Recently in Women's Basketball Category

Chemistry and Hard Work: Two Keys For Success at Minnesota

| No Comments | No TrackBacks


By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Coming off back-to-back Big Ten victories, the Lady Lions (5-15, 2-7 Big Ten) are looking to build on their momentum as they face-off against Minnesota, tonight. Head coach Coquese Washington is confident that the energy her team has had both in games and in practice will transition well on the road.

"We have had a good week," Washington said. "There have definitely been a lot more smiles and the girls are feeling more confident."

It is obvious that the young Lady Lions are becoming more confident due to their increased understanding of their roles on the court. Penn State's bench play has improved, as well, especially when looking at Alex Harris' performance against Northwestern. The sophomore tallied 11 points and 10 rebounds, solidifying her first career double-double. Peyton Whitted also scored double-figures off the bench against Northwestern (11).

"The game is slowing down for them," Washington said. "They aren't thinking as much, they are just playing. They have been able to slow down the game because they are becoming more comfortable with this level of play and are now able to predict or anticipate the next play."

The Gophers enter tonight's game with a 16-4 overall mark a 5-3 record in Big Ten play. The numbers aren't intimidating for this young team, as they have improved game in and game out so far this season.


"They play hard," assistant coach Jocelyn Wyatt said. "Our strength is our team chemistry. Our girls fight hard for each other and for Coquese [Washington]. I think we have a lot of confidence heading into this game, so we are going to take advantage of that and get it done on the boards."

At the beginning of the season, coach Washington said that she "was still getting to know the team." This being her first year coaching most of the Lady Lion roster in game situations, she, just as much as them, was getting to know the way they play and adjust to collegiate basketball.


"I wouldn't say I know them pretty well, but I know them better," Washington said. "As a coaching staff, I think, we are able to get a little more out of them because we know how they react to different things. We know how to coach them better so that they are able to perform at their best."

The Lady Lions take on the Gophers at Minnesota tonight at 8 pm. Fans can watch the Big Ten match up on BTN Plus. 

Lady Lions Balanced Attack Makes It Two Straight

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

10722074.jpeg

By Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the second time in four days, the Penn State Lady Lions closed out a close Big Ten contest and turned victorious on their home floor. Head coach Coquese Washington said after Sunday's 76-75 over Northwestern that just a few weeks ago, her team would not have been ready for such a task.

Now after following the process and progressing every day, her team is now able to close out tight games and get in better positions to win.

"Earlier in the season we weren't able to close these games out," Washington said. "We didn't have the necessary confidence, the necessary chemistry and cohesiveness to do it. Now I think we're at a point in the season where we kind of know what we need to do to close teams out."

Sunday they had that confidence, even when it looked like the Wildcats had a chance to win. In the final moments of the game, Northwestern had the ball down by one point with 8.4 seconds left and Washington's team found a way to make a stop.

"We've come a long way," guard Sierra Moore said. "At the beginning of the season, we had a lot of really close games and we were just short every time. Now, you can tell that we have grown so much and are playing basketball like we knew we could all along.

The reason why we are closing out game and the reason why we won the game today, is because of how much we have grown and how much more mature we are now."

Just like Thursday's win over Indiana, Penn State had five players in double figures and posed a balanced scoring attack. Moore, Alex Harris, Peyton Whitted, Kaliyah Mitchell and Candice Agee had 18, 11, 11, 10 and 10 respectively leading to the win.

For Moore, who has had 15 points or more in the last three games, having multiple scorers makes establishing an offensive rhythm much easier.

"It is so much easier to do what we want to do when everybody is incorporated in the offense," Moore said. "It really helps to take stress off of each individual and we can just play our game. We can relax a little bit because we know everybody is clicking, so whoever gets the ball on that second or third pass, they have the ability to score and we have confidence that they are going to make it."

Harris was an added piece to the Lady Lion scoring attack Sunday, garnering her first career double-double and setting a new career high with 11 points. Harris added to the Lady Lion post play both on defense and offense with very efficient play.

It was a performance she has been waiting for all season long.

