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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.

Lady Lions Ready for Final Non-Conference Test

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By Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With one game remaining on the non-conference slate, the Penn State Lady Lions (3-7) are gearing up for Big Ten play. While the first 10 games of the season have had highs and lows for Coquese Washington's young team, there is a lot to take away with one tough out of conference opponent remaining.

The Lady Lions will host South Florida (8-3) Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center before opening Big Ten play on the road against Iowa.

"If we continue to grow and improve and get confidence going through practice and through South Florida I think we can be competitive every night," Washington said. "This team is going to continue to grow and find itself."

Penn State has continued to get better in many areas as the season has progressed, something that is much more valuable than its win loss record. Especially with a younger team, games in the non-conference like Sunday's test against USF will be important moving forward regardless of the result.

"We are seeing some growth from our first game to our most recent game," assistant coach Kia Damon said. "They're not afraid to work. There has been growth in each and every player in a certain aspect of their game."

Lady Lion players acknowledge the fact that while they want the record to be showing more wins than losses at all times, what they have learned during the non-conference will help them when they enter the gauntlet of the Big Ten.

"(Non-conference play) was a learning experience so far and showed that we have to grow quickly and get our roles to together," guard Sierra Moore said. "We will be fine if we can keep maturing as the season goes on."

USF will be a good preview for the Lady Lions of what to expect in Big Ten play. The Bulls come in 8-3 with two marquee wins against Oklahoma and Big Ten foe Illinois. 

Courtney Williams leads the way for USF averaging 18.6 points per game shooting nearly 40 percent from the field. Alisia Jenkins and Tamara Taylor also average double figures 11 games into the season with 12.1 and 10.5 points per game respectively. 

A team having three players averaging double figures is not an uncommon occurrence in Big Ten play, giving the Lady Lions a chance to battle such a team at home in the final out of conference game of the season.

"You're looking at an NCAA tournament caliber opponent which is good heading into conference play because we are going to play teams of that caliber day in and day out," Damon said. "They are a fast team and athletic team so that will just prepare us for what we're going to see in conference."

For Washington and the coaching staff, their team has seen a wide variety of challenges thrown their way in November and December and will have all of that culminate into Sunday's home test against USF.

After USF, the Lady Lions will be on the road at Iowa and Michigan to start Big Ten play before returning home to the Bryce Jordan Center Jan. 4 to host Illinois in the Big Ten home opener.

Agee Powers Lady Lions to Victory

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10626694.jpegBy Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions looked like a team on a mission in Sunday's victory against Rider. They opened the floodgates early, putting two on the board just 15 seconds after the tip. With only one game separating them from their conference schedule, the Lady Lions are starting to find a rhythm and develop court chemistry.

The 85-51 triumph against Rider was a true team effort with a handful of Lady Lions posting double-digit games. Freshman Lindsey Spann posted her second 20-point game of her career and Kaliyah Mitchell secured her first double-double. But for anyone watching Sunday's matchup against Rider, junior Candice Agee was a force to be reckoned with offensively and defensively.

"I think that she [Agee] is one of the players that has really grown," head coach Coquese Washington said. "Over the course these non-conference games you've seen some inconsistency with her. She plays a good half here and a good half there, but the last two or three games, we're starting to see a little more consistency from her."

Agee was on fire, tallying 19 points en route to her third double-digit scoring game of the season. While she was a major contributor on offense, Agee controlled the post last night, checking out of the game with five blocks.

"You're starting to see her confidence grow and her understanding of how she fits and how she can be an impact player for us on both ends," coach Washington said. "You're starting to see her figure that out. Whenever you can have a dominant post-player everything else can flow around that."

Standing at 6-foot-6, the California native is the tallest center coach Washington has had on her roster. Agee is impactful inside the paint; her size, confidence and patience are proving to be an unavoidable obstacle for opposing teams.

"I think it was very important for us to come out firing in the first half rather than trying to pick up [our offense] in the second half," Agee said. "This game compared to last; I made a point to become [the aggressive] player in the first half. It was very important for me to come out and dominate the paint early to open [shots] up for my teammates."

All season long, Coach Washington has been saying that as soon as her team gains some confidence that everything else will fall into place. Agee's confidence is forcing teams outside, making them take shots they aren't comfortable with. With Agee's help, the Lady Lions were able to hold Rider's leading scorer, Robin Perkins, to just six points in Sunday's contest. Perkins came into the game averaging 12.4 points per game.

"We went to the basket in the first half and really didn't get anything out of it because of her presence," coach Milligan said. "She does a great job of clogging the lane and she obviously is long and definitely altered our shots today, there's no doubt about that. That's something for them moving forward is going to be very helpful."

