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.