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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 8 Penn State Football returns to the road this week, traveling to Rutgers for primetime matchup at High Point Solutions Stadium set for 8 p.m. on BTN.
The Nittany Lions (8-2, 6-1) and the Scarlet Knights (2-8, 0-7) are set to meet in their third consecutive night game in the 27th all-time meeting between the two teams.
On a six-game winning streak, Penn State will also look to channel its momentum into another strong start as the Nittany Lions enter the matchup having scored a touchdown in the opening drive in four of the last five games, including each of the last three straight.
Although starting fast last week, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley helped the Nittany Lions rally back from a double digit deficit to top Indiana on the road, 62-24. Logging his third career 300-yard passing performance, McSorley completed 16-of-30 attempts, throwing two touchdowns.
McSorley was also especially effective in executing long yardage pass plays, totaling eight completions of 20 or more yards against the Hoosiers. He is currently ranked first nationally in the FBS standings in passing yards per completion, averaging 15.93 on the year.
The Nittany Lions punctuated the comeback win with a 9-yard touchdown from defensive end Torrence Brown, who scooped up Indiana's fifth fumble of the game, returning the recovery for his first career touchdown. On the year, Penn State's three defensive touchdowns are ranked second in the Big Ten and 11th nationally in the FBS standings.
Rutgers enters Saturday's matchup looking to snap a seven-game skid. Saturday's outing is senior day for the Scarlet Knights, as they return home from a loss on the road at Michigan State last week. With first year head coach Chris Ash at the helm of the program, Rutgers will look to earn its first win against a ranked opponent since 2009, preparing to take on their fourth ranked opponent of the season.
"Rutgers, we are excited about this game and this opportunity," Penn State head coach James Franklin said. "In recent history, the last couple games we've had some success. We had a really tough game down at their place, an emotional game in a tough environment, but found a way to get a win in 2014."
Watch For: Penn State
1. Penn State's offensive line has been through adversity, most recently with injuries sidelining at least three starters at offensive line. Despite the adversity, Penn State's offensive line has paved the way for the Nittany Lion offense to rack up more than 400 yards in seven of 10 games, which marks as the most since totaling seven in 2013. It's a true "next man up" mentality for the unit right now as Franklin had high praise for the perseverance group of the week, especially noting the leadership of senior center Brian Gaia.
"I think you'd have a hard time having a true freshman or redshirt freshman at both guards without that type of leadership on the inside," Franklin said.
2. While Nittany Lion fans have certainly been dazzled by some clutch athletic catches by tight end Mike Gesicki, both Franklin and tight ends coach Ricky Rahne have not only seen grown in his confidence and production. Rather, both have noticed Gesicki making strides in blocking and pass protection.
There have been some times when he has made some very big, critical blocks that have helped him to spring Saquon [Barkley] and get him loose, as well as other guys," Rahne said. "The other thing that I have been really proud of him is in the passing game. When we have asked him to be a pass protector, he has done really well at it and it's allowed us to throw the ball down the field, to give a couple of different looks to the defense where maybe we might have a seven-man protection and that sort of deal."
3. In the past few weeks, Franklin has highlighted how the special teams unit has been especially effective in securing solid field positioning and drive start average, areas where he also stressed has been significant in the team's improvement from last year to this year.
"I still think we can be more consistent with our punt location and our kick location and the consistency of those balls, but I'm really pleased with how those units are playing right now," Franklin said.
Watch For: Rutgers
1. In the last three games, quarterback Giovanni Rescigno has earned the starting job for the Scarlet Knights. With seven touchdowns on the year (five passing, two rushing), he highlighted the Indiana game throwing for a career high 258 yards with two touchdowns, one rushing and one passing. Averaging 127.6 passing yards per game, Rescigno is 57-for-108 on the year with 638 passing yards.
2. Rutgers is among the Big Ten's best at defending the passing game, limiting its opponents to 193.2 yards through the air. The mark ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 23rd nationally in the Big Ten standings. Rutgers' Blessaun Austin currently ranks second in the conference and fourth nationally with 1.6 passes defended per game with 13 pass breakups and one interception.
3. Franklin noted earlier this week that with every new staff change there's a period of adjustment. Noting that Rutgers has a variety of talent in several different areas, he also stressed that with with the transition, there comes a time where eventually things will begin to click.
"I think this is a team that is kind of just waiting for the light to go on for them and have their moment," Franklin said. "They have all the pieces of the puzzle to be successful."