This season, Agee has posted at least on block in all but one game. Her efforts against Rider pushed Agee past the 50-career blocks milestone with 54 all-time and 20 this season. Agee was pretty vocal in last night's game, a necessary component to the on-court chemistry we are seeing develop with these young Lady Lions.

"We wanted to be disciplined in our rotations and make sure we were talking," Agee said. I think we all focused and made an effort to get our rotations right and that helped me get some nice blocks. We are going to keep getting better and working at it." 

Monster First Half Leads to Lady Lion Win

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10626659.jpegBy Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After starting slow Wednesday at Hartford, Coquese Washington stressed to her team during practice the importance of a fast start in the first half against Rider on Sunday. It's safe to say the Lady Lions listened in their 85-51 win.

Two minutes and 46 seconds into the contest, Penn State raced out to a 13-4 lead without missing a shot from the field and forcing three Rider turnovers. Just under five minutes into the game, the Lady Lions already doubled up the Broncs taking a 21-10 lead.

"We focused more on building off of that second half (against Hartford) and playing with the same level of energy and intensity to start this game," Washington said of her team's preparation prior to Sunday. "There were a lot of positives today."

Ten minutes into the first half Penn State already tallied 30 points. Point guard Lindsey Spann said that they were able to succeed immediately in the first half because they went back to playing their brand of basketball.

"We were able to get out and run in transition," Spann said. "That led to getting a lot of easy buckets. Our spacing was good and people were knocking down open shots, so that helped us out a lot."

When the first half ended Penn State held a 50-23 lead, as they shot 55.6 percent from the field, forced 13 Rider turnovers and outrebounded the Broncs 29-18. Penn State's impressive first half stats didn't go away in the second half as they ended up winning by a margin of 34 points.

With a young team, that is learning from each and every game, being up by 20 points or more could allow them to lessen the energy in the second half or as the lead grew larger, but the Lady Lions kept pushing.

"We can't get too comfortable," guard Keke Sevillian said of what her team was focusing on in the second half. "We may be up 20 points, but this game was about us and us getting better at the things we need to [get better at] before conference play starts. We try to not look at the scoreboard. We can't get to comfortable with any lead. We have to continue to play our game."

Washington was impressed with that aspect of her team's dominating performance.

"I was glad that we didn't have long stretches of play where the energy and focus wasn't where we needed it to be," she said. "For a young team, I think they're learning that 40 minutes is a long time. It's a long game and a lot can happen both positive and negative, if you relax or if you don't play with intensity. We learned that lesson in some of our earlier games and I think they responded to that challenge tonight by staying focused and playing hard for 40 minutes."

Playing hard was also a major takeaway for Washington. Her teams have traditionally become successful because of their energy and relentless play defensively.

That style of play has been on display all season during the non-conference, but perhaps none more than Sunday against Rider.

"It always comes down to who wants it more," Sevillian said. "At the end of the game it came down to effort. Effort includes transitions, diving for the ball, steals and deflections. That is what it comes down to so it is very important that we hone in on that every game."

With one non-conference game to play before opening the Big Ten schedule, Washington reflected on her team's progression thus far.

"In terms of preparation, it's been a big learning experience for us," Washington said. "Developing an identity, developing our on-court chemistry, developing a rhythm in terms of how we want to play and what we can expect each night. Even after 10 games, it's still a work in progress."

By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Every winning team begins somewhere, whether it is an adjustment to a new a coach, a new playbook, or an entirely new roster. Winning rarely ever just happens; if it did, watching a team grow into their own wouldn't be as enjoyable.

It is no secret that the Lady Lions are facing a learning curve this season. Penn State graduated four starting seniors last year: Talia East, Ariel Edwards, Dara Taylor and Maggie Lucas. Last year's senior class won three regular-season Big Ten championships, secured a bid for the NCAA tournament four times, and recorded 101 wins, the second most by a class in Penn State women's basketball history.

From the beginning of the season, head coach Coquese Washington has said that this season was going to be a process. Coach Washington and her staff have had to reinvent their playbook, learn a new team and virtually jumpstart a new era of Lady Lion basketball. The Lady Lions are working week-in and week-out with a roster that is mostly sophomores.

"I have seen a lot of growth in this team, though it hasn't necessarily shown up on game day," Washington said. "There is growth in practice and there is growth in games. Coaching is like raising kids: some kids have growth-spurts at different times."

If this past weekend's win against Wagner proves anything it is this: the team is coming into their own. With only eight games under their belt, the Lady Lion's are building off of a 2-6 record. The next three games are the last matchups for Penn State before they begin conference play.

"We have played eight games so far; it looks like eight games," Washington said. I thought it was fantastic to have three girls post 20-point games this weekend. The pace that we played against Seton Hall is the pace that we would like to see more often."

