By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After everything that he has learned from Tim Frazier over the past three years, the least that D.J. Newbill could do for his teammate was make sure he experienced a win on his senior night against Ohio State.
Just as he did the last time the Nittany Lions took on the Buckeyes on Jan. 29, Newbill paved the way for a Penn State victory, scoring 23 points, including 17 in the second half as the Lions topped their conference rival, 65-63, in thrilling fashion.
"I know what (Frazier) has been through having to sit out last year," Newbill said. "I think that gave us momentum and I'm proud to be sitting next to my brother enjoying this win."
Looking for their first victory since Feb. 12 against Indiana, the Nittany Lions started off cold before heating up at the end of the first half and carrying their momentum through halftime as they swept their season series against Ohio State for the first time since the 1997-'98 season.
On a night in which both Frazier and fellow senior guard Zach Cooper were honored in a pregame ceremony, the Nittany Lions played one of their most complete games of the season, shooting 44 percent from the field while also outrebounding the Buckeyes, 34-25, an advantage that led to 15 second-chance points.
After consecutive losses to Iowa and Nebraska, head coach Patrick Chambers said that his team was merely fed up with losing.
"We got beat pretty good by Iowa and Nebraska and I think we were mad," Chambers said. "We came out and played desperate with a sense of urgency and we played angry."
The desperation started to kick in for the Nittany Lions about halfway through the first half, as the Buckeyes came out of the gates with a 10-2 run in the first 2:49 that led to a 22-11 lead with 8:54 remaining.
Not wanting to lose at home on his senior night, Frazier began to take over, scoring seven points down the stretch including a 3-pointer from the corner at the 2:19 mark as the Nittany Lions closed the half on a 15-6 run that left them trailing the Buckeyes just 28-26 at the break.
Although the Buckeyes opened the second half with a 5-0 run, the Blue and White quickly responded with a 12-2 run highlighted by a huge Brandon Taylor 3-pointer that gave Penn State a 36-35 lead, followed by a resounding put-back dunk by sophomore center Jordan Dickerson at the 13:53 mark that thrilled the boisterous fans in attendance.
"Jordan played terrific tonight and the future is bright for him," Chambers said. "Brandon Taylor hit that big shot and grabbed seven rebounds and those little plays really help a team with their confidence. We need contributions from everyone because we win and lose together as a unit."
Dickerson and Taylor were not the only Nittany Lion role players to step up and make major contributions against the 22nd-ranked Buckeyes.
Freshman guard Geno Thorpe was relentless on defense all night while tallying nine points and three rebounds off the bench, including a thrilling dunk off of a steal with 6:04 remaining to give his team a 52-49 lead.
"(Geno) was unbelievable and made a major impact," Chambers said. "With his steals, his quickness and athleticism and the way he moved without the ball, he was definitely a positive out there."
Newbill, who shot 5-of-9 from the field and 11-of-12 from the line, brought the fans to their feet once more when he drained a dagger of a 3-pointer with 3:59 remaining to give the Lions a 55-51 lead that they would not relinquish.
Though the Buckeyes would make one final run down the stretch, Lenzelle Smith's three clanked off the front of the rim at the buzzer as the Nittany Lion faithful stormed the court in celebration, bringing back memories to last year's senior night when the Nittany Lions defeated No.4 Michigan 84-78.
Frazier, who missed the game against Michigan because of his season-ending Achilles injury, made sure to soak the moment in as he watched the fans celebrate his senior night victory.
"To be a part of this tonight means a lot and is very special and I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to wear this jersey," Frazier said. "It was very emotional and I was basically trying to hold back tears. I've had a great career and to have it happen the way it happened tonight was very special."
The emotions that Frazier felt were certainly shared by Chambers, who couldn't have been happier to see his team get a win on the same night they honored their star point guard.
"(Tim) is an amazing man," Chambers said. "After the game him and I embraced for a lengthy time and today was definitely an emotional day for me."