"It felt really good," Harris said of her career day. "I wanted to go out there and just do anything I could to help the team win. I relied on my teammates to set up the offense and get me opportunities to score. I just wanted to do everything I could out there [to help us win.]"

Her 10 rebounds, including a rebound of Northwestern's game winning shot attempt, helped seal the inside for Penn State, who out rebounded the wildcats 49 to 32. From the rebounding advantage, the Lady Lions were able to do what they love to do the most: run in transition.

Penn State had 46 points in the paint, 13 second chance points and 17 off the fast break. Washington believes these numbers cause the balanced scoring attack that occurred the last two games.

"A lot of it stems from the offensive production, stems from us being a lot more aggressive and a lot more assertive, in particular in transition but also in rebounding," said Washington. "We're doing a good job crashing the offensive glass and giving ourselves second and third opportunities."

Penn State will be back in action at Minnesota Wednesday at 8 p.m.

LIVE BLOG: Lady Lions host Northwestern

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live in-game coverage on GoPSUsports.com for the Penn State women's basketball Big Ten contest vs. Northwestern on Sunday, January 25 inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

Be sure to interact with today's blog coverage with questions or comments at the bottom of our widget. Post your photos to Instagram or Twitter and use #PennState or #LadyLions and your photos may be chosen for use on our in-game coverage. 

Live Blog Live Blog: Lady Lions vs. Northwestern
 

BLOG: Lady Lions Click to Get First Big Ten Win

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

10710779.jpeg

By Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was one of those smiles where it was waiting to come out for so long and when it finally did, it was hard to miss. The smiles drew from a sense of appreciation of the hard work Penn State's players and coaches had for each other after sealing a close 79-75 win over Indiana Thursday night.

The win marked Penn State's first since Dec. 14 and first win in the Big Ten conference season.

"I'm happy for the kids and I know they're excited, but the locker room wasn't over-joyed," head coach Coquese Washington said. "It was appreciative and satisfied, but there is an understanding that tomorrow we have to get back to work and we have to keep getting better."

Kaliyah's Night

Penn State certainly improved Thursday night against the Hoosiers with five players scoring in double figures. Sophomore Kaliyah Mitchell led the way with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field.

Mitchell's second straight double-digit night paced the Lady Lions throughout the game, providing balance with Sierra Moore and Candice Agee who had 15 and 13 respectively. With this balance, in its past two games Penn State has seen a considerable improvement on the offensive end.

"No accident here, no accident at all," Washington said of her team playing better as Mitchell gets more involved in scoring. I think Kaliyah's play is big. We need everybody to contribute in the ways that they can and when we do that, I think we can be successful."

Having five players in double-digit scoring marked the first time Penn State has clicked on all cylinders for 40-minutes this season, which according to Mitchell makes it much easier to succeed.

"I think that really helps to take the pressure off of each other," she said. "We know that we have players out there that we can count on. When we are all clicking you don't have to really look for one person, you have everyone on the court available. So, I think today's a game where we showed that. We had a lot of diversity [in the scoring column.] Everybody was being aggressive and I think that is a good thing for our team."

Return of Lindsey

Lindsey Spann returned to the lineup Thursday night after missing the entire Ohio State game. Washington played Spann in spurts in the first half, before having her play the majority of the second half, especially late. The redshirt freshman totaled 23 minutes in her first game back from injury

Washington said she wanted to monitor Spann's minutes coming into the game, but also make sure Spann matched the way the team was playing and was entered in the appropriate times.

In the first half, Spann took a little while to get going and get comfortable playing in full game speed, but in the second half she played more like her normal self and added even more to a very successful group of guard play.

"I think the second half she got the chance to figure out where her opportunities would come," Washington said. I think she got a few [baskets] in transition and she did a better job of seeing her opportunities in the zone. I think she got some good shots off in the zone, which was what helped her."

Between Spann and Sierra Moore, Penn State received 26 points from its guards, a majority of which came in transition in the second half.

