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By Brian McLaughlin, Student Staff Writer GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Lady Lions enter a rare week off from play and the opportunity to have some fun off the court this weekend with Penn State's 46-hour long dance-marathon THON looming, this Friday to Sunday in the Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State's campus. 

THON, which is student-run and raises money to fight childhood cancer, has what is called "athlete hour" every year in which student-athletes get to energize the crowd with performances on stage. Because THON falls during the basketball season, the Lady Lions are not always able to participate, but the last few years the schedule has fallen perfectly and allowed the team to participate in this life-altering event. 

"The energy that THON brings to the building is incredible and thankfully we're not on the road this year," head coach Coquese Washington said. "Our kids get to experience this and be a part of athlete hour and be a part of the whole weekend. I know they are excited to participate and just feel the energy of the whole weekend." 

In 2017 the Lady Lions showed off their moves in front of a packed Bryce Jordan Center, highlighted by solo moves by then freshman Siyeh Frazier. Sarah McMurtry also showed off, with the worm dance move in front of her teammates.

"All the students of different backgrounds I think is what got me going so much," Frazier said. "Regardless of race or what was going on today we were able to all come together and celebrate and do something great for a great cause. I'm not really an outgoing person and I wouldn't do that on a regular basis so I guess I was so into it that it just happened with all the people around and the energy it just happened." 

A huge part of THON is the community it creates between the students as Frazier explained. Washington believes that is one of the best parts for her team. 

"THON is an unbelievable experience. I think one of the strength of the Penn State community and one of the things that makes Penn State so unique is its commitment to community service, commitment to giving back and commitment to connecting others. THON is just an extremely vibrant example of that commitment and for our students to be a part of that and experience it on such a big scale is really meaningful for them," Washington said. "It's things like THON in your college life that when you reflect 10 years later those are the moments you go back to, things like getting to dance at THON. Those are the memories and experiences that make being a college athlete and being a college student at Penn State so special." 

The Lady Lions will once again have the chance to dance during the athlete hour, but don't have any concrete plans yet, or at least none they will divulge. 

"We've talked about this year's a little bit but we do have some stuff we are getting ready, but nothing huge yet," Frazier said. 

"We don't have a ton of time to plan it like some other teams, but hopefully we can bring energy and excitement to the stage," sophomore guard Amari Carter said. "Last year the gymnastics team was so good, they were doing flips and other crazy stuff." 

Don't expect that much out of the Lady Lions however, Carter has a much different style.

"No way I don't flip, or skip or really anything. The only time I'm in the air is straight up like for a rebound. Only normal vertical jumps for me," Carter said.

"Nobody on our team surprised me with their dance moves, they are a bunch of hams. You turn that camera and music on and the Lady Lions will start that dance party for you. They have an affinity for being engaged and involved in THON," Washington added.

While the dance moves are a fun part of the weekend, the team knows it's all for a bigger cause. 

 "The key word is support through it all. Everybody's experience with cancer is personal to them and I think the job that the rest of us can do is just to support in any way we can," Washington said. "Whether it's giving a listening ear or driving someone to treatment or helping do research on medications. It takes a community of people to help fight this disease and help each other get through it, that's what THON is all about creating a community to help beat this." 

"I've been fortunate enough at times to be here during THON and when you look out and see thousands of people dancing and having a good time and bringing attention and awareness to a cause it gives you chills," she added.  "To know you are part of a community of students that find this important and keep the dream living on is really impressive."

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By Brian McLaughlin, Student Staff Writer GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State opened the fourth quarter on a 11-to-0 run against Northwestern and never looked back, topping the Wildcats 67-59 Wednesday night in the Bryce Jordan Center. 

The Lady Lions struggled with turnovers in the second and third quarters, allowing Northwestern to open up a lead as large as 13 late in the third quarter. After four consecutive turnovers for Northwestern to start the final frame, Penn State took advantage and brought the energy.

"I think as a group we were lackadaisical to start the game and it took us a while to realize we were down and I think everybody's mentality changed," junior guard Teniya Page said. "It shouldn't be like that, we should come out ready to play but we have to change our mentality and be a little more aggressive on the defensive end." 