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As a native of Sugar Land, Texas, Shelby Miller knew she wanted to leave her home state when it came time for college. She was ready to find a better fit and continue her softball career in a new place.
The second she stepped foot onto Penn State's campus, immediately seeing the people and the spirit, she was sold and ready to bleed blue and white throughout her collegiate career. Now, a few weeks into the 2014 season, the freshman is dominating at the plate and has really proved herself as one of the Lions' key starters.
"Shelby is playing great, especially for a freshman," said head coach Amanda Lehotak. "She struggled a little bit this fall. Freshman usually come in and taste failure for the first time, and she kind of went through that, but I give all the credit in the world to Shelby. She really grew up over break and the month of January, and she has shown great character. She just is really learning a deep understanding of the game, is being a tough out right now, and is really doing great for a freshman at this level."
Miller currently leads the Lions' in hitting with a .429 batting average and has recorded at least one hit in each of the team's last three games.
This past weekend alone, Miller went 2-for-3 against No. 5 Kentucky and drove in the team's only run of the game. Nevertheless, Miller does not like to overthink these accomplishments, as she believes producing at the plate is a mental battle.
"Batting is mainly about confidence," said Miller. "If you think you're going to get a hit, you're going to get a hit. I know to stay playing and to stay in the lineup, I have to hit and do my job."
While the freshman thinks of hitting in a mental sense, her coach feels Miller's overall athleticism is the true key to her offensive success. Lehotak also believes Miller's athleticism is an integral part of the team's defense. The freshman originally came to Penn State as an infielder, but has been incredibly flexible, demonstrating her ability to play in a number of positions for the Lions.
"She's probably one of our biggest well-rounded athletes," said Lehotak. "She's a triple threat from the left side, which is super fun. She can bunt, slap, and hit, which just opens up her field for success. We don't have a lot of that right now, so that is a huge part of our line-up that we need and she provides. Then really, back to her athleticism, she came here as an infielder. With her being able to play so many positions, we can move her to the outfield right now so she can keep learning the infield."
Miller's freshman status makes her stellar play all the more impressive and really increases the overall depth of this Penn State squad, which is something her coach truly appreciates.
"Whenever a freshman can come in and get playing time right away, it just makes you that much stronger as a team," said Lehotak of Miller. "Everybody loves freshman, but you really don't know what to expect. It's such a different level mentally, physically, and academically. For a freshman to be able to come up, step in, and kind of grab and maintain that starting role is huge. It just allows you to do more with your offensive and defensive lineup."
Headed into this weekend, the team will travel to Virginia for the JMU invitational. While Miller is very happy with her personal success, she has one major goal on her mind for these next few games - winning.
"I want to beat everyone," said Miller. "We need to get our record back where it needs to be, and I just want to go out there and blow out everyone. We need to get back to where we were the first couple weekends."
Lehotak wants the same thing from her team as Miller. She expects to see her team fight and to see her team demonstrate extreme mental toughness.
"I just expect us to get back to the little things, doing the little things well," said Lehotak. "I would like to see some more fight from us. The first two weeks, I really complimented us on our fight, and then this past week, I felt like we got frustrated and lost our fight, which I think is just part of learning and part of the grind. Week three is always that week where you get kind of tired from all the traveling and everything. Hopefully, we get back to that grind a little bit and get back to our style of softball versus letting outside factors of umpires and things like that take control of us. We need to get back to controlling what we can control and playing our style of ball."
By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Throughout the early parts of the 2013-14 season, there was a question looming at each of head coach Guy Gadowsky's press conferences. It was a question he didn't have the answer for, but it was something that was on his mind.
"When is Casey Bailey going to start scoring?"
Bailey had been such a major contributor during the team's inaugural Division I season, but he never really found that rhythm early in his sophomore campaign.
As a freshman, he was one of only four Nittany Lions to skate in all 27 games, leading the team in points (27), power-play goals (4), and finishing second in goals (14) and assists (13).
