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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Only 3.8 seconds remained on the clock and the Lady Lions trailed No. 25 Rutgers, 67-66, with the ball in their possession and an inbounds play coming up. For head coach Coquese Washington, there was only one person who she wanted to have the ball and make a play in the final moments: junior point guard Teniya Page.

"She'd been having a great game, so we wanted to put the ball in her hands and let her make a play," Washington said.

 That's exactly what Page did, as she came off a screen and stepped into a three to give Penn State the lead. The shot was short, but Page drew a foul on the play, meaning three free throws with only one second exactly remaining on the clock.

This drew the ire of Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer, who was frustrated with both the call and the fact that her player had committed such a critical foul with so little time remaining. Stringer was assessed a technical foul, meaning Page would shoot two more free throws in addition to the three from the original foul. 

"I told myself at the beginning of the play that I just needed to make one free throw. When they told me I had five, I wasn't really worried," Page said.

Page knocked down four of her five foul shots to give the Lady Lions a 70-67 lead.

Rutgers had a chance to tie the game, but a desperation heave fell just short, giving Penn State its first win of the season against a ranked team, and back-to-back wins in conference play for the first time. 

"I was a little upset that they got that shot off," Washington said postgame. "Teniya actually tried to miss that last free throw, but that's the kind of night she had."

Page finished with 34 points on 12-of-19 shooting in 38 minutes of action. It's Page's highest scoring output of the season, passing her totals of 27 points on two separate occasions. 

Jaida Travascio-Green had a strong night as well, finishing with 15 points. It was a resilient night for her, as she started 0-of-6 from beyond the arc but made three of her final four attempts from three, including two clutch shots in the fourth quarter from the top of the key.

"They always tell me to call for the ball when I'm open, so I called for the ball," Travascio-Green said. "I don't think I really knew what the score was, I just knew that we needed to make shots."

The Lady Lions never lost their composure and, despite a Rutgers comeback spurred by an 8-0 run to give them a lead with a minute to play, they were still able to execute down the stretch with a key layup from Amari Carter and an offensive rebound from Travascio-Green, which set up the final possession and Page's heroics. 

"The thing that we talk about every day is that no lead is safe," Washington said. "We just know that the game is really long, and you just have to keep playing and understand that teams are going to go on runs, the ball isn't going to bounce your way. I think that because we've had so many close games, we had a lot of poise in those moments. We weren't really nervous or anything like that. It was really neat to see us be able to execute when we needed to." 

The Lady Lions will try to extend their winning streak to three games next Tuesday night when the Illinois Fighting Illini come to town. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. from the Bryce Jordan Center.

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By Brian McLaughlin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Any team that finds success in basketball cannot rely on just its guards or forwards to get the job done in every facet of the game.

The Penn State Lady Lions are a guard heavy team this season, with a lot of the team's strength lying in speed and shooting from the perimeter. With different contributions inside and some lineup changes from head coach Coquese Washington, the team is hoping to maximize their strengths while maintaining balance on the floor. 

"It's really important and we talk about floor spacing and balancing the floor, and I think when we do that it's easier for us to see each other and find the open person," Washington said. "It forces the defense to make decisions with who to guard and who to leave open. 

Coming off a week where the Lady Lions went 1-1, suffering a loss to the high scoring Minnesota Golden Gophers, while beating Wisconsin who remains winless in the Big Ten. 

It was a tale of two games for the Lady Lions, who struggled from behind the arc against Minnesota, shooting only 6-of-23 from distance. They rebounded nicely against the Badgers connecting on 12 3-pointers. 

"Nothing in terms of preparation was different between those two games. Against Minnesota the ball didn't fall and against Wisconsin it did. That's all there is too it," Washington said.

Against Wisconsin, sophomore guard Amari Carter had a particularly effective outing, finishing with 21 points, 15 of which came from three.

"Just taking my time on my shot has really helped me. And, taking the easy shot and the open shot," Carter said.  "I think Jaida (Travascio-Green) did a really good job last game of stretching the defense and knocking down threes. People always shade to her because she is such a dynamic shooter, leaving lots of space for me to shoot." 

In both matchups last week, Washington tweaked her lineup to feature four guards with just one forward, moving De'Janae Boykin to the center position.

