the Big Ten Championships, and set new Big Ten records
and school records.
Even though this was Ryan's first time attending
this style of championship meet, he didn't let anything get in his way from
going after what he wanted to accomplish.
"(Ryan's) on a continuum," Murphy said. "This was
his first opportunity at Big Tens and he didn't shy away from the moment. He
made his way to the top of the podium, which was obviously something we had in
mind. This is a growing process and a learning process and I thought he did a
good job displaying the work he put in and his competitiveness."
The sophomore was able to handle any pressures or
nerves that come with competing knowing that the work he put in throughout the
year and his preparation would be there. Having a race plan and staying focused
on only his race proved to be a successful approach.
"Every time before I went up to race, Tim told me a
set plan," Ryan said. "He said 'If you do this, you'll be good' so I really
didn't let the nerves distract me. I know that I have a lane and it's just me
in that lane - that's what I think about whenever I race. Nerves really don't
distract me - I really just use them to my advantage."
Ryan was part of making history for the Penn State
swimming and diving program as his win in the 100 backstroke marked the first
ever Nittany Lion win in that event. This swim also marked the first individual
title the men's team has seen since 2003.
"In reference to the historical standpoint, anytime
you have a first for a program that's a really important thing," Murphy said.
"We all celebrated that and it was really fun to watch."
After the 100 back, Ryan wasn't the only person
standing on the podium. To his left was his teammate Nate Savoy while Penn
State's fight song played throughout Canham Natatorium.
"In the 100 back, it was awesome seeing number two
and Nate Savoy's name right next to it. It was really good to get points for
the team. I just wanted to show that Penn State was there and make sure that at this past Big Tens that Penn State left a statement.
I was sick of hearing other school's fight song so to hear ours was a really
Although the team has taken huge strides of
progress, both Murphy and Ryan know this is just a starting point and the team
will continue to develop. This isn't the end of
Penn State reaching new records.
"I just hope people know that even though we don't
have the best facility, we have the best coaching staff," Ryan said. "We have
so much untapped talent that this is just the beginning. There's going to be a
lot more records coming down and people are going to hear a lot more about Penn
State swimming and diving."
With the first meet of their championship season behind them, the Nittany Lions will have to shift
their focus to the NCAA Championships starting on March 27. They swimmers and
divers who qualify for NCAA's will get back to their training routine to get
even faster between now and then.
"The idea now is to be faster in four weeks which is not easy," Murphy said. "It's
probably a lot more difficult than it is at Big Tens, the size of the group is
going to be smaller, we'll still have relays but we're pretty much right back
to work. We'll try to find a way in the next month to be better - easier said
than done but that's the goal."
Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - Last season, they were freshmen getting their feet set. This
season, they are dominating opponents and showcasing new talent they've taken
away from their first year of Division I lacrosse.
Mosketti, Madison Cyr, and Ally Heavens have only gotten better since they
first took the field for Penn State over a year ago. All now starters for head
coach Missy Doherty, these three have taken on a major role for the Nittany
Lions and look to be only improving game by game.
think [our play] definitely improved," Cyr said. "We all have a lot more confidence and our
leadership has definitely gone up. I think we just feel a lot more comfortable
with our second year, and [having] our first year under our belt."
has become one of the more dominant midfielders off the draw control. She
currently has 17 draw controls for the blue and white and she shows no signs of
slowing down. The closest Nittany Lion to her 17 is freshman Abby Smucker with
guess I'm taller," Mosketti said with a laugh. "But we worked a lot in the
fall, me and Tatum, did a lot of draw controls. We practice and you get good I
time the Fallstown, Md., native wins the draw you can hear the coaches and fans
yelling for her to take it to goal. Her quickness, speed, and intelligence have
allowed her to become a very strong midfielder, and a leader on the team.
the other hand, Madison Cyr has become a strong midfielder for different
reasons. You won't see her dominating the draw control, but she makes her
impact felt in different ways. The sophomore is currently tied for second on
the team with six goals, which surprises no one. When Cyr was first introduced
into Doherty's offensive scheme, she was the perfect fit. She makes tremendous
cuts and is very smart with the ball in and out of her stick.
think [I've become a shooter], because last year I would consider myself more
of a role player," Cyr said. "I just gained a lot of confidence, its just
also helps when her older sister, Mackenzie, knows exactly where she is going
to go and feeds her time and time again. Call it sister's intuition.
Mosketti and Cyr have combined for 12 points through the Nittany Lions' first
of course, we can't forget Ally Heavens.
season, Heavens originally emerged as a strong offensive-minded midfielder, but
has made the switch to defense. She has become a tremendous vocal leader for
the Nittany Lions and her aggression and tenacity make her the perfect fit as a
the four people down there, I loved the camaraderie about it," Heavens said. "But
I think with what we have coming down there it's going to make us a better
is consistently pursuing opposing attackers and creating turnovers to start
offensive rushes. Currently, she has five ground balls and two caused
turnovers. Heavens also brings a different aspect to her game: she knows
offense very well.