The Final Word -
Last time Penn State traveled to Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights were making their Big Ten conference debut. In front of a record crowd at High Point Solutions Stadium, the Nittany Lions gritted out a 13-10 road win, rallying behind from a 10-point deficit. Although in the past, Penn State has already proved resilient this year, having battled back from double figure deficits on three occasions this season, the most in a single season since at least 1970.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After closing out the opening stretch of the season with a 2-1 mark, Penn State basketball is back in action, heading to Uncasville, Connecticut for the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament at Mohegan Sun.
The Nittany Lions are set to square off against top-ranked Duke in the first semifinal, marking the first time Penn State will take on a No. 1 ranked team since 2011.
Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers met with members of the media Thursday to preview the weekend, while also taking a quick look back at the five-day stretch.
Offensively, the Nittany Lions are surging, with a total of five Nittany Lions averaging double figures. Led by 17.7 points per game from freshman Lamar Stevens, Penn State has matched its targeted 80 points in all three outings, averaging nearly 83 points per game to date.
Stevens has also been impressive from the free throw line at 23-for-25 on the year following a 12-for-13 showing against Duquesne and a perfect 5-for-5 mark against Grand Canyon.
Chambers also noted he has been pleased with ball distribution as the Nittany Lions head into the weekend having tallied at least 20 assists in back-to-back outings against Duquesne and Grand Canyon for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Through three games, Tony Carr, Shep Garner and Terrence Samuel all have double figure assists. Carr's leading the way with 14 assists, averaging 4.6 per game, coming off of a career-high six assists against the Lopes.
As Chambers was quick to point out though, the positive offensive numbers a certainly terrific for an offensive minded person, but not necessarily the best representation of all around balance.
"Rebounding is a major concern of mine right now, we have to do a much better job in that area right now," Chambers said.
Penn State has not outrebounded its opponent in any game this season with Julian Moore's nine boards against Grand Canyon as the Nittany Lions' single game high this year.
Postgame against Grand Canyon, Chambers stressed that his solution would be a larger emphasis on gang rebounding, but that's also part of the learning process, especially with a relatively young team.
"I've done more rebounding drills than I've done in the past five," Chambers said "We just have to get the younger guys to understand because they are incredible athletes, they don't think they need to do it. Now after three games, they see."
Looking back on those three games, the Nittany Lions are ready to move forward to the next tough challenge, which could potentially bring matchups against at least two Top 25 ranked opponents on consecutive days this weekend.
The focus through the midpoint of the week though isn't placing all the focus on one team or one weekend, but rather what's ahead in the big picture with the Big Ten season drawing closer each week. Getting there all starts with working on habits and the simple things.
"Our focus is on Penn State and getting Penn State better," Chambers said. "We worked on us today, we have great teams obviously at this tournament, so it's going to be great to see our guys to see what we need to do and where we need to go."
Looking at Duke
At 2-1 on the year, the top-ranked Blue Devils enter Saturday's matchup coming off of a 77-75 loss to Kansas in the State Farm Champions Classic.
Averaging 88.3 points per game, Duke is shooting just below 50 percent from the field. Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard at averaging at least 17 points per game with Allen leading the way with 17.7 per outing.
"They're shooting the heck out of the ball from three right now," Chambers said. "From two, they have a very good percentage. They're getting to the free throw line. They're shooting - they're making more than their opponents are even attempting. They are doing some great things and they're doing exactly what Coach K wants his team to do."
Another area Chambers pointed out, the Blue Devils' potent perimeter defense. On the year, Duke has limited its opponents to a .148 clip from behind the arc, holding its opponents to 2.7 3-points per game.
The second Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament game Saturday features No. 21/22 Rhode Island and No. 24/25 Cincinnati. The winners of each semifinal will advance to Sunday's championship at 12:30 p.m., with the losers meeting in the consolation game at 3 p.m.
By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's cross country team is headed to Terre Haute, IN for the 2016 Division I Cross Country Championships, being held this Saturday, Nov. 19th.
After taking first at the Mid-Atlantic Regional at their home course last Friday, the Nittany Lions are ready to take on national competition.
"After winning regionals, I think the momentum shifted significantly. After getting 2nd at Big Tens, we were extremely upset so the negative momentum from Big Tens made us angry and that pushed us to fight at regionals," said redshirt sophomore Greta Lindsley. "So for nationals, I think coming in with a win beforehand, it's a much healthier approach and it'll be fueled straight from confidence instead of wanting redemption."