Bailey was getting his shots in the games, practicing hard, and playing "his style" of hockey. The results, however, just weren't there.
Then, on Feb. 1 at Ohio State, everything started to change. Bailey found his groove.
"I think he final stopped thinking about scoring goals and was just focused on playing high-quality hockey like he used to," Gadowsky said. "When we first recruited him, what really attracted us to him [Casey] was how hard he worked back-checking, how hard he worked fore-checking and how many battles he won in the corners. He is a very instinctual player...and he does a lot of little things."
Gadowsky also thinks it might be a little divine intervention.
"When you are playing really good, quality hockey like Casey has all season, the hockey gods seem to shine on you," Gadowsky said. "I believe that's what you see now. I think he was pressing so hard thinking he had to score goals early in the year. He is still focused on scoring now, but he's letting them [goals] come to him rather than forcing things."
Over the course of the last month, Bailey's shots started to find the back of the net, while his passes couldn't be crisper and more on point. The Anchorage, Alaska, native started to gel with his line mates and bring out the best in them, too.
"At the beginning of the season, I was just trying to do too much," said Bailey. "I think I really calmed down here in the second half, and I'm finding my stride with new line mates, and I think I'm building confidence each game.
"I kind of just put it [scoring] in the back of my mind and focused on doing the small things. I think when you do the little things, the goals just come a little easier."
Specifically, Bailey has been a key contributor during the month of February. Against then-No. 10 Michigan in Ann Arbor last weekend, the sophomore contributed two goals in Penn State's win over the Wolverines on Friday night.
Those two goals gave him six points in eight games on the month, which more than doubled his season totals entering February. He had two goals and two assist from Oct. 11-Jan. 31, but put up five goals and one assist over the last 27 days, with a chance to add more on Friday at Minnesota.
"I think, and I'm sure Casey would agree, when you start thinking about it [scoring] too much it can be a distraction," forward David Goodwin said. "For Casey, both his goals this weekend were one-timers. He just shot the puck, and that's what Casey does. If he can just shoot the puck with confidence and have some fun out there and let the game come to him, I think that is when he has the most success, and I think we saw that this weekend."
Bailey is currently fifth on the team with ten points and his seven goals tie him for second with Goodwin, and trail only Eric Scheid's 11 goals. The sophomore is not being shy about shooting the puck, either, launching 94 shots to lead the team.
As Penn State prepares to hit the road again this weekend for a showdown with Big Ten leader and No. 2 Minnesota, you can bet the sophomore is anxious to get back on the ice and continue his strong play.
"I just want to bring as much offense as I can to the games," said Bailey. "I'm a shooter. I need to get pucks to the net and I want to get to the net. So I think it's all about doing the little things: getting the pucks behind the defense, getting the pucks to the net and doing those little things. Then the chances will come."
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Week in and week out the Penn State women's gymnastics team strives to "compete how they practice." Head coach Jeff Thompson believes that this is the key to winning big meets and scoring a lot of points. For seniors Lindsay Musgrove and Kassidy Stauder, being consistent comes naturally, but it's the little details that prove to be the most difficult.
"Gymnastics is based on the tiny little details," Musgrove said. "Nerves make you a little shaky or you might want to push harder to do better in a meet, but that never works in your favor. That is why we try to compete how we train every single day. We have been sticking all the time in practice, so we just have to keep doing the same thing."
Over the past few weeks, the Nittany Lions have not only been consistent, they have been putting up impressive scores. Coming off of a 196.150-197.225 loss to No.8 Nebraska on Feb.8, Penn State used the close match as a measuring stick of comparison, realizing they can compete against the big teams. The Feb. 15 match proved just that: Penn State beat No.15 Illinois 196.675-195.600.
"That meet against Illinois really built our confidence," Musgrove said. "We have been working on all of the little details in practice and we are hoping to see the same thing happen this weekend."