Garnet Valley, Pa., native can always be seen looking to hop into an offensive
rush and help out her teammates. She is quick with the ball and seems to be two
steps ahead of her opposition.
three have come up together on the field, and they show no signs of slowing
down. With the core of the team very young, these three are at the heart of
that core and have given Penn State a very bright future.
Mosketti, Heavens, and their fellow Nittany Lions are back in action on
Wednesday when they travel to Harrisonburg, Va., for a showdown against a solid
James Madison team. Game time is currently set for 4 p.m.
PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey team was on the ice for practice on Tuesday
(March 4) after dropping a pair of games at No. Minnesota over the weekend. The
Nittany Lions fell by scores of 5-1 and 2-1 and return home for the final two
weeks of the regular season with a 6-22-2 overall record.
On Tuesday, we caught up with head coach Guy Gadowsky and sophomore Mark Yanis to
talk about the series at Minnesota, returning home for the final two regular season
weekends and how the team is doing late in the season with the voice of Penn
State men's hockey, Brian Tripp.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky
Defenseman Mark Yanis
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "Making plays at crucial points--if there was a
statistic for that, it would've been the key factor in our win over Ohio
State," said Penn State men's lacrosse head coach Jeff Tambroni.
One year after surrendering the Creator's Trophy to their foes in scarlet
and gray, the Nittany Lions brought their prized possession back to Happy
Valley after an 11-8 victory in Columbus over the weekend.
The team's second-straight road victory against a ranked opponent this season
was earned via discipline and clutch playmaking.
"Ohio State plays at a very frantic pace and they do it very well,"
Tambroni said. "We play at a bit more organized of a pace. When we played at
our pace things went our way and when we played at their pace things didn't go
This season's matchup with the Buckeyes and 2013's contest were very
similar in that both games were dictated by a team going on a scoring streak.
Last season, a seven-goal spree spanned over the third and fourth quarters gave
Ohio State the 10-9 OT victory. Last Saturday in Columbus, Penn State used a
six-goal run to earn their third win of the season.
"Our guys did enough coming down the stretch to earn a victory," Tambroni
said. "We talked a lot before the game about senior leadership getting us
through these kind of situations and I credit that more than any statistical
Seniors Austin Kaut, Shane Sturgis and Kyle VanThof had impressive showings
and were crucial in dictating a composed tone throughout the game. Sturgis, the
NCAA leader in goals per game (4.50), added five points (4g, 1a) to his already
impressive season. VanThof contributed three goals to the Lions' attack to earn
himself CAA Player of the Week honors.
"We kept attacking, playing our offense and executing our game plan,"
Defending the crease, Kaut was pleased to see the defense step up and slow
down the speedy Buckeye attack.
"I think the defense played really well," Kaut said. "We said earlier in
the week that we needed to make some plays out in the field and we did."
Statistically, the Blue and White dominated their opponents at the faceoff
X (16-22) and in securing groundballs (31-20).
Also largely contributing to the winning effort was the team's display of
discipline. For the first time this season, Penn State didn't send a man to the
penalty box all game.
"Knowing that it was a physical game and that our guys played their hearts
out, it was nice to see us stay out of the box," Tambroni said. " It's a fine
line. You want to play with physicality--especially on your defensive end--if you
want to impose a willingness to set a tone in and around the crease."
Tambroni said that maintaining a disciplined yet physical style of play
will be crucial to the team's success in the coming games at Denver and against
Since Tambroni's staff arrived in Happy Valley four years ago, the team has
taken on a "road warrior" identity. Last weekend's win marked the 14th-straight
true road victory, a streak that spans over three seasons.
"In order to be successful on the road you have to have great leadership
and the team needs to understand the mentality it takes of getting on the bus
or the plane," Tambroni said. "We approach those things in a more business-type
The Nittany Lions impressive road wins this season (at Notre Dame and at
Ohio State) have catapulted the team to its highest national ranking ever of
The road tests aren't over, however. This week the team will prepare for a
Monday night, mile-high showdown next week at No. 12 Denver.
"Our primary focus is rest," Tambroni said about this week of practice.
"We've been going pretty good since January and it gives the guys the chance to
hit the reset button academically and catch up on sleep."
With a few extra days to prepare, the team has a unique opportunity to get
some rest and still have a full week of practice.
"This will give us a chance to work more on Penn State and not just on our
opponent and game planning," Tambroni said.
Monday night's clash is set for 9 p.m. ET.
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - The hardware still resides in Happy Valley.
an emotional senior day, No. 12/8 Penn State (22-6, 13-3) topped Michigan
(17-12, 8-8), 77-62, to earn at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season
championship for the third straight season.