"Winning the regional meet did give us confidence moving forward and I think we will use that confidence going into the NCAA meet. We are all ready and doing well at nationals would be a great way to end the season," said freshman Kathryn Munks. "There are many talented teams at the NCAA Championship and it would be awesome to show them what Penn State's made of."
The women's team is currently ranked 8th in the nation according to latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) poll. The team has performed well all throughout the season and are hoping to continue this at the upcoming championships.
"Our team has had a steady progression this season, with regionals being our best team performance yet," said junior Elizabeth Chikotas. "We are excited to see how we can do against national competition and improve upon our 16th place finish last year.
Going into nationals last year, the women's team was ranked 10th in the nation. They ended up getting 16th overall and are hoping to improve and place even higher this year.
"Last year we came in ranked 10th," said Lindsley. "This year, I think since we've had a year to mature and grow, we aren't going to be happy just to be there, we want to execute and show how good of a team we are. If we can all click on Saturday together, it could be a really awesome day."
"We all want to place higher, I think we can definitely shoot for top 10 if everyone continues to run consistently, maybe we are capable of a higher place finish. Penn State's best team showing was 6th back in 1982, it would be awesome to top that and make 2016 a year for the record books," said Chikotas. "Either way, I am confident in myself and my teammates based on our work ethic and ability to race hard and compete."
For some of the women's team, this will be their first national level competition. That group includes Munks, who has consistently run in the top 5 runners on the team, is feeling confident going into this Saturday.
"I'm feeling excited about going to my first NCAA meet, I've put in a lot of work starting in the summer and throughout the whole season. It's very rewarding being able to go to a national meet and to show myself, the coaches, and the rest of the NCAA what I can do," said Munks. "Also I feel that we have a strong team and are ready to do well and have fun at nationals."
The women's race is set to 11 a.m. ET at Indiana State's LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, IN.
By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's soccer team showed a never give up attitude and flashes of excitement through a challenging and grueling 2016 campaign.
"They never stopped themselves," said head coach Bob Warming. "They're super bright, super competitive and they kept on battling. If we keep doing that, I don't see a way we can be stopped."
Warming wishes that the Nittany Lions would still be playing into the latter half of November, but that's not stopping him and his team from preparing for improvement next season. He's already hit the recruiting trail early and has met with Penn State's new director of sports performance in regards to improvement in the growing sports science areas of GPS and heart rate monitoring.
"You can't spend a whole lot of time looking back but it's important to look back to see where you need to improve," said Warming. "You have to look within your current team and you have to look at what you're doing training and fitness wise and not repeat exactly what you've done and look at the trends in the sport to build your team to be more successful."
Warming saw young players like quick-footed Dayonn Harris and All-Big Freshman selection Pierre Reedy make tremendous strides in their games, while the senior class played their last games as Penn State student-athletes.
"The seniors are just the greatest bunch of guys," said Warming. "Mason Klerks came here a part of the Schreyer Honors College. He's a fantastic human being and helps other people all the time. Robby Sagel transferred in and is an incredible player. I wish we had him for another year. He's made so much progress in the last year and a half."
When the Nittany Lions take the pitch next season, four-year starter, three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection and prolific goal scorer Connor Maloney won't be dazzling opponents for the Blue and White, instead doing so in the professional ranks.
"Connor Maloney is someone everyone has appreciated watching," said Warming. "This was a very, very, very special player. We'll miss him. Players make things special and his abilities were special and the other guys are just the greatest guys."
Not only did Connor fill highlight reels with incredible goals and moves, he led the team passionately. He wore the captain armband with pride and honor.
"All the guys had a great role model," said Warming. "He brought an energy and enthusiasm to the team that was noticeable when you walked out to training."
Even with Connor's departure, there will be a Maloney on the team next year and that's Connor's younger brother, Austin. When looking back at the 2016 season, Warming reflected upon Austin's first collegiate goal on a game-winning double overtime penalty kick as one of the more memorable moments of the year.
"It's a frozen moment in time because everybody is quiet," Warming said. "Everybody is watching. It takes forever it seems like and then there's a rush of emotion. All the guys going to pile on him."
That moment was one of the many that Warming and is team will look back on fondly.
The Nittany Lions finished 8-8-2 (4-4-0 Big Ten) in an exciting and up and down 2016 campaign. Along the way Warming recorded his 450th win, the team had memorable moments, and built an exciting foundation for the years ahead.
By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State cruised into the 2016 NCAA tournament's second round by defeating Bucknell handedly, 6-0, in the round of 64.
It was the second-largest margin of victory of any first round match. South Carolina's 7-0 romp of Alabama State was the only match that was more lopsided.