Both teams struggled out of the gate to find rhythm offensively, with the Wildcats scoring just seven first quarter points. For the Lady lions it was the second and third quarter where they could not get going, shooting just 31 percent from the field in the second quarter and 33 percent in the third.

"We had a lot of turnovers in the second and third quarters with 17 on the game and in those first three quarters we were turning the ball over a lot. They were also live turnovers which can sometimes be deflating. We didn't really respond to turning the ball over," head coach Coquese Washington said. "In the fourth quarter we were better defensively and didn't turn the ball over. We talked in the timeout about having a lot more energy in the fourth quarter especially in the defensive end." 

Defensively the game changed when Washington switched her team's defense to a man-to-man style and applying a lot more pressure. Amari Carter and Siyeh Frazier each snagged multiple passes from Northwestern to get easy layups. The start to the fourth quarter was able to give the Lady Lions the push they needed to finish the game.

"Positive plays generally can give you a lot of an emotional push, and when you can string two or three positive plays together it really works," Washington said. 

The entire team struggled throughout the game from the field, but all of a sudden everyone was making huge plays in the fourth quarter. 

"We were also getting some key contributions from a number of people. Amari Carter made some plays, De'Janae (Boykin) made some plays in the fourth quarter, Siyeh was all over the place defensively and Jaida Travascio-Green a big three late in the game," Washington said. "Teniya of course got to the free throw line and made some plays. So a big positive was it wasn't just one person we got huge contributions from lots of people on the floor. That makes it a lot harder for the defense to key in on one person." 

Page led the Lady Lions with 22 points, and also contributed with three steals on the defensive end. That defense is an area that Washington believes is extremely underrated in Page's game. 

Penn State will get the next week off before travelling to Nebraska next week in their final Big Ten road matchup of the season.

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By Brian McLaughlin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With just five games left in Big Ten play, the Penn State Lady Lions may be hitting their stride at the right time after playing one of their most complete games of the season on Super Bowl Sunday against Michigan State. 

The Spartans entered the matchup tied with the Lady Lions in the Big Ten standings but constant pressure from Penn State caused 20 Michigan State turnovers. This allowed Penn state to get out and run in transition and play at the quick pace they much prefer over a slower half-court game.

"We work a lot in practice on scoring in the first six seconds once we get a rebound or steal so I think that really showed against Michigan State," sophomore guard Jaida Travascio-Green said. "We do try to get up and down and we do get a lot of steals so then our guards try to get out and get wide and we have a lot of options from there." 

The defense clearly came to play against the Spartans as a half-court trap flustered the visitors providing plenty of opportunities for steals and deflections. On the year, there have been a variety of players for the Lady Lions to make an impact on the defensive side, and head coach Coquese Washington says they all bring something different to the table.

 "Siyeh (Frazier) uses her speed and quickness to do a good job pressuring on ball. Amari (Carter) uses her athleticism and length to get into passing lanes, jumping gaps and getting steals kind of off the ball. Teniya (Page) is a really good off the ball defender too, she is more likely to pick up a charge or reach in and get a steal or deflection off the big so they all impact the game in their own way," Washington said. "Amari and Teniya are really good rebounding guards, against Michigan State they both had five or six rebounds apiece. I think they've had games where they've had eight or nine boards. When you have guards that can get in and attack the boards like that, it can be huge for us."

The depth on the defensive side has given Washington quite the arsenal defensively this season and has allowed to switch defenses at will. She also tries to adjust based on how she thinks they can limit other team's strengths.

"It mostly comes down to what I think we can do successfully. So you can watch a team play, like you can watch Michigan State play Minnesota, and Minnesota may have had some success on defense but can you do the same thing with your team and your personnel," Washington said. "So we have some things to work on and try to figure out which one of our defense which will be best to utilize against our next opponent."

Frazier specifically was all over the court against Michigan State, tying a season high in points with 14 and adding two steals. She was often a part of the traps that forced the turnovers with point guard Amari Carter.

"I'm not really big so I use my length on the defensive side and I have really long arms. Just getting in passing lanes, making the person on offense takes tough shots," Carter said. "Then you have Siyeh with the speed and quick hands. She is a great defender. We all just try to be disruptive on the defensive end as much as we can." 