For anyone watching Sunday afternoon's matchup, you could see the energy the Lady Lions had on the court. That level of energy is something that spectators and opposing teams will see moving forward with the season, as the team is only becoming more confident." 

"I think our leadership with Lindsey (Spann), Sierra (Moore) and Kaliyah (Mitchell) will be inspired by the consistency of their play," Washington said. "As we continue to grow as a team and develop a standard of consistency, especially as we head into conference play, our team will come into its own."

Coach Washington's plan for this team changes with every game. The Lady Lion's have operated with five different starting lineups and with a young team; trial and error is common place. Without a doubt, the Lady Lions are heading into Wednesday's matchup against Hartford with a confidence boost, but coach Washington wants her team to learn how to build momentum and not rely on momentum from a previous game.

"Wagner was a great experience for us, maybe even cathartic in some ways," coach Washington said. "Hartford is going to be a different challenge; they play taller and bigger teams really tough. If you are going to momentum it has to be because you are focused at the task at hand. We will get there."

The Lady Lions square off against Hartford, on the road, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. 

Learning Process Continues as Lady Lions Top Wagner

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10612179.jpegBy Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coquese Washington has been open about it since day one of the 2014-15 season - it's a continual work in progress. Part of that work in progress is how a team comes off of a setback, which Penn State (2-6) did very well Sunday topping Wagner (0-7) 96-66.

Her players agree with that assessment and used Sunday's win as another learning point in the young season.


"I don't think our confidence was ever in question," sophomore guard Sierra Moore said. "We just keep working hard every day in practice and we knew what we had to [improve] upon and we knew that if we worked on the things that we needed to [work on], the outcome would be good."

Teammate Lindsey Spann had similar thoughts to Moore stating they know it's a day-by-day mentality in terms of the team's improvement.

"We know that we have a lot of potential, so we just have to be willing to get improve each time on the court," guard Lindsey Spann said. "If we can put up [96 points] each time, then that's what we're going do, but it's just about growth and getting better for us right now."

Washington said after Sunday's win she did see many areas of her team's play improve, which proves to them they are capable of playing the way they want to if they continue to trust the process.

Against Wagner, Washington specifically noticed her team's discipline is starting to get better as they play more games.

"When you're young, you don't always have the discipline to execute," Washington said. "One of the things I was pleased with today was that I saw a lot more discipline out there, especially defensively in the first half.

"What I'm starting to see is a lot more discipline and execution. It's allowing us to be successful."

By being able to own a commanding lead in the second half, Washington was able to test out a few different lineup combinations. Some featured three guards on the floor at the same time; others featured three forwards on the floor at the same time.

Washington even experimented having a lineup without leading scorers Lindsey Spann and Sierra Moore on the floor at the same time, being able to see what other players could contribute in their absence.

"We're still young and we're still finding combinations that play well together," Washington said. "We started one lineup to start the game, but we went with a smaller one pretty quickly that worked a lot better."

This won't be the last time Washington does this, either. By mixing up who is on the floor together, the team becomes comfortable in what could be uncomfortable situations moving forward.

"We will probably have to go with the lineup that's working that night based on matchups and foul issues," said Washington. "It's good that we have a lot of options to go to. We can play big if we need to and we can play small if we need to. As long as we're doing a good job of taking care of the ball and rebounding, like we did today, then I think we'll be alright."

The next task for the Lady Lions is Hartford on the road Wednesday at 7 p.m. before returning home to the BJC to face Rider at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Spann, Moore and Mitchell Lead Lions Past Wagner

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10611015.jpegBy Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Looking to snap a skid, the Lady Lions took the court against Wagner Sunday afternoon hungry for a victory. Thanks to a big afternoon from Lindsey Spann, Sierra Moore and Kaliyah Mitchell, the Lions powered past Wagner for a 96-66 win inside the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday.


Heading into this season, coach Coquese Washington knew that it would take a few games for her team to find their groove and develop some on-court chemistry. But, during Sunday's contest it was obvious that Spann, Moore and Mitchell have come into their own, as the trio contributed to 62 of 96 points for the Lady Lions. Sunday was the first time since 2011 that three Lady Lions registered 20 points or more in the same game.

"They are our starting backcourt and they are starting to develop some chemistry on both ends of the floor," coach Washington said. "Chemistry, especially with guard play, is big for our program. When our guard play has been fluid, we've been a better team. That's what we saw out there tonight."

Spann versus the Seahawks
The redshirt freshman got the ball rolling for the Lady Lions following the opening tip, as she sunk the first basket of the matchup just 18 seconds in. Spann netted her 100th career point just 3:30 into the matchup. She finished with 22 on the night, securing her eighth-straight double-digit performance of her career.