"Against both Minnesota and Wisconsin, the opponents style of play kind of necessitated that we go to a smaller and quicker lineup to matchup with them," Washington said. "It's even more important that we have that flow and balance when we have that small lineup on the floor."

This puts some pressure on the lone forward in the game for the Lady Lions to control the paint and collect rebounds. Both Boykin and Jaylen Williams have been forces in the paint so far this season and have their own effect on the offense especially creating shots for their teammates. 

"We have a pretty fast-paced team, so when I can run the floor [the defense] get worried about me inside getting an easy layup and it opens up other shot opportunities in transition for our our guards," Williams said.

With the lineup change Washington hopes she can continue to get her team to play at a quick pace and take advantage of their strong guard play.

"It's one of those things where we bring speed to that position with a fourth guard and it gives us a ball handler at that position," Washington said. "It just gives us more weapons and opportunities out on the floor."

This is still quite the adjustment for the team, where it becomes even more vital for each player to crash the boards. However, when this lineup is clicking the effect is obvious with a high pace game and lots of open shots for Carter, Travascio-Green, and Teniya Page. This does mean even more responsibilities inside for the likes of Williams, Boykin, Sam Breen and Alisia Smith. 

"When there's just one forward on the court it's a little more difficult at times but it means you ave to work harder," Williams said. "I just feel like we have to be more of a presence since there is only one forward in there."

"I've always been a big defensive presence so I feel that I need to be strong on defense and bring that to the table to make up for not being able to shoot as well from [3-point range] offensively," she added. "I do my part on defense they do their part on offense and we work together."

What Washington is trying to accomplish is define her team's style of play with the slight twist to the starting five. It is vital however that there remains a balanced force between the forwards and guards as they play off one another. Each player brings a different skill set to the table.  Putting all the skills together can be difficult, but the outcome is a quality basketball team.

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Lady Lions are a very young team, one of the few teams in college basketball with no seniors on the roster. Youth is something oftentimes overlooked in college athletics, but the Lady Lions have shown that this is a team that still has some room to grow. 

Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center was one of those nights of realization, as the Lady Lions went up against the high-powered offensive attack of Minnesota. The Golden Gophers average 85.9 points per game, good for 11th in the nation, and they showed their offensive prowess in a 91-71 victory.

 Penn State never quite gained its rhythm on the offensive end, and a slow start yielded a result that was perhaps more lopsided than what actually transpired on the court.

The Gophers led by as many as 19 in the first half and controlled the pace of the game, as Penn State played catch-up the entire night. However, the Lady Lions stayed true to their offensive game plan even when they were down, a sign of belief in themselves and trust in the system they had in place.

Junior guard Teniya Page, who led the Lady Lions in scoring with 21 points, persistently got to the basket and made shots, not letting the score affect the way she played.

"I just play the game and take what the game gives me," Page said. "I don't necessarily change anything as the game goes on. We don't change our attack or approach when we're down." 

Page finished 8-for-15 from the field, including 3-for-6 from three.

It's the tenth time this season that Page has finished in double figures, and the 64th time of her career. It's also her sixth 20-point outing of the season and 26th of her career. The 21 points were enough to put her in the top 20 on the Penn State all-time scoring list (1,312 points, No. 19 all-time), as she passed both Helen Darling and Kathy Drysdale tonight. 

Another bright spot for the Lady Lions was the defense, as they forced 16 Minnesota turnovers, leading to 25 points.

Defense and rebounding (Minnesota outrebounded Penn State 43-30) have been points of emphasis all season for Penn State head coach Coquese Washington. The Lady Lions haven't quite figured out a consistent formula to succeed night in and night out, which leads to disparities like tonight in which the team did some things really well but couldn't execute in other areas. 

 "We struggle with consistency. That's the thing that's kind have been a thorn in our side," Washington said. "Individually and collectively, players are struggling to find that groove and it rubs off on the whole team. We just have to continue to work on creating a high level of consistency from game to game." 

The Lady Lions have a chance to get back on track Sunday at Wisconsin. Tip-off from Madison will be at 2 p.m. Then, Penn State returns home for two tilts against Rutgers and Illinois next week before a stretch of four out of five games on the road 

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By Brian McLaughlin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It has been a goal all season of Penn State head coach Coquese Washington to play the game at a high pace offensively and take advantage of fast break opportunities. 