The Nittany Lions return to Rec Hall this Friday after winning a quad meet at Rutgers last weekend, besting Rutgers, Temple and Ursinus with a first place score of 195.825. Penn State will host a quad meet of its own Friday at 7 p.m., welcoming Yale, Western Michigan and Bridgeport to Happy Valley. This Friday's quad meet will be senior night for Musgrove and Stauder, who will be competing in Rec Hall for the last time before the Nittany Lions host the Big Ten Championships on March 22.
To encourage the mantra of "competing how you practice," Coach Thompson offers a "word of the week" for his Nittany Lions to use as inspiration in practice and on the competition floor. For this week, the word is "navigate." Penn State returned home last weekend with another "W," but was forced to navigate around an injury suffered by junior all-arounder Randi Lau.
"This weekend is going to be a true test of how well we did navigate with Randi being out," Musgrove said. "We have to replace her on every event, so we have girls coming back from their injuries to compete this weekend."
Friday's quad meet is the first home meet in almost a month that is not a double dual and Musgrove said that the team would miss having the men's gymnastics team cheering them on.
"Quad meets are really exciting and full of energy," Musgrove said. "I am looking forward to the whole meet over all. It is our last home meet before the Big Tens. Right now, we are trying to get the best home scores we can get so that we will be ranked at the best sport possible."
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Penn State women's hockey team is preparing for the College Hockey America Tournament, some student-athletes can't help but reflect on their careers that are nearing an end.
"This team has meant the world to me throughout my Penn State career," said graduate student Lindsay Reihl.
The assistant captain has appeared in all 69 games that the Nittany Lions have played since moving to the Division I level of competition in 2012-13. Her consistency, durability and gritty efforts have been a cog in the Blue and White's defense since the birth of the program and she earned the "A" patch prior to the 2012-13 campaign.
"She has had a fabulous run here at Penn State," said head coach Josh Brandwene. "She's been at her best when she is making consistent simple decisions and I've been really pleased with her play and her efforts these past years. She is someone with experience and is a veteran Penn Stater so assistant captain was a great fit for her."
On and off the ice, the 5-foot-4 defender has helped her team grow into the best, cohesive unit that it can be. She joined the club team in 2009 as a freshman and earned Defensive Player of the Year honors her freshman, sophomore and junior campaigns.
"I watched this team grow from the club level to the varsity level and being a part of that was something that was unique and is a huge part of me and my identity here,' Reihl said.
Currently earning her master's degree in academic counseling, Reihl plans to remain in Happy Valley the next few years to complete her degree and then pursue a career as an educational counselor at the high school level. This is her last season competing collegiately, but she knows that the sport of hockey and Penn State will stay close to her for a lifetime.
"There are girls on this team that I know I will be lifelong friends with," she said. "I'm sure I'll play hockey in the future because I'll always be playing hockey...but nothing will compare to this level or playing at Penn State."
Reihl's impact on the coaching staff and her teammates has been undeniable in her time wearing the blue and white.
"Her poise and how she conducts herself as a mentor has been very beneficial for this young team and I am very appreciative," Brandwene said.
"Lindsay has been there for me the whole season and she has really helped me develop and taught me a lot," said freshman defender Kelly Seward.
Reihl is one of five student-athletes that will be suiting up for the last time this season. Seniors Taylor Gross, Jenna Welch, Nicole Paniccia and graduating junior Tess Weaver join her. Although the program is young, these departing Nittany Lions are confident that team will continue to grow after they graduate.
"The younger girls on this team are absolutely going to carry the team for the next few years and it is going to continue to develop into an amazing program," Reihl said.
This weekend, the team heads to Rochester, N.Y., for a three-game playoff series with RIT. The winner of the series will advance to play No. 1 seed Mercyhurst in Erie, Pa.
"Heading into the playoffs--I'm excited but I'm sad that it is going to be my last handful of games," Reihl said.