Frazier knows she brings a lot to the team defensively but just tries to play whatever role is asked of her. She has played anywhere from the point-guard to the forward position this year and has been in and out of the starting lineup due to injuries early in the season for teammates such as Teniya Page. 

"I just try to maintain a versatile mindset, like sometimes coach wants me at the four position when we go small, or maybe sometimes I will be bringing the ball up. I just try to stay versatile and be able to fill any role to help my team win," Frazier said.

With just five games remaining in regular season Big Ten play, the Lady Lions are hoping to be able to maintain this momentum moving forward, with each game providing a different challenge. 

"The one thing about the Big Ten is it's not a one size fits all conference, there are so many different mentalities and so many different approaches because we have really good post players like for Michigan State. We are going to play Iowa and Gustafson is having an MVP caliber year," Washington said. "You play Ohio State and Kelsey Mitchell is almost unguardable so every team kind of has different aspects which makes them tough. So it's hard to go into our conference and say we are just going to do one thing and that's going to guard every team in our conference well. You have to be able to switch things up because there is so much variety and styles in the Big Ten."

While styles change, Travascio-Green's mindset remains the same with what she thinks the team needs to do defensively.

 "We just take it game by game and work on the different defenses specifically in practice before a game," Travascio-Green said. "We know how to guard everything because we know how to guard different actions from all sorts of different styles." 

The high defensive pressure can lead to offense as well, as Penn State outscored the Spartans 14-3 on fast break points Sunday, and nobody knows this better than Amari Carter who operates the offense from the point-guard position.

"Defense leads to offense so speeding up the other teams and making them make tough passes leads to us getting out on the break and then just coming back down and getting another steal and keep that cycle going is fun." 

The fun is starting to pick up for the Lady Lions, but Washington really wants to see her team pick up a big road win before the regular season can come to a close. If they are to get that road win the defensive pressure and dictating pace will likely play a huge part. The Lady Lions know what has to be done to get that win. 

"I think we've pretty much figured out what we want to do and I think we've known what we want to do for a while," Carter said. "It's just executing it and doing it consistently is a big thing for us as we get closer to postseason play."

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By Brian McLaughlin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's strength all year has been team speed, and the Lady Lions used it to their advantage once again in a 74-59 win on Sunday over Michigan State. 

The Lady Lions were able to control the pace of play in the first half and used a quick tempo to outscore the Spartans 14-3 on fast break points.

"We definitely wanted to use our speed to our advantage. Either size was going to win or speed was going to win and coming into the game we talked that we weren't going to out-size them," head coach Coquese Washington said. "They are bigger than us so we had to out run them. I thought the team did a great job executing that part of the game plan."

Jaida Travascio-Green got Penn State going in the first quarter, running the break when she went on a solo 10-0 run which included two transition three-pointers.

The hot start continued when Siyeh Frazier helped force back-to-back turnovers and finished on the other end for breakaway layups. 

"She (Siyeh) is kind of an X-Factor. She has tremendous speed and tremendous quickness. She can get out in transition and she knows how to finish. She also gets us some extra possessions with those plays and, in a number of different ways, especially when she is rebounding and gets us deflections," Washington said. "She doesn't always get the steal but sometimes she makes the ball handler make an errant pass. Or she will get a deflection and someone else ends up with the steal. She is a great compliment to Teniya [Page] and Amari [Carter] on defense. All three of them are different types of defenders so she is a great compliment to those two."

Frazier finished with 14 points which tied er career-high and are the most in a Big Ten game for the sophomore, most of which came on strong drives to the hoop.

"Being aggressive towards the basket is what's best for me, and not being passive just works in my game," Frazier said. 

Along with Frazier, sophomore point guard Amari Carter had a large impact on dictating the pace and creating turnovers. Carter scored 14 points, had six assists and perhaps most impactful had five steals. 

"I think being active on the defensive end helps us get out and get on the run and get those easy points for Siyeh," Carter said. "So active hands and getting in passing lanes, making them make bad passes and take tough shots then getting rebounds and getting out [on the break] definitely helps us."

Defensive pressure has been an emphasis for the Lady Lions all season, but have at times struggled to open games and play at their pace. Washington however, was pleased with how her team started against Michigan State. 