Wednesday night the Lady Lions will take on a team with a similar style of play in the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who love to run the floor and shoot 3-pointers.

"I hope it's a high scoring game, they are a team that likes to get up and down the court," Washington said. "They have four guards that can shoot the ball with tremendous range and can stretch the floor and open up driving lanes."

In a matchup that is likely to feature star guards on either side, both teams will battle for control of the game.

"I am just going to try to stay in the flow of the game, rebound so we can run," point guard Teniya Page said. "We can defend well as well as run so we just have to stay confident and we will stay right with them."

Coach Washington also believes that while shootouts can be fun, those games are won and lost on the defensive end. 

"Somebody's got to get stops. So I think the team that gets the most stops has a good chance," Washington said. 

While the focus on defense gets ramped up prior to potential high scoring contests, Penn State spends a lot of time working on running its break trying to give a young team more experience. 

Guards primarily handle the ball in transition and Penn State has had an advantage quite a bit this year led by Page and Amari Carter. Both can push the ball up the floor and distribute as well as create their own shots. 

"When (Amari) has the ball in her hands and is pushing tempo that bodes well for our team," Washington said. "We will talk about both her and Teniya running the floor and ways for them to control the pace."

The two Penn State captains both are very comfortable with the ball in their hands, and use their instincts to make the right reads.

"I have been playing basketball for a long time and I think for a lot of people those reads come naturally," Page said. "It's almost instinctive and we practice up and down a lot so it's almost second hand nature when it comes to making the right decision."

Both Carter and Page average over 15 points-per-game as well as multiple assists per contest. Feeding their teammates on the break is a big aspect of a successful transition game. 

"Our bigs are another element running the floor. Everybody has to run," Washington said. "It's all about everybody getting on that horse and running at full speed." 

Page is one of the few players on the Lady Lions with a lot of experience as she is now in her third year in the starting lineup as a junior. Penn State does not have on senior on its entire roster, so Page has had to use that experience to lead her team on the court. 

"When I have the ball on the break I have to make the right decisions and decide when to run or not." Page said. "As a leader I am usually one of the ones who can feel the flow of the game and adjust our pace during the game." 

One of the things Washington wants to work on most only comes with more practice, and that is decision making. The more comfortable the players are, the easier those decisions become.

"It's about chemistry and all about reads when running the break. The more comfortable making those reads the more effective we are, so as long as we keep working at it the more we will improve." 

Washington understands moving forward how important playing at the right pace is and how this can give her team an edge. She knows not everyone will want to play quickly against her team, so her players have to be the aggressors.

"You have to be committed and disciplined and not allow the other team to set the tempo or set the pace. There are some games where we are good at that," Washington said. "That's something we've got to get better at. With a young team they have a tendency to want to go out and feel the game out, so we have to try to go out and impact the game right from the beginning."

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While most students had the past few weeks off for winter break, Penn State's women's basketball was hard at work. By the time classes start again, the Lady Lions will have played six games over the break, including their first four of the Big Ten season.

The team's first two opponents weren't exactly Christmas gifts, as the Lady Lions drew then-No. 19 Michigan and then-No. 14 Maryland. Yet, despite not quite being able to pull off the upsets, those games certainly provided insight into what the team needs to build on in the future. 

"It definitely sets the tone," head coach Coquese Washington said. "To start off with two of the best teams in the conference, it gives us a measuring stick for how we need to improve going forward."

With the coming of 2018, the Lady Lions look to have turned over a new leaf as well, picking up their first conference win over Indiana. With the team finally healthy, Washington views this next stretch of games as a potential turning point in terms of building up team chemistry.

"We've had a lot of people in and out of the lineup with injuries, and we're not where we wanted to be when the season started," Washington said. "We've had everybody back for about two weeks now. I wish we had that training camp right now, but we'll make it work." 

One of the bright spots so far for the Lady Lions has been freshman forward Alisia Smith, who picked up her first career double-double in the Dec. 20 game at American with 10 points and 10 rebounds. 

Smith is averaging 4.6 points and 3.6 rebounds on the year, and has appeared to take that next step towards understanding college basketball and thriving in this environment. 