Things get a tad hairy moving forward for the Nittany Lions, however.
Penn State travels to the nation's capital for a date Friday with No. 15 Virginia in what should be one of the most competitive matches of the second round.
Immediately after the match, the hosts, No. 5 Georgetown, will face off against one of Penn State's most familiar foes, No. 22 Rutgers.
The pod of four is arguably one of the toughest to survive in the entire tournament, with all four teams being realistic contenders to reach the College Cup.
Head coach Erica Dambach finds herself in the rare position of underdog in the early stages in the NCAA tournament. The Lions are the only unranked team in the Georgetown pod.
"This is a fun role for our group," Dambach said. "We've talked about it and they're excited to be in that role without the target on their back and go after a team that's got more pressure on them, so I think it allows us to play with more freedom."
"It's definitely less pressure on us, which is awesome," forward Megan Schafer said. "I think that a lot of us aren't used to being in this role, so it's definitely a new experience for us but it's a great role to have, and I'm excited to get on the road."
No. 15 Virginia (14-4-2)- The Cavaliers are coming off a 4-1 first-round victory against Monmouth.
Virginia's best results in the regular season were a win against No. 11 Notre Dame and draws against No. 6 North Carolina and No. 10 Florida State. The Cavaliers also tied No. 1 West Virginia in a preseason bout.
Virginia is led up top by ACC leading scorer Alexis Shaffer. Shaffer has netted 13 goals and tallied six assists in 2016, both tops on the team.
The senior also leads the team in minutes played (1471) this year.
"Just being aware of her, making sure that we're defending players with numbers, that we're not getting isolated," Dambach said.
Virginia is ninth in the country in scoring average at 2.45 goals per game, thanks in large part to Shaffer. Veronica Latsko and Taylor Ziemer are prime contributors as well, with eight and seven goals on the year, respectively.
"We know that they have a really good attack," defender Alina Ortega-Jurado said. "We're trying to stop them early on in the field so they can't really hurt us back in our half of the field."
No. 5 Georgetown (17-2-3)- The Hoyas are one of the hottest teams in the tournament. They've lost only one game in their last 20 matches, and they kept it rolling with a 2-0 win against St. Francis (Pa.) in round one.
Although Virginia is an elite offensive team, the Hoyas are even better.
Georgetown possesses the fourth-highest scoring offense in the country at 2.55 goals per game, led by three players with double-digit goals.
Grace Damaska (14 goals), Rachel Corboz (10 goals), and Crystal Thomas (10 goals) highlight one of the most prolific scoring attacks in the country. Corboz also leads the country with 14 assists.
As good as Georgetown's attack is, its defense is almost as impressive. The Hoyas rank 17th in the nation in goals allowed average (0.64).
The Hoyas played both Rutgers and Virginia earlier this season. They defeated Rutgers 2-1 and Virginia 3-2. Their most impressive win was a 1-0 overtime win against No. 1 West Virginia.
No. 22 Rutgers (12-4-6)- Rutgers and Penn State, as conference rivals, have battled to close finishes over and over for the past year.
The Lions got the best of the Scarlet Knights last season with a 2-0 victory in the NCAA tournament, but Rutgers has had their number this season.
The two foes fought to a 2-2 draw in the regular season, but Rutgers knocked Penn State out of the Big Ten tournament with a 2-0 victory. The Scarlet Knights eventually lost to Minnesota in the championship.
Rutgers defeated Harvard, 3-0, in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Madison Tiernan leads the Scarlet Knights in goals with 10, and Nicole Whitley has dished out 10 assists to pace the team.
The staple to Rutgers' game is physicality. With 205 fouls on the year, the Scarlet Knights are one of a handful of teams to eclipse the 200-foul mark.
Each possible opponent presents vastly different challenges to the Nittany Lions, but the team proved last year it isn't scared of anyone.
This weekend will feature some close, gritty matchups. Whoever escapes the pod will have a good chance to reach the College Cup.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State pass game coordinator and tight ends coach Ricky Rahne took time to speak with members of the media Thursday afternoon during Rutgers week.
The Nittany Lions remain on the road this week, set to square off against Rutgers in a primetime matchup at 8 p.m. from High Point Solutions Stadium.
Check out a
few updates from this afternoon's Q&A session with Coach Rahne.
On the progress of
tight ends Tom Pancoast and Jonathan Holland.