Penn State dropped three of the four contests with the Tigers this season and earned a 2-2 tie against the rival squad at home in January. Friday's puck drop is set for 7 p.m., Saturday's game will begin at 2 p.m. and Sunday's game--if necessary--will also faceoff at 2 p.m.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State returns to action in the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday following a week off from the game floor.
The Nittany Lions (13-14, 4-10) host No. 20 Ohio State (22-6, 9-6) at 7 p.m. (ESPN2) for Senior Night. The Lions knocked off the Buckeyes after D.J. Newbill drained a game-winning jumper with two seconds left in overtime. Penn State had two days off following the Nebraska game on Feb. 20 before getting back to work in the practice gym. Now, the Lions are focused on being the best team they can be when the calendar turns to March.
"We are competing at a really high level," head coach Patrick Chambers said. "We are playing against some really good teams...We need to finish strong and be the best team we can be by the end of the year. We've got to win today. That's my message. We've got to keep developing great habits that will put us in a great position to be successful."
Take a look through some things to watch for in Penn State's second matchup against Ohio State.
VIDEO: Ohio State Preview
Head coach Patrick Chambers and several Nittany Lions previewed Thursday's game against the Buckeyes. Take a look.
Frazier and Cooper to Be Honored
While their final home game in Blue and White will take place on Sunday against Wisconsin, seniors Tim Frazier and Zach Cooper will be recognized before Thursday night's tip against the Buckeyes. Frazier's impact on the Penn State program has been immense, both on and off the floor. He is a model student-athlete in the classroom, a tireless worker on the floor and a superb leader. Cooper's path to Penn State began at Gulf Coast State where he played in 2011-'12. Cooper was added to the Penn State roster as a preferred walk-on at the beginning of the fall semester in 2012. Often competing against Frazier in the practice gym, Cooper's influence on the team has been invaluable. A relentless player in the practice gym and a leader for the younger players, Cooper brings outstanding effort to the floor every time he laces up his shoes. We will have much more on the Nittany Lion seniors before the final home game of the season on Sunday against No. 14 Wisconsin.
Success Starts With Defense
Ask any one of the Nittany Lion players what the key to Thursday's second game against the Buckeyes is and they will all answer the same way - defense. Regardless of its record, the Penn State Basketball foundation remains the same. Coach Chambers wants to see his team defending and rebounding as a collective unit. Good effort on the defensive end of the floor will contribute to good offense. The Nittany Lions rank fifth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (41.3 percent). Defending the perimeter will be key against the Buckeyes.
Scouting Ohio State
The Buckeyes tallied an unblemished record during the non-conference season (13-0), before notching victories at Purdue and over Nebraska at home to open the season 15-0. Ohio State was ranked as high as No. 2 in the USA Today Top 25 in early December. However, the Buckeyes reached a stretch in January where they dropped five out of six games. Nonetheless, Ohio State kick-started a string of six wins in its last seven outings with victories over Wisconsin and Iowa. The Buckeyes enter Thursday's game on a three-game winning streak after triumphs against Illinois, Northwestern and Minnesota.
Junior forward LaQuinton Ross leads the Buckeyes in scoring at 14.3 points per game. Senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. is the second Ohio State player averaging double-figures (11.8 points per game). Among the top point guards in the nation, senior Aaron Craft does a little bit of everything for Ohio State. Craft is averaging 9.5 points, a team-best 4.6 assists, 3.4 rebounds and a Big Ten-leading 2.6 steals per game. Craft has started 104-straight games for the Buckeyes. Junior forward Amir Williams is Ohio State's leading rebounder at 6.0 per game. Williams is ranked second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage at 60 percent.
Ohio State is the Big Ten's top defensive team. The Buckeyes are allowing just 58.1 points per contest on 39.8 percent shooting. Ohio State tops the conference in 3-point defense (27.0 percent for opponents behind the arc). Additionally, the Buckeyes lead the conference in turnover margin at +3.32.
Following the 71-70 overtime victory in Columbus on Jan. 29, the Nittany Lions are seeking their first regular season sweep of the Buckeyes since the 1997-'98 season.