Dominate the Paint

Led by Agee, Penn State controlled the glass all night against the Hoosiers 47 to 35 overall and 23 to 11 on the offensive glass. Those numbers turned into 42 Penn State points in the paint compared to Indiana's 14 and the Lady Lions' 19 second chance points.

Especially during the final minutes, Penn State was able to dictate possessions by dominating the inside.

"Most definitely inside presence gave them trouble with Candace [Agee] and Tori [Waldner]," Moore said. "They did a great job posting up today and getting the inside-out game going. That's when our offense is great; I think our inside presence really caused them some trouble."

Getting rebounds was the focus all week in practice, and it paid dividends in the win.

"We really focused in practice [on rebounding]," Peyton Whitted said. "We were working on going to the ball and going after it and jumping to it and not just letting the ball come to us. I thought that really helped us tonight. I thought we were jumping to it and getting there first before [Indiana] had a chance."

Penn State will have a chance to build a two-game winning streak Sunday as they host Northwestern at 2 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Lady Lions Happy To Be Home

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

By Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After playing five of its first seven Big Ten conference games on the road, the Penn State Lady Lions (3-15, 0-7) finally return home for two games this weekend starting with Indiana (12-5, 2-4) Thursday at 7 p.m.

"The schedule gods didn't shine on us in terms of how we started the season on the road," head coach Coquese Washington said. "Being able to come home for a couple games will be nice and being in front of our crowd which has been really good this year understanding that this is a transition year for us and they have still been really supportive and loud."

Penn State returns to the comfort of its own arena after a close road setback at Ohio State, 69-60, without leading scorer Lindsey Spann.

Without Spann available against the Buckeyes, Kaliyah Mitchell and her teammates continued to play hard on the court and not let the absence of Spann let them take any steps backwards. Three Lady Lions were in double figures on the afternoon with Sierra Moore notching 16 points, Mitchell tallying 14 and Candice Agee adding 11.

"I think it was us knowing that she's (Spann) not there, we wanted to show her that we can still play well even though she wasn't there," Mitchell said. "We wanted to show her that we still had her back even though she wasn't out there."

The team's performance against Ohio State has served as a way to prove to Mitchell and the rest of the team that they are capable of winning Big Ten games, no matter what the situation is. Plus, it will only help to have Spann back on the court.

"That really did build some confidence for us and with Lindsey coming back soon that shows us that we can really win now," Mitchell added. "That will help with these next few games and them being at home."

Indiana comes into the BJC Thursday night losing three of its last four, including a home loss to the aforementioned Buckeyes. Teri Moren is in her first year at the helm in Bloomington and Penn State had coach Coquese Washington has noticed a few changes, but not in who runs the show on the court for the Hoosiers.

"They're a little different, but it seems to be that she's allowing their personnel to do what they do. So, Larryn Brooks is still leading them in scoring and is their engine and the heart and soul of that team. She's still shooting the ball deep, creative and off the dribble."

Brooks averages 12.3 points and 4.2 assists per game so far in her sophomore campaign.

After Indiana, Penn State hosts Northwestern at the BJC on Sunday at 2 p.m.

BLOG: Lady Lions Progress Continues, Set for Road Clash With Nebraska

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

By Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coquese Washington has made it clear that while wins are of utmost importance, the progression of her Lady Lion basketball team is a very significant part of the evaluation of their play so far this season. Five games into the conference season, Washington said she likes the upward progression shown by her team in practice and in games.

"I definitely think we are progressing. Is it at the rate that we wanted, probably not, but we are certainly better in a number of areas then we were at the beginning of the season," Washington said.

Washington noted two things she wants to see her team consistently develop over the next few weeks of conference play: improved outside shooting and a reliable third scorer.

"I'd like our outside shooting to be a little more consistent, I think that would help with our offensive output," she said of her team's numbers from beyond the arc.

In terms of getting a third scorer, Washington noted Kaliyah Mitchell and Jenny DeGraaf as two players that could fill that role and make the offensive output more potent and consistent.

"When you have that third scorer that you can rely on every night it makes the offense a little better. If we can get that third scorer consistently that would be a help for us."