Rahne: I think with Tom, he has been steady for us all year. He has done some nice things on special teams, kickoff return and PAT field goal and he has a couple of other roles and some back up roles. He has done a nice job for us there. When Mike [Gesicki] got nicked up a little bit in the Ohio State game, he went in there and he did a nice job for us. He helped us move the ball and be able to go down and get the one touchdown before the half, and all of those sort of things. We've been excited about him and how consistent he has been.
With Jon, we've been very, very pleased with how he has been in practice. I think the improvements that he has made, he has given a ton of effort in practice and in trying to get better in his fundamentals and things like that. It showed in some of the games he played in, against Purdue in particular where he graded out very well. I've been happy with both those guys.
On Mike Gesicki's leadership
style and how it has changed and drown within the last few years.
Rahne: He has more confidence in probably his knowledge of the overall scheme and in his techniques, fundamentals and in his production. I think that has helped him to be more vocal and things like that. I think the main thing where he shows vocal leadership the most is probably in his believe that we're going to win every game. He is a guy who really has confidence and faith in himself and if there's a game where we've been behind, he's right there telling me on the headset, saying hey coach we're going to win this game. I've been really pleased with that and I think it has been his confidence has grown and his leadership has grown with it.
On what the staff saw
in quarterback Trace McSorley when they first started to recruit him, especially
when looking at him as a potential safety.
Rahne: I watched his tape and I liked him as a quarterback. I wasn't quite sure, but I loved him as an athlete. As a safety, I gave him to our defensive coaches and they liked him and they offered him as a safety. I still liked him as a quarterback so I went down and watched him in the spring and the thing that sold me was just his accuracy. He was so accurate with the ball. The ball came out really tight off of his hand, and it showed that even though he's not the biggest guy in the world, he has a very strong arm.
Number one, it was just his accuracy and then as you got to know him, just how competitive he is and how much of a winner he is. When you look at his high school stats, how many games he has won, taking his team to four state championship games and winning three of them. You could just see it. When I watched him play in person a couple of times, the belief every body had in him, the belief in himself and just to watch everyone follow him, it was pretty easy to see that he was a natural born leader and he also possessed some great skills in throwing the ball and being able to run around.
On how an opponent might
see Penn State's offensive film differently in the first six weeks compared to
Rahne: I think, not to beat a dead horse, but we're playing with more confidence. They all kind of know their role in the scheme. We can make in-game adjustments on things we may or may not have practiced during the week and the guys understand the overall concepts and can quickly make those adjustments. I think that's been one the things that's helped us to make second half adjustments as a coaching staff, it's knowing that our guys understand the overall scheme and concepts of the plays where you can do some things a little bit different than what we've been doing in practice. Team are giving us some different looks and we've been able to adjust.
I think that when the defense would be looking at our film, that's the number one thing, our guys are playing with a lot of confidence but also, that a lot of different guys touch the ball.
One day it might be 26 [Saquon Barkley], the next day it might be 12 [Chris Godwin], 5 [DaeSean Hamilton], or 88 [Mike Gesicki]. Everyone's had their turn. That's the thing that has also grown. If they try to take away Saquon, another guy has stepped up and that's probably been the biggest difference.
On the third quarter
Trace McSorley 80-yard touchdown pass to Irvin Charles against Minnesota.
Rahne: It was a play that Coach Moorhead had run at a previous institution and we made a couple of adjustments on it that we thought could make the play better. Trace read it correctly and then made a good throw. Anytime the ball is in the air on those deep balls, I feel pretty good about it with our receivers, in particular there with Irvin. I know Coach Franklin talked about it earlier this week, how talented of a player he is and when he gets the ball in his hands, you just kind of hold your breath. It was nice to be able to get him involved in the game and get him going down the field. Obviously, that was a play that helped turn that game around and on hindsight, it probably helped to turn our season around and in positive direction. Coach Moorhead is great play caller and he sees some things out there and we try give input to him as much as we can to help him out. He can see some things happening and he can just kind of see that we had that chance with that play.
On what Trace McSorley
was like as a safety and how those skills have helped him at quarterback.
Rahne: At safety, it was his quickness. He had good speed, quickness. He was always around the ball. He had great instincts. The other thing - he was tough. I think with that toughness, you can see week in and week out. That's probably the thing that helps him the most and it endears him to his teammates. There's nothing that will get guys behind you as a quarterback more than being tough. Being tough and competitive are things he has in spades. Those are probably the main qualities.
On what it's like
watching a play develop from the coaches box.