"It's pretty unbelievable," said
senior guard Maggie Lucas. "I don't think many people believed in this. People
within the program just worked so hard for this. I give a lot of credit to our
entire team. The young players bought into what we had to accomplish and
trusted the coaches and the older players in what it takes to get here. I'm so
proud to be a Lady Lion today."
For Lucas and her other senior
counterparts - Talia East, Ariel Edwards and Dara Taylor - the Class of 2014
claimed its third straight Big Ten regular-season title, a feat that the Blue
and White have never accomplished before.
"It's the first time in program
history that we have won three Big Ten Championships in a row," said Penn State
head coach Coquese Washington. "For a program that has such a storied legacy,
to be able to do something that this program hasn't done before, it's pretty
this being the third year in a row that the Lady Lions have won at least a
share of the regular season title, winning has not gotten old for the players
or the coaching staff.
"The confetti came down and I looked
at [Kris Petersen] and I told her, 'This doesn't get old,'" said senior
guard Dara Taylor. "It's an amazing feeling every time.... This one is special
just because of how hard we worked for it. The freshmen came in and bought in.
Our journey over this year just culminated on the floor today. I thought
everyone stepped up well and I'm just super proud of my team."
In seven seasons at the helm of the
Blue and White, Washington has taken the women's basketball program to new
heights. By winning yesterday the Lady Lions joined Ohio State and Iowa as the
only Big Ten teams to ever win three or more consecutive conference titles.
Not only was it senior day, but it
was also alumni day inside the Bryce Jordan Center. The current Lady Lions
certainly put on a show on the hardwood for the past Lady Lions in attendance.
"It's amazing to be able to share this [Big Ten title] with them [the alumni],"
said senior forward Ariel Edwards. "It's very rare that these two things happen
at the same time - Alumni Day and a Big Ten Championship. When you look around
you see so much history and it's amazing to see where we've been and how far
After the final horn sounded an incredible
scene ensued. The four seniors embraced one another with Washington in between.
Then each player took turns cutting down the net, followed by the team meeting
at half court to hug each other and the trophy.
"It is like Christmas morning for
parents when their kids open presents," said Washington. "Trust me, we've had
some days when they are running their tails off and it's hard work to winning a
championship. The moment where the confetti comes down and they accomplish what
they set out to accomplish, I just like watching them enjoy that moment."
All four seniors managed to score in
double-figures yesterday to cap off outstanding careers donning the blue and white,
making it a perfect end for a special class.
"They played like seniors," said
Washington. "They played the way you want seniors to play on senior night. They
came together and all had really good nights and played well for us, which all
culminated with a Big Ten Championship. It's a great way to go out."
Photo Gallery - Bench Press Max Out
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Nittany Lion
football team is just 13 days from returning to the practice field for the
start of spring drills, the group is not thinking about putting the pads back
on quite yet.
Led be Director of Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt, the football squad is
participating in a three-day physical testing period to measure the progress it
has made since winter conditioning began in January and to set a baseline leading
into the summer workout season.
The Nittany Lions kicked off the testing week on Monday by running the 40-yard
dash inside Holuba Hall and maxing out on the bench press in the weight
room. Tuesday's testing features
vertical testing, the shuttle run, broad jump and the power clean max out in
the weight room. The testing will
culminate on Wednesday with a squatting max out session in the weight room.
"You always want to do the 40s first. We
only do them once a year, and you want to get a really good time," Galt
said. "We always do that first. After that, we did the bench press. Then, we have all of our movement stuff. We have our pro shuttle, our vertical and our
broad jump. Then we have our power
clean. On Wednesday, we do our squat. Because once you do the squat you are kind of
done...The thing that I really believe in is that when they test, it is actually
a training day for us."
The testing period is evaluated by something Galt calls a "T-Score". The T-Score assigns values for each of the
events during the testing. The scale
ranges from 1-100, with 75 the number each athlete strives for on each
event. Galt said that 75 or better is a
good score, with a 90-100 score in the range of a higher draft pick in the
NFL. The score for each event is totaled
before taking the average. The final
average is the number Galt hopes to see at 75 or higher.
have very high expectations here of what that T-Score will be," Galt said.
Roughly eight weeks into the winter conditioning
program, Galt is confident in where the team is at during the final week of
strength and conditioning before the student-athletes are off for spring break
next week. The team has lifted three
days a week and conditioned during the early-morning hours the other two days.
"I feel good about where we are right now," Galt said. "One thing you are going to find out about me
is that we are an all-year around go (group).
We're going to lift on Friday after the winter workout. Then, we will take basically nine days off
(for spring break). Then they come
back. And the spring ball weight
training cycle is no different than the offseason. It is the same thing. We're going to crank all through spring
Where has Galt seen the most progress since he arrived on campus in mid-January?
