By: Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- From the moment she first put on a Penn State uniform just over a year ago, it was evident to anyone watching that Teniya Page had talent. The sophomore guard put on another show Saturday afternoon, as a career-high tying 31 points helped to lead the Penn State Lady Lions past Marshall, 82-80 in the Bryce Jordan Center.
For head coach Coquese Washington, this is nothing out of the ordinary compared to the Page she's seen the last two years. And, while the talent is there, it may be her basketball IQ that puts her over the top.
"Teniya is a really smart player. I think when you look at how she scored 31 points in 15 shots, she's a very efficient player. She does a great job of finding and picking her spots; not just being a volume shooter. I think that's why she was able to have a good night," Washington said. "When you have the high basketball I.Q. that she has, only good things happen."
Page helped get the Lady Lions going early, as she dropped in five of Penn State's first nine, and eight total points in a first quarter that saw the Lady Lions trailing 23-17 at the break. Despite the deficit, a 3-pointer by Page with one second left in the quarter, her second of the game, was a sign of things to come.
The big bucket sparked a 9-0 run to begin the second for the Lady Lions, giving the home team it's first lead of the day at 24-23 and then 26-23 before Marshall responded.
Following the big Penn State run, Marshall responded with a 10-2 run of it's own, before a back-and-forth finish to the quarter saw the Thundering Herd take a 37-35 lead into intermission.
Despite the big first half swings, the second half would be a close battle throughout, and for the home team that meant it was Teniya Page time. After dropping 12 points in the first half, the guard doubled her scoring in the third, dropping 12 in those 10 minutes alone, including two of her game-high five 3-pointers to pace the home team.
Saturday marked the second time in Page's young career that she hit five triples in one game, and for defenses, that outside shot is a scary combination with her quick first step.
"I think it stretches the floor, especially if I'm making the 3's then they have to guard me which opens me up for the pull-up or the drive," she said. "Then when I drive I can kick it out to my teammates. I think it just gives me more options and spreads the floor."
One of those five 3's gave the Lady Lions a 59-58 lead heading into the fourth, a quarter where neither team would pull ahead by more than one possession until the final minute. While big 3-pointers by Page were key to end the first and third periods, it was a driving layup that sealed the Lady Lions' victory.
Page's slashing bucket with 35 seconds to go gave Penn State a 78-77 lead, and was the final of 13 lead changes between the two teams on the afternoon, as Penn State hit free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
For Page, the success she saw on the day, including her clutch late layup, was a result of reading the defense and taking what was given.
"I think being ready to shoot when people were attacking the gaps and also attacking the gaps myself, which made me available to shoot the pull-up," she said on her success. "That's pretty much it and knocking down free throws."
While Page's 31 points highlighted the box score, it was a team effort to secure the victory for Penn State. Three other Lady Lions chipped in with double-digit scoring, led by 19 points from Sierra Moore to bring home the victory for the home team.
For Washington, continuing to find that balance in the scoring column will be key to the Lady Lions' success as the season goes on.
"I think we've got to continue to find balance on the offensive end," she said. "Sierra has recently shown that she can do that for us and so we've got to keep working with a few more players to be consistent on the offensive end."
The Lady Lions will look to keep the winning ways going as they hit the road to take on Holy Cross next Wednesday at 7 p.m.