"It's getting easier to play, and everything is starting to slow down now. I'm starting to get a better feel of how it is on defense, especially in man-to-man because the girls are really fast," Smith said "Coach always told me that starting in January, things are going to get slower. It's all just starting to make sense now." 

Smith credits a lot of her development to junior Jaylen Williams, who plays a similar role on the team to Smith and has the maturity to draw off of to help Smith transition to the college game.

"She plays more than me so she has that experience. I just looked for her to help me be comfortable and things like that," Smith said.

The American game wasn't the only notable one for Smith over the holidays, as the trip to Michigan allowed the Lansing native to return home and play in front of her family.

The game reminded her of her younger days playing basketball with her support network in attendance, as well as giving her time to reflect on the influences she had in her life that led to her playing college basketball. 

"I would credit my dad for everything, without him I wouldn't really be playing basketball. He taught me all the fundamentals and keys to basketball and how to get better," she said. "I had a lot of family come out to support me that day and it was a lot like a high school game where I just felt comfortable."

That game, as well as the two following home games, provided a window into the challenges facing Smith in the Big Ten, but she's not one to shy away from a great opportunity. 

"I'm expecting a lot of players that are stronger and more physical, but I'm just looking forward to be able to see how it is going up against those players," Smith said. "It's very important to mentally prepare for what the opponents have to offer going against me."

"The game is starting to slow down for her, she has that ability to get to the foul line and make free throws. She's getting tough inside on defense as well and starting to get some tough boards," Washington said "She's fast in the full-court and the half court. Her speed in the post is something we really value. There's just so many things that you're going to see night in and night out. For her to be at that comfort level playing in Big Ten competition, she's coming along." 

Smith and the Lady Lions hit the road again on Saturday to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m.

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By Brian McLaughlin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - All season, Penn State Lady Lions' head coach, Coquese Washington has stressed how young her team is, and that constant learning that takes place.

The Lady Lions do not have one senior on their roster, which is composed of five juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen based on their eligibility. 

"We've got a lot of weapons, and I think our best games this year have been when we have utilized all those weapons," Washington said. "If we can find a way to be more consistent in that and find a way to get those contributions every night, I think we will be in really good shape going into conference play."

The freshmen in particular have had to step in right away and contribute big minutes especially when Teniya Page missed time early in the season. In particular, in Page's absence freshman guard Kamaria McDaniel has stepped forward playing almost 23 minutes per game and has averaged just under 10 points a game at 9.6. 

"Coming in I wasn't going to be able to take that many shots," McDaniel said.  "I have to get in the game and I have to knock down shots. Because I know when I get in the game I have to make those shots. Coach has done a great job of putting me in spots to be successful and my teammates do a great job of getting me open." 

Other freshman Alisia Smith and Sam Breen have both contributed in all nine of Penn State's games so far. Both have lower numbers than McDaniel, but have never the less gained experience in each game played. Breen is a forward with the ability to stretch the floor from 3-point range, and Smith, another forward has shown physical play on the post early in her career.

Against Wake Forest on November 30, the Lady Lions were faced with a press. After at first being taken aback, the team was able to adjust and conquer the press in the second half. It is that ability to learn on the fly and take coaching that has made the young players so special.

 "We don't try to worry about limiting mistakes, its learning from them, so we aren't making the same mistakes again and that's one of the things I liked from the Wake Forest game," Washington said. "We made the adjustments within the game and worked from there."

Since the game against Wake Forest the Lady Lions breezed through a win over Manhattan, and won a hard fought battle against Fordham. Coming off of those wins, Penn State will next take to the road and travel to St. Bonaventure on Saturday. The team knows how important it is to bring energy while on the road, especially off the bench in the form of McDaniel. 

"It's just about being competitive, I love to see us winning and that just drives my energy," McDaniel said, "I just try to come in and see what the team needs and bring that and if it's the energy then that's what I will bring." 

Washington has added that while the team is young, they are ready to play against anybody. The trust in teammates has gone a long way in their ability to adjust and improve throughout games.

"I think we are growing by leaps and bounds; we seem to take big steps from game to game. We had some big growth in Vegas and I think that's a credit from their willingness to learn lessons from watching and learn from each other and go out there and try something differently," Washington said. "They have to have trust in themselves and trust in each other that they can go out and make adjustments on the fly and I think that's how they are going to grow over the course of the season." 