"I thought our defensive effort, especially to start the game was exactly what it needed to be. Michigan State's strength is their post play and they are aggressive trying to get it to their post so we knew we had to work really hard to keep them out of rhythm," Washington said. "That work on the defensive end led to some transition opportunities for us. In particular, in the first half we were able to get going and get some confidence there."

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By Brian McLaughlin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Last Sunday against the Purdue Boilermakers Jaida Travascio-Green notched her 100th career 3-point shot at Penn State, becoming just the 16th Lady Lion ever to reach that mark.

Travascio-Green is still just a sophomore and has been a threat all over the court this season for Penn State, and this milestone is just one representation of her hard work. 

"It's definitely a big deal especially because I knew coming in I was going to be shooting threes, but to make my 100th and to think about that as 300 points is kind of insane," Travascio-Green said. "It was a big deal. I'm excited to go up from here, I'm only a sophomore so I'm excited to see what happens with the rest of this season and then moving forward in my career." 

It is not just the three that has been falling this year for Travascio-Green, as she added many weapons to her game and honed other skills in the offseason.

"This summer I worked a lot on my ball handling, working on my pull-up and getting to the basket. I think I've made more twos this year than I attempted all of last year at this point and I think I hit that point pretty early on in the season," Travascio-Green said. "That makes it easier to get my shot off [from 3-point range] because they can't just run out at me because I can go past them. Just adding in another facet of my game helps me get more opportunities." 

Travascio-Green has added a dribble drive to her game, and has also gotten to the free-throw line at a higher rate. Early in non-conference play, leading-scorer Teniya Page was out with injury and it was Travascio-Green stepping up on the offensive end scoring as many as 31 points in a game.

While Travascio-Green has added more skills, she is still most dangerous from outside the arc.

"She's worked pretty hard along with her position coach. They've put a lot of time in before and after practice just working on her form and on her footwork and things of that nature," head coach Coquese Washington said. "I think the results show that when she gets in the game she shoots with a lot of confidence and her teammates have a lot of confidence in her."

But as every shooter knows, not every game is a cake-walk with open looks from the top of the key. There have been games where Travascio-Green doesn't hit with her usual frequency.

"For any shooter there are just days when it's not falling, there are days when it just rattles in and out and touches every part of the rim, but just won't go in. A big thing for me is I try not to think about my shot too much, when I do start to think about it my coaches get in my ear and tell me I have to miss 25 threes before I can stop shooting," Travascio-Green said. "So I try to think about that and think there's no way I can miss 25 threes in a row or even 15 in a row. So just keeping the mentality that if you're a shooter you've just got to keep shooting and they will fall eventually." 

The short memory mentality has served her well, and is a mature mindset for a true sophomore. The young Lady Lions have all had to grow up fast in Big Ten play and play with confidence, but it may be more important for the shooter to have it than any other position. 

"I think she has learned this year that you have to have a short memory as a shooter and you can't let a couple of misses deter you from taking the next one," Washington said. "As she's become more prolific in her ability she's drawn a lot more attention so there are times she will say 'I didn't think i was open.'  I just tell her, 'well that's as open as you're going to get.' When you shoot the ball as well as she does, you're not going to be completely wide open and they're not going to leave you alone. I think she's learned even to be more aggressive when getting that extra attention." 

That attention and defensive focus from opponents has been a theme on Travascio-Green. When she is feeling it from deep, it becomes tough to even breath when on offense. She has shown potential to score in bunches and in a multitude of ways adding a third weapon for the Lady Lion offense alongside starting backcourt mates Page and Amari Carter.

Without one senior on the roster, this trio will only grow stronger both individually, and as a unit. When defenses are forced to deny Travascio-Green the ball on the perimeter, it opens lanes for Carter and Page to drive. Three complete offensive weapons is the goal for Washington's offense, and with the additions to Travascio-Green's game this is not a that tall of a task.

"I think the attention is only going to grow as she also grows as a player. She's a player who plays with a lot of pride in being out there on the court," Washington said. "She will continue to add to her game, this year she's working more off her dribble, and she's adding her pull-up jumper into her game a little more. So I think she's working those ancillary skills into her game a little more that go with a tremendous three-point shooter."

As her team grows around her on the court, Travascio-Green's 3-point shooting has been a highlight of this season, and her scoring prowess is only going to skyrocket in the years to come.