Rahne: Last year was the first year I was down [on the field]. The first year I was in the box and at Vanderbilt I was in the box, so it was actually more of an adjustment last year. On the field, the advantage of it is that you can look a kid in the eye and you can do those sort of things and see what they are going through. The disadvantages are that you can kind of get caught up in the emotion of the game. You may be seeing "ghosts" out there whereas in the box, you get a much better feel for what is actually going on in the game. As the thing unfolds, there are different things you have to do to prepare during the week. I like to watch tape just like I would in the box a couple nights before the game where I'm just watching the sideline copy and I'm watching it and not rewinding it so I can try to get as much information as possible. It's a team effort up there. Joe Brady and Tommy Galt, our GA's are excellent at what they do. They do a fantastic job of preparing us and getting us a week ahead during the week and on gameday they do a great job too. We're just trying to get as much information up there as we can so Coach Moorhead can make the great decisions that he does make and kind of go from there.
On where Mike Gesicki
has improved on the field outside of catching balls.
Rahne: He's improving as a blocker. There have been some times when he has made some very big, critical blocks that have helped him to spring Saquon and get him loose, as well as other guys and things like that. The other thing that I have been really proud of him is in the passing game. When we have asked him to be a pass protector, he has done really well at it and it's allowed us to throw the ball down the field, to give a couple of different looks to the defense where maybe we might have a seven-man protection and that sort of deal. That's been good. I've been pleased with a lot of things he has been doing on the field. It's always going to be a work in progress. You can be a 19-year old freshman or a 14-year NFL pro, you're always going to be working on things and that sort of deal. He still has areas to improve, but I have been pleased with where he has made progress in blocking and the run game.
By Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Picking up right where she left off last season, sophomore guard Teniya Page put up impressive numbers to help Penn State earn a hard-fought victory over the visiting Akron Zips, 84-71.
On the night, she would go for a stat line of a team-high 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including a clip of 5-for-9 from behind the arc, all the while also racking up six rebounds and seven assists in a full 40 minutes on the floor.
"She's important because of what she can do, but I also think she's important because it frees up and opens up opportunities for other people," head coach Coquese Washington said about the Page's impact. "[The rest of the team] is able to do what they can do because she's being aggressive."
Early in the contest, the Chicago-native made her presence felt by knocking down three of her treys on the night en route to 11 points and a Penn State lead of 26-19 in the game's first quarter.
The second leg of action Akron responding after a quick jumper by senior Peyton Whitted opened up the scoring in the quarter. After that, the Zips went on a 12-0 run to take the lead, 31-28.
Coach Washington called a timeout to talk things over with her team to make some necessary adjustments.
"We weren't being as aggressive against the zone as I wanted to be," Washington said.
Penn State then answered back with an impressive 17-5 run of their own fueled by the likes of Page and junior guard Lindsey Spann, who combined for all but three points of the team's output to close the remainder of the quarter and half. After the hot streak of play, the Lady Lions were able to head into the locker room with a steady 10-point lead.
The Zips would fire back almost immediately at the start of the second half, as Akron guard Hannah Plybon rifled off a 3-pointer to quickly put her squad on the board. The following possession, Plybon added two more to her point-total with layup to make it 46-41, officially cut the deficit from the start of the quarter in half.
Both squads would trade scoring runs throughout the quarter; Penn State earned the longest stretch of scoring with an 8-0 run over roughly two-and-a-half minutes, meanwhile, Akron was able to hit five total 3-pointers in the quarter from the hands of Plybon and Megan Sefick, who hit the last of which with three seconds left in the quarter to make it just a 65-61 Lions' lead through three.
The fourth quarter would keep it a five-point contest up to the final five minutes, but after the final quarter's halfway point it was all Blue and White. Penn State went on to close the game on a 10-2 run thanks to five Zips turnovers.
Turnovers would prove to be the biggest difference between the otherwise equally competitive squads. The Lions won the turnover battle by forcing twice as many turnovers as they committed (16-8) and turned those into 29 points on the other end. Akron only was able to score six points off of turnovers.
Team captain Kaliyah Mitchell said post-game that the team will take both the good and the bad from the game and use it to propel the team throughout the beginnings of the season.
"Right now we're just trying to keep the high energy and let each game push us forward. We learn from each game and we don't settle," she said. "So we look forward to every single game but we also look back and see things that we can fix so that we can keep improving every night."
With the win, Penn State moves to 2-1 on the season. The Lions also stay perfect against the current lineup of MAC competition, moving to 7-0 against the conference all-time.
Next up for the Lady Lions is a home game against the No. 13 Tennessee Lady Vols this Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.
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