The Lady Lions have another tough Big Ten road test Thursday as they travel to Lincoln to face No. 17 Nebraska (12-3, 2-2) at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska has won its last two games against Michigan State and Illinois respectively.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A strong start and huge defensive performance fell short as the Lady Lions lost to new Big Ten foe Rutgers, 71-51, Saturday.

Penn State held on throughout the first half with just a deficit of six at the end of the first period. When head coach Coquese Washington was asked what kept Penn State in the game she simply replied, "I think it was our defense."

The Lady Lion defense crashed the glass yesterday outrebounding the Scarlet Knights with a total of 40 boards. The duo of Tori Waldner and Peyton Whitted pulled down 16 for a team-best of eight rebounds each. Candice Agee also logged six rebounds for the Lions.

The 6-5 Waldner added two blocks and three steals to the Lady Lions defensive effort.

"When we were able to have stretches where we took care of the ball and we were actually getting shots and running offense and able to get back set in defense, that's how we were able to stay in the game," said Washington.

On the offensive side of the game, Lindsey Spann led the Blue and White with 18 points for the 12th time this season. Sierra Moore and Agee rounded out the double figure scorers with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The Lady Lions were 10-for-11 at the free throw line with Spann going a perfect 4-for-4.

"I think that you see the makings of what can be a great team," said Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer. "They have tremendous size. You can see that they conceptually understand what they have to do."

As a young team, Penn State continues to improve on the little things in order to develop a full 40-minute game.

"Right now we are working on putting two halves together, and that's the focus for us," said Agee. "We have to be focused and disciplined in doing that. We are going to keep working on that and hopefully be able to put two halves together."

Next up, the Lady Lions will hit the road to continue conference play at Nebraska. Thursday's 7 p.m. tip against the Cornhuskers will air on the Big Ten Network.

 

 

 

 

 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lion basketball team will welcome new Big Ten foe Rutgers to the Bryce Jordan Center for the first time on Saturday for a noon tip. Excited for the challenge ahead, the Lady Lions are focusing on the process for continued improvement. 

Penn State Process

Penn State is continuing to make strides as the season progresses through Big Ten play. Preparing for Rutgers, the Lady Lions are focusing on the little things that will make game-changing impacts.

"Communication. Energy. Those little things that can make a difference," said sophomore guard Keke Sevillian.

Known as a second-half rallying team, the Blue and White are looking to exert its second-half energy into the first 20 minutes of the game. 

"Right now, we're just focusing on the little things that will lead to better outcomes," said sophomore forward Peyton Whited. "When we focus on the process, we do better. That's our job right now; focusing on playing 40-minute games."

Scouting Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights travel to Happy Valley hot off a win over Michigan Wednesday, which improved their record to 11-4 (2-2).

"They're a very athletic team," said head coach Coquese Washington. "They do a really, really good job of rebounding the ball and using their athleticism to pound the glass."

Rutgers forward Betnijah Laney leads the Big Ten in rebounding averaging 12.4 per game. Being aggressive and crashing the boards will be a must for the Lady Lions as well as tracking Rutgers leading scorer, Tyler Scaife. Scaife leads the Knights with a 16.8 scoring average and shoots 81.4 percent at the free throw line. 

"They've got an outstanding player in Tyler Scaife," said Washington. "She can create her own shot. Kahleah Copper is incredibly athletic and finishes around the rim in a variety of ways. Then you've got Betnijah Laney who does it all for them and really does a great job of making big baskets and big shots. So, I think they've got a full complement as far as offensively of what they can do scoring inside and outside."

Specific attention to those three players [Laney, Copper and Scaife] by the Penn State defense would make a major impact that could shut down the Rutgers offense could result in an upset.

Up Next

After Rutgers, the Lady Lions will travel to Lincoln to take on Big Ten rival Nebraska this Thursday at 7 p.m, which will air on the Big Ten Network. 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lion basketball team will welcome new Big Ten foe Rutgers to the Bryce Jordan Center for the first time on Saturday for a noon tip. Excited for the challenge ahead, the Lady Lions are focusing on the process for continued improvement. 