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PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey team was on the ice for practice on Tuesday
(Feb. 25) after splitting a weekend series at No. 10 Michigan. The Nittany
Lions enter the week at 6-20-2 overall after collecting a season split with the
On Tuesday, we caught up with head coach Guy Gadowsky and freshman David Thompson to talk about the series at Michigan, playing in tough environments and the challenges that No. 2 Minnesota will present this weekend at Mariucci Arena with the voice of Penn State men's hockey, Brian Tripp.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky
Defenseman David Thompson
By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lions got back into the win column Tuesday night when they defeated in-state rival Duquesne, 11-7. Head coach Missy Doherty is now 3-0 when facing the Dukes.
Penn State overcame a slow start to earn the victory. The Nittany Lions and the Dukes gutted it out for the first 30 minutes, with Doherty's squad ahead by only one.
At halftime, Doherty, an excellent motivator, gave a rousing speech to her team as she told them to overcome the challenges they faced in the first half and reminded them what it's going to take to win this game.
The Nittany Lion defense was playing well, but the offense was still getting its feet set in the first stanza. Penn State scored five goals, two each from Maggie McCormick and Mackenzie Cyr, as well as a goal from Kristin Brent, her first this season.
The Penn State offense was clearly not content after the first half. The Dukes struck first, a mere 20 seconds into the second half. Another eight minutes would go by with the team's trading goals. With 23:42 left in the second half, Duquesne had a one-goal lead over the Nittany Lions.
Then, it was almost as if the Nittany Lions turned on a switch, and it was time to get going.
Penn State started stringing together goals and showing off the kind of offense they are. Over the last 22 minutes of the game, the blue and white scored five goals and completely shut down the Duquesne offense.
It was a completely different story of two halves for the Nittany Lions.
"They shot it a little better [in the second half]," Doherty said. "We had a couple better opportunities. We did a good job of just keeping the tempo down in our offensive end and picking out good chances to score."
In the first half the Penn State had a shot advantage of only 12-7. In the second half they dominated that category, outshooting the Dukes 18-4. Not only were they outshooting Duquesne, the chances they were generating for each other were outstanding. It was as if every play Doherty yelled out to her attackers and midfielders was working exactly as she and her coaches wanted.
The success, however, wasn't only in shots. After splitting the draw controls in the first half with the Dukes, 5-5, the Nittany Lions dominated the second half, 7-3. They forced their opponent into 22 turnovers and grabbed ten more ground balls.
"They know they can pick it up," Doherty said. "We have had, the past two games, a hard time putting the ball away. We have had some good shots, some good opportunities and we haven't been capitalizing on it. It's a mental approach to getting the ball and knowing you're going to score, as opposed to questioning whether you're going to be able to make it. Just encouraging them to approach it strong and aggressive and confident. That was a little bit of the message at halftime."
It was a completely different team in Holuba Hall during the second half, the kind of team the Nittany Lions want to be. They looked strong, composed, and ready to take on anyone. Doherty, however, was just excited about earning this win.
"Duquesne is always tough," Doherty said. "They have really good athletes and a good goalie. So we were always ready for a fight and that's what we got tonight and thankfully they finished the game pretty strong."
The Nittany Lions now prepare to hit the road this weekend for a huge contest against Virginia. As of Monday night, the Cavaliers were ranked No. 9 this season with a record of 1-3. The last time these two teams met Penn State topped Virginia, 15-14, scoring with 1:47 left in the game to seal it.
This time, the Nittany Lions are focused on changing that result.
"It's still clear the things we need to work on, and playing Virginia on Saturday is a huge game for us," Doherty said. "We just have to be ready to come and work on the things that we're struggling with, but also continue to play strong in the areas that we're doing well."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Take an inside look at one of Penn State's 5:30
a.m. workouts with special teams coordinator and running backs coach Charles
Huff. We had Coach Huff mic'd up for a
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