Moving forward, Breen and Smith will work to continue to see their playing time grow throughout the season and contribute on the court, adding to the work McDaniel has already done. Against Fordham, Smith saw seven minutes of action and picked up time late in the game to help seal the victory.

Something that has allowed McDaniel to see large quantities of action is her great self confidence in her game. 

"She (Kamaria) has come in with a lot of confidence as a freshman and her confidence didn't get shook by any means with having a game where she was 0-5 against Wake Forest. That didn't shake or rattle her confidence. She got back in the gym and got to work," Washington said. "I think it's really uncanny for a freshman to come in with that kind of confidence in their abilities and it doesn't rattle them from having a different role than she did in high school. I think that is one of her strengths and I think that has allowed her to be successful early this year." 

Along with McDaniel's confidence in herself she has no doubts about how good this team can become.

"We are confident in each other and a confident team is a scary team," McDaniel said. "We believe in what we can do. We are going to go out and execute the game plan every night. We are going to worry about ourselves and control what we can control and bring the energy." 

The young Lady Lions are learning and growing each day on the court, and when you add confidence to that mix, there is nowhere to go but up.  

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Down 54-44 to Fordham with just under six minutes left in the game, it didn't seem like the Lady Lions' night.

 They were being outrebounded by 20, including a difference of 18 on the offensive glass. The Rams held a 20-2 advantage on second chance points, and had five scorers in double figures, including a double-double from their center, Mary Goulding.

Who the Rams didn't have, however, was Teniya Page, as she proved once again why she is the leader of this team and one of the best players in the Big Ten with an outstanding fourth quarter to give the Lady Lions a 65-60 victory Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Page made her last five shots on the night, and shot a scorching 11-for-15 from the field in only her fifth game back of an offseason injury. She also added a season-high 27 points and team-high eight rebounds, all part of a 16-0 run late in the fourth quarter to bring the Lady Lions all the way back and give them the lead for good. 

"It's always a part of the game plan to get Teniya shots, because she is an incredible shot maker," head coach Coquese Washington said. "She's still feeling her way and I think it's tough when you don't play basketball for months and jump back in the middle of the season. I think tonight, it finally came together in the fourth quarter. But we don't want to be a team that has to rely on Teniya having fourth-quarter heroics." 

Shot selection changed for Page in the fourth quarter as she got more and more into a rhythm, and she just got hot at the right time when her team needed it the most.

"There were shots that were open in the first three quarters that I just didn't take," Page said. "Coach told me that I needed to be more aggressive, and that's what I did."

Page's comeback efforts on the offensive end were supplemented with much better defense and rebounding, as the Lady Lions made Fordham look lost down the stretch and force a lot of questionable shots.

Forward Jaylen Williams was a big reason for that, coming up with two huge blocks late in the fourth quarter at a point where every possession was so valuable to the Lady Lions. 

"Jaylen's blocks were really big," Washington said. "We talked in the timeouts about how we needed to get stops. We had been playing zone, and we got some big defensive rebounds. We decided to go man-to-man when we were up three with about 45 seconds left, and Jaylen came up with a big block to get the ball, and we were able to go down and get to the free throw line." 

The Lady Lions were much improved on the defensive side, as Fordham shot only 18 percent from the field in the fourth quarter and managed only 11 points.

"We talked about some rotation things that we needed to do better, and we wanted to do a better job contesting shots," Washington said. "In the first half, they got too many wide open looks, and we certainly didn't want to give them that. I thought in the second half, we did a better job of moving and contesting their threes in the zone."

Rebounding was a drastic turning point as well, as the Lady Lions pulled down 12 in the fourth compared to only 11 in the other three quarters combined. It was the only quarter in which they outrebounded Fordham.

"I thought the last four minutes of the game, we did a much better job securing defensive rebounds," Washington said. "The first three quarters, they were a lot more aggressive. But that aggressiveness, at the same time with them going to the boards when we actually got defensive rebounds, we were able to get going in transition." 

While it wasn't the most conventional win for the Lady Lions, it was the third straight as they now move to 8-2 on the year. Penn State next travels to St. Bonaventure for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday.

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was a long day to be a Manhattan guard, as Penn State women's basketball's relentless pressure helped lead the Lady Lions to a 78-46 victory at the Bryce Jordan Center.