"I think they've done a great job with strength and power," Galt said. "I had six really good speed workouts before
we started our winter workouts...We've made really good progress there, but we
have a ways to go (through the summer).
But from a strength and power standpoint, we're basically in our eighth
week. I think they've done a really good
job increasing that area of gain with a good lean mass. We've put some good size on the team. We've set some really good body weight
The winter workout period is often a time where the team leaders for the
upcoming season emerge. The players
battle through adversity in the weight room and during the conditioning tests,
setting up an opportunity for the players to establish themselves as leaders. While Galt mentioned a few names as guys who
have evolved as leaders for the 2014 season, he said that the thing that
impresses him most about the Nittany Lions is their workmanlike approach to
"We have great leadership," Galt said.
"The first week, we had no music (in the weight room). You've got to earn the music. Obviously, they've earned it because we are
cleaning our ears out (laughter). They
had to earn that, but by in large, these guys are typically just roll the
sleeves up, work and don't say much.
That's one thing that Coach Franklin and I'm working strongly is to get
them to be more vocal. But they work so
stinking hard that you don't need the motivation. They are very motivated."
The Nittany Lions are counting down the days before the start of spring
practice, but they have an eye on the bigger picture. The 2014 season is just around the corner,
and they have one thing in mind.
"We want to be the hardest working team in the country. No doubt.
We don't want anyone to be our peer in that area. That's what we always strive for," Galt said.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter
By Samantha DelRosso, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It took the Penn State men's gymnastics team only five minutes
to achieve a new season-high on the floor exercise on Saturday night. Each
routine, about a minute long each, showcased different skills to help the
Nittany Lions defeat No. 5 Minnesota with a season-high final score of 440.200.
The difference in the floor exercise from the team's previous meet
against Illinois to the meet against Minnesota was not the two-week long break
in between the meets, but the landings. Head coach Randy Jepson said the floor
is an event where the gymnasts must exhibit great landings. And sophomore
Alexis Torres did just that.
"Alexis only took one hop in his whole routine. It was outstanding.
That's what you look for," Jepson said. "We have been focusing a lot on those
landings. We started to see [sticking landings] tonight. Floor all around is
much better in terms of our landings."
Torres, who placed first in the floor exercise, hit his season-high on
the floor with a 15.650.
"I was just trying to stick everything. I wanted to do my best. Tonight,
I did my best score. I just go out there and do it and have fun," Torres said.
Torres said he feels comfortable with his current routine. For now, he
wants to work on being consistent with is routine; not changing anything and
continuing what he did in the meet against Minnesota.
"The routine that I have and the score that I'm scoring is pretty clean
and is pretty high, the highest I've been. In the future, I am going to work on
it, but now, where we are, it is about constant routines and nothing about
changing," Torres said.
As the fourth man in the five-man line up, Torres' has the opportunity
to watch his teammates before competing in the floor exercise. He chooses not
to. Instead, he tries to focus what he is going to do in his routine.
Junior Matt Felleman, however, does the opposite. As the third gymnast
in the lineup, he watches the teammates that compete before him.
"After they hit a good set I get pretty excited. If they mess up, I know
I have to set up and put a good performance on," Felleman said.
Felleman, who tied for second place on the floor routine, said he felt
his routine was the cleanest set he has hit all season. He recorded a
season-high score of 15.150, but noted that there is room for improvement.
"[I want to fix] the landings. I'm going to make sure I don't take any
silly hops here and there," Felleman said.
The meet was the final competition in Rec Hall for the seniors on the
team. Although it is an emotional moment for the four seniors, they know that
there is more work to be done.
"For me, [the fact that is what the last time competing in Rec Hall]
hasn't really sunk in. We still have a job to do," senior Wasef Burbar said.
"We still have a lot of meets left and most importantly, Big Tens and NCAAs, so
it definitely has not sunk in. I'm just
trying to stay focused on what's to come."
Jepson was pleased with the performance by the team and glad that it was
a great final home meet for the seniors. The team has faced two "solid" teams
back-to-back, Illinois and Minnesota, and Jepson said the team has stepped up and
responded well to adversity.
Good health helped the team beat Minnesota 440.200 to 431.500, as well. Many
of the gymnasts who have suffered from injuries this season made an appearance
"I like the heart I see and I was happy to see us get a little healthier
and get most of our line up to what it needed to be," Jepson said.
This weekend, the Nittany Lions will travel to Puerto Rico to compete in
the home country of Torres, Néstor Rodriguez and Ismael Sanabria.
PARK, Pa. - The 2014 Penn State wrestling team preps for
the Big Ten Championships at Wisconsin (March 8-9). Head coach Cael Sanderson, senior David Taylor and Ed Ruth as well as freshman Zain Retherford share their thoughts
heading into the tournament.