Penn State Process

Penn State is continuing to make strides as the season progresses through Big Ten play. Preparing for Rutgers, the Lady Lions are focusing on the little things that will make game-changing impacts.

"Communication. Energy. Those little things that can make a difference," said sophomore guard Keke Sevillian.

Known as a second-half rallying team, the Blue and White are looking to exert its second-half energy into the first 20 minutes of the game. 

"Right now, we're just focusing on the little things that will lead to better outcomes," said sophomore forward Peyton Whitted. "When we focus on the process, we do better. That's our job right now; focusing on playing 40-minute games."

Scouting Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights travel to Happy Valley hot off a win over Michigan Wednesday, which improved their record to 11-4 (2-2).

"They're a very athletic team," said head coach Coquese Washington. "They do a really, really good job of rebounding the ball and using their athleticism to pound the glass."

Rutgers forward Betnijah Laney leads the Big Ten in rebounding averaging 12.4 per game. Being aggressive and crashing the boards will be a must for the Lady Lions as well as tracking Rutgers leading scorer, Tyler Scaife. Scaife leads the Knights with a 16.8 scoring average and shoots 81.4 percent at the free throw line. 

"They've got an outstanding player in Tyler Scaife," said Washington. "She can create her own shot. Kahleah Copper is incredibly athletic and finishes around the rim in a variety of ways. Then you've got Betnijah Laney who does it all for them and really does a great job of making big baskets and big shots. So, I think they've got a full complement as far as offensively of what they can do scoring inside and outside."

Specific attention to those three players [Laney, Copper and Scaife] by the Penn State defense would make a major impact that could shut down the Rutgers offense could result in an upset.

Up Next

After Rutgers, the Lady Lions will travel to Lincoln to take on Big Ten rival Nebraska this Thursday at 7 p.m, which will air on the Big Ten Network. 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Lady Lion basketball team is known to roar back in the second half. However, Sunday's Big Ten home opener's second-half rally fell short as Penn State lost to Illinois, 91-76.

"The first half, they have been eye-opening experiences and then once we settle down, you see that we are capable of playing with any team in the conference," said head coach Coquese Washington. "When are we going to be comfortable playing all of these firsts? I don't know. I think that it is different for different players. Lindsey [Spann] seems to have figured it out pretty quickly, but some of the others haven't." 

Spann's debut Lady Lion season has been one worth waiting for. An ACL injury required the point guard to redshirt last season while she completed rehabilitation and training for a healthy but stronger comeback to the court. 

The freshman point guard's determination and hard work has proven to pay off. She leads the team in scoring averaging 16.4 points per game and is second in assists totaling 50. Sunday's game marked the fifth time the freshman point guard hit at least 20 points.

The Laurel, Md. native proves to be multidimensional player in that she's comfortable shooting from anywhere on the court. Spann's confidence is something that the Lady Lions can trust in all situations on the court.    

"When she [Spann] gets within 15 feet, she's just really, really dangerous," said Illinois head coach Matt Bollant. "She has the confidence as a freshman. She doesn't look like a freshman with the way she scores. And with the way she shoots the basketball, she does it right away. She got to the rim, she can make the three and certainly her pull-up is really special." 

Named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on December 30, Spann also demonstrates to be a dangerous asset on defense. She tallied two steals and a career-best six rebounds against Illinois on Sunday. 

When asked what is so special about Spann, Washington responded without hesitation, "her heart."

"She doesn't have a lot of fear," Washington said. "Special players are not afraid of big moments...Lindsey is one of those players. From a skill perspective, when you can finish at the rim and you can shoot the pull-up [jumper] and the three and you are a multidimensional threat, then it is harder to shut you down."

Simultaneously, Spann explained that playing with heart is the most important factor on the court.

"You have to play with heart," Spann said. "You can't give up just because you're down." 

It is no question that Spann has a bright future on the court and that she will continue to be a threat to Penn State opponents. 

The Lady Lion basketball team hits the road for a Tuesday evening matchup against Wisconsin. The 9:00 p.m. (ET) tip will air on the Big Ten Network.