The Jaspers had their hands full from the start, as Penn State came out in a full-court press for a significant portion of the first half and disrupted Manhattan from initiating any sort of offensive flow. Manhattan had 21 turnovers on the day, leading to 18 easy fast-break points for the Lady Lions. 

"It's good that we can be aggressive at the beginning. We like to be disruptive and not let our opponent settle into an offensive rhythm and offensive confidence," head coach Coquese Washington said. "It was good that early on we got some deflections, which made them a little more concerned about breaking the press as oppose to running their offense. That helped us get out to an early lead." 

Penn State's suffocating defense held the Manhattan starters to only four points in the first quarter, and the Lady Lions enjoyed a 26-11 lead after one period. 

Sophomore guard Amari Carter was a huge factor in the press, as her active hands grabbed four steals.

"That's always the plan. Get out, get fast, get some deflections and steals. We played some great defense all day and got ahead of the pack," Carter said.

The defensive intensity was one of the main reasons Penn State was able to take a 16-point lead into halftime, despite having a stretch of 5:21 without scoring a point to end the first half.

 Washington attributed the success to consistency, as the team is starting to feel increasingly cohesive in the ninth contest of the year.

"I think we're starting to develop an understanding and a rhythm," Washington said. "You need that sixth sense when you're out on the court like you know where everyone is going to be. Every game, we get a bit more comfortable in our rotations on defense."

The Lady Lions put forth a very balanced scoring effort as well, as five different players reached double figures on the afternoon. Carter led the way with 16, including connecting on both of her attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite not making her usual dent in the stat sheet quite yet, junior guard Teniya Page totaled seven points in 25 minutes of action. Now in her fourth game back healthy and second game starting, Page has been consistently building up her minutes back to where they were a year ago. 

Her impact can undoubtedly be seen on the court, especially with some of the younger players who have been looking for a leader to emerge.

"We're getting a lot more comfortable in our rotation. We have a lot of young players, and they need the experience of practice and games. There's a certain rhythm that you get into in games and they just need that experience," Washington said.

The Lady Lions excelled at the charity stripe as well, knocking down 22 of their 25 free throw attempts. Free throw percentage will be huge once conference play comes around, so the coaching staff has made it a point of emphasis early in the year. 

"We've made them shoot a lot of free throws because it's important to take advantage of a lot of those opportunities when we get them. When people are getting to the line, focusing and knocking them down, it's certainly helpful," Washington said. 

The Lady Lions look to continue their hot start on Wednesday against Fordham. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. from the Bryce Jordan Center.

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By Brian McLaughlin GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State used a strong second quarter to open up an early 20-point lead over the Wake Forest Demon Decons, and held on to win 68-58 Thursday night in the Bryce Jordan Center.

In the second quarter the Lady Lions held the Demon Decons to just six points, a season low in one frame on the year for Wake Forest.

 "I thought our bench came in and gave us some good minutes especially in that second quarter. Siyeh Frazier and Kamaria McDaniel came in the game and gave us some good energy and we did a nice job contesting shots," head coach Coquese Washington said. "Credit Wake Forest they made some adjustments in the second half . Thankfully we had a cushion and we were still aggressive and assertive on the defensive end."

Teniya Page made her junior season home debut for Penn State in the win, scoring 21 points in the victory.

"It was really great to get back home. I just felt more comfortable and relaxed playing at home than on the road,' Page said.

Penn State started the second quarter with a vengeance, going on a 9-0 run to start the quarter. To end the quarter, Wake Forest did not hit a field goal over the final five minutes.

 The second half was not as kind to the Lady Lions as Wake Forest cut the lead to as few as seven points with one minute remaining in the contest.

"We are still really young and they we just do some dumb things sometimes because of our youth. I told them in the locker room, what I was really pleased with was we were really able to make adjustments," Washington said. "Some of the mistakes we make are just from a lack of experience. We hadn't really been pressed all year until tonight, so the first couple possessions we were pressed and we didn't make the smartest decision, but we were able to talk about it. They take coaching very well."

 Wake Forest came in to the game having out-rebounded five of its six opponents, but the Lady Lions won the rebound battle 48 to 45 behind 11 from De'Janae Boykin.

