PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In a game that coach Coquese Washington called a "natural rivalry," the Lady Lions fell to Rutgers 74-62 on Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Despite the loss, guards Teniya Page and Lindsey Spann kept the game close while scoring 18 and 13 points, respectively. They did it without Brianna Banks, who sat out for much of the game with foul trouble.
Even though she ended up playing only 20 minutes, Banks still finished with double-digits in points, scoring 12 for Penn State.
"[Banks sitting out] certainly changes our aggressiveness on offense," Washington said. "She's our second-leading scorer and she takes a lot of attention away, which opens things up for other people, so when she's not in the game, it definitely takes some of our biggest weapons away."
Without Banks, Page and Spann were left to lead the Lady Lions as they tried to overcome a deficit as large as 20 points at times. Like many games this season, Penn State was outscored in the first frame, making the rest of the game a game of catch-up.
"I thought this was another game where in the first quarter [we didn't play well]. After that we pretty much played them even," Washington said. "There were some spurts where they got ahead and then we had some spurts where we came back but we never really could overcome that eight-point deficit from the first quarter."
Page's 18 points on the day bring her career total to 359, moving her to ninth all-time for freshmen at Penn State. She surpassed Tanisha Wright, who had 355 points during the 2001-02 season.
"I'd rather win than crack [the top 10 freshmen scoring]. So it's not a big deal to be honest. I didn't know anything about that," Page said.
Banks only played nine minutes in the second half, but added eight points to her final total, including the games final points with eight seconds left.
"She's the best penetrator on the team so not having her out there today, driving to the basket, definitely affected us the most so [it's] a big loss," Page said.
As the Lady Lions look ahead to Michigan State on Thursday, Washington said the team will be focusing on rebounds
"Rebounding is certainly going to be big, Michigan State is a very good rebounding team and they do a fantastic job on the post," Washington said. "So making sure we're doing a good job defensively because Michigan State, especially at home, they're a team that can get on a roll so we have to have a high level of defensive intensity."