"This was a team win," Spann said. "We were sharing the ball and getting each other open looks. We worked on our transition [at practice] and by doing the things we practice it can open things up for all of us."

She wasn't kidding; Moore and Mitchell followed suit with career-high games.  

Moore versus the Seahawks
Aside from posting a 20-point game, the sophomore was nearly perfect from the free throw line, going 11 for 12 on the game (21 total points). Moore also tallied seven assists, a career-best, with her five-assist game against Seton Hall coming in second. 

"We did a good job of moving the ball tonight," Moore said. "Just passing the ball around and getting a lot of ball reversals opens up a lot of different opportunities for us. When that happens, it's easier to get to the basket and score."

Mitchell versus the Seahawks
Mitchell's sophomore season is off to a solid start, as she notched her 200th career point with a layup in Sunday's matchup. With two solid halves on Sunday, Mitchell tallied 20 for the Lady Lions.

"I think it [career high game] was another sign of growth," Mitchell said. "Moving from last year to this year, it was a rough start but I have just been focusing on my game. Being able to contribute to the team is something that I'm really focused on and I will try to do it any way I can."

Undeniable Court Chemistry
Individually, Spann, Moore and Mitchell are starting to come into their own; they are becoming more and more comfortable on the offensive end of the floor. But, this trio is strongest together. Aside from the 96-66 win, the mere fact that three Lady Lions had 20-point nights shows they are finding each other on the court and creating opportunities for multiple scorers.

Sunday's contest was the highest point total the team has secured all season and was just 20 points shy of tying the Bryce Jordan Center's all time record of 117 points scored in a single game (Nov. 8, 2013 against St. Francis).


Team bests aside, Sunday's much needed win wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of Spann, Mitchell and Moore on both offense and defense.   

"They are all starting to develop camaraderie out there on both ends of the floor," Washington said. "When they are playing with that kind of confidence and synergy amongst themselves, it rubs off on the rest of the team and provides us the opportunity to make good plays."

Spann Shining in Debut Season

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By Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Lindsey Spann set out a plan prior to her arrival to Penn State in the summer of 2013, one that included her being on the court during her first college basketball season. However, it turned out to be the exact opposite of what she planned: sitting on the bench due to an injury that sidelined her for an entire season.

She played the waiting game, while rehabbing and training so she could be playing at a top level upon her return to the court in her debut Lady Lion season.

It's safe to say in the early stages of the 2014-'15 season this part of Spann's new plan of excelling on the court is panning out just fine.

The redshirt freshman is in the top two on the team in minutes played, points, assists, steals and free throw percentage six games into the season. She has also led the team in scoring in three of its six games and has yet to post a game without a double-digit point total.

Her head coach says the explanation of her success is simple: an unmatched work ethic.

"Lindsey is a competitor," head coach Coquese Washington said. "She killed it in the training room last year. She was remarkable with her work ethic coming back from her knee injury. It says a lot about her determination to be able to come back and step right in and not miss a beat physically."

Spann spent countless hours in the training room rehabbing and getting stronger in efforts to be ready for this season, while having to deal with the tough reality of not being able to play day in and day out.

"The hardest part about it was not being able to play," Spann said. "It was just about keeping a positive attitude and knowing that everything was going to be alright and everything happens for a reason and I had to work to get better."

Her efforts to return to the court did not go unnoticed in the Lady Lion locker room.

"You can definitely see that she worked really hard in the offseason to get back to where she is now," fellow guard Sierra Moore said. "I think she has grown more and matured more as a player even though she is a freshman on the court I think that experience of watching the game and getting to know it is an advantage as a point guard. "

Although it may not seem like it's true, there were many benefits for Spann as she sat out the 2013-'14 season, some of which are visible with her play this season.

Spann was able to watch tremendous guards and leaders in Maggie Lucas and Dara Taylor and see how they approached the game both as players and as leaders.

"I realized that I needed to bring a lot more energy and be loud and encouraging and become a leader that's demanding of what we expect of each other," Spann said.

Washington agreed.

"I think being able to watch it and see it up close gave her some perspective," the head coach said. "Lindsey is a different type of leader and different type of leader for this team. The things she picked up on were the impact that the point guard has on the team and how the point guard has to be the engine and the heart of the team."

Now, with that season behind her, Spann is taking all of her experiences and see them come full circle and Washington is not surprised with the outcome.

"She has a pretty high basketball IQ and as she's adjusting to the speed of the game and the contact of the game she's getting better and better every night out," Washington said. "She has confidence in her abilities and that's allowed her to step into the starting point guard spot as a freshman and have a measure of success."

Penn State heads to Syracuse on Thursday for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tip is at 7 p.m.

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