"I think every game I play physical and that is kind of what I bring to the team," Boykin said. "I like rebounding. It's kind of my thing and it's something I do."

The difference for the Lady Lions came down to free throw shooting, as they connected on 28-for-33 for 84 percent from the charity stripe. Page in particular was effective from the line, going 10-for-11, including some big free throws to close out the game late in the fourth quarter. 

While hitting such a high percentage of shots from the free throw line, the team struggled from the field. In fact, both teams struggled offensively on the evening, neither shooting over 35 percent from the field. Neither the Lady Lions or the Demon Decons made a 3-pointer until Jaida Travascio-Green connected with 17 seconds remaining in the first half. 

"I was pleased to see us shoot almost 85 percent from the free-throw line. We need to continue to work on offensive execution and I think there were times when it looks really good and times when it could stand to use some work," Washington said. "I think the thing we tried to do was be physical and attack. That's something we didn't do when we were away from the BJC and in Las Vegas. We weren't aggressive and assertive and I thought we did a better job of that tonight."

Penn State returns to action on Sunday to take on Manhattan at 2 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center. 


By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's basketball is back home from Las Vegas, and the Lady Lions are back to full strength as well for the first time this season. 

Teniya Page, who had missed the first five games of the season, returned in last week's games, logging significant time in both contests. 

Page, a preseason All-Big Ten performer, had been sidelined with an injury, but her return made an immediate impact on the team.

 "Being able to go out there for 20-plus minutes on back-to-back nights was a real plus," head coach Coquese Washington said. "She showed her scoring ability in her limited minutes and she's just a really talented player. We're happy to have her back."

Page scored a combined 19 points in the two games played, but understands there is still a lot of work to do to get back to the level she was once at. It's a challenge she embraces but she's glad to at least be back into game action.

"It was weird, sitting out five games and not really doing any game-like situations for a couple months. But its fun to be back out there with them," Page said. "It's going to be a work in progress for me and probably the rest of them playing with me and the way I play now." 

Washington has seen Page's entire recovery progress, and is impressed with how the guard has handled the situation and how quickly she has bounced back. But, like Page, Washington still knows the time it will take to fully strengthen.

 "I thought she did really well. When she finally came back to practice, we were starting games. Some of her practice times in terms of getting up and down the court was limited," Washington said. "It's obviously a work in progress. Teniya isn't quite up to the pace that we've seen her at before and it's going to take her some time to get back to her top speed on the court. Once she gets a few more games under her belt, then I'll be able to assess [how she is playing]."

Aside from Page's return, the Las Vegas trip was a positive for the Lady Lions in other ways too. It was the first extended road trip of the season, and it allowed the team to become more familiar with each other moving forward into the rest of the season.

"It was a great experience for us from a basketball standpoint," Washington said.  "Playing different teams back-to-back simulates our postseason play. With this young team, that experience was absolutely critical."

It was also a key trip for sophomore guard Amari Carter as well, who had been thrust into a leading role in Page's absence. She perhaps benefitted more than anyone by Page's return and it showed in Las Vegas. Carter tallied a career-high 24 points in the Louisiana Tech game, Page's first one back.

"Amari is so talented, so athletic, so gifted. She makes the hard plays look really easy," Washington said. "I think her confidence level is at an all-time high, and now with Teniya back on the court and [Amari's] high level of confidence, we have a pretty good backcourt." 

"For Amari, being able to stay healthy and get a full summer of getting better and working out, it shows in the way she is playing right now," Page said. 

The Lady Lions host Wake Forest Thursday (Nov. 30) as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, an event Washington loves because it allows the team to measure itself against some of the best competition from another top-tier conference. 

"You learn how to play against different styles of basketball. In our conference, what's important is that our coaches have very different styles of play. We're not characterized by other conferences where everyone kind of plays the same. Being able to play against different styles is important. Our three freshmen saw time [in Las Vegas], and the more experience they get, the better we become," Washington said. "Wake Forest is going to give us another opportunity to gauge ourselves against top-level competition. Their guard play is very dynamic. They push tempo and they rebound very well, so our perimeter defense is going to be challenged to keep that three-headed monster under lock and key."

Thursday's tip against the Demon Deacons is set for 7 p.m. The Lady Lions will also host Manhattan this weekend on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.

@GOPSUSPORTS

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