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's basketball is playing the best that it has all season, rattling off three straight wins in conference play. 

The streak started with a road win at Wisconsin, the first road win in conference play for the Lady Lions this season. But it was the two wins at home, the final-second victory over Rutgers and the consistent performance in the win over Illinois, that really have the Lady Lions hitting their stride at the right time. 

With a daunting stretch of four of their next five games on the road, the Lady Lions picked up some much-needed momentum in the last two games. 

"Winning road games in the Big Ten is really tough," head coach Coquese Washington said. "Everyone in our conference seems to play pretty well at home because of the crowds we get and it makes those road games challenging. If we can continue to take advantage of some of these games at home, that'll be really good for us." 

The Lady Lions understand the edge the crowd gives them. The game itself doesn't change at all, but the fact that they have the support of the fans behind them is something they cherish and use to their benefit, a benefit that has led the team to a 9-2 record in the Bryce Jordan Center this season.  

"I don't think we do anything differently in terms of execution, but our crowd is definitely a factor," Washington said. "They give us an extra boost of adrenaline and they're loud and supportive. We love playing at home and it's worth something to us."

The crowd certainly has had an influence over the last two games, especially in the win over Rutgers. The Lady Lions trailed in the final seconds, but Teniya Page, one of the top scorers in the Big Ten, hit four of five clutch free throws after being fouled on a three coupled with a Rutgers technical foul with one second remaining.

Page, after missing time early in the year due to injury, has come on strong, averaging 26 points in her last two games. She put up a season-high 34 in the Rutgers win, and she has been the catalyst to the team's winning ways at home.

"When you look at highly successful teams, they have one or two players that are capable of being better than the defense," Washington said. "They just make plays sometimes that are better than the defense. It's not like the defense is bad, they're just capable of making tremendous offensive plays." 

Washington likened Page to some famous NBA players who have been known to put teams on their backs in the final minutes, such as Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry.

"Teniya is one of those players," Washington said.  "To have a player like that in the last few minutes of a game and confidence in that we're at least going to have a shot whether she makes it or not. She proved once again that when the stakes are high, she can come through."

Page isn't the only one capable of taking over a game though, as her backcourt mate Amari Carter showed her ability to lead this team at the beginning of the season as well as continuing her high level of play in the time since then.

"Amari is turning into a player that can make big plays for us in critical moments," Washington said. "She's still learning how she fits that into her game. Teniya is a little more familiar with that role being a year older, but to have two players that you can put the ball in their hands and they'll make plays, it's really a luxury."

Sophomore Jaida Travascio-Green has come into her own as well, hitting clutch 3-pointers all season and helping the Lady Lions in tight games to get the needed boost to propel them to victory.

"She's a very confident shooter and she's absolutely right [about everyone on the team believing her shot will go in when she takes an open three]," Washington said. "The entire team and coaching staff has tremendous confidence in her as a shooter. It doesn't matter to us if she misses a couple shots, we're all going to keep screaming at her to keep shooting and try to find her when she's open beyond the three-point line. She had two big threes late in that game last week against Rutgers that really helped propel us to the win."

The Lady Lions are now 4-4 in conference play, and right in the middle of the Big Ten standings. However, there's still plenty of time left in the season and the conference landscape still has plenty of time to take shape.

"We're not focused on standings at all or what a game means in that respect," Washington said. "We just want to focus on playing the best we can and trying to be successful any given night."

Next up for the Lady Lions:

  • a Purdue: Sunday, Jan. 28 at 12 p.m.
  • at Ohio State: Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.

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By Brian McLaughlin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite shooting just 33 percent from the field, Penn State topped the Illinois Fighting Illini 68-59 Tuesday night in the Bryce Jordan Center.

During the tough shooting outing, the Lady Lions made only three field goals in the fourth quarter and none in the last five minutes of game time. Despite that, they were still able to control the lead thanks to clutch free throw shooting, knocking down 12 shots from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter alone. 

"It (Free Throw shooting) was critical, and we did go through a tough stretch. We had some looks in that stretch that just didn't go down. Teniya, Amari (Carter) and Jaida (Travascio-Green) all had some good shots that just didn't go down," head coach Coquese Washington said. "But we got to the free throw line and were able to continue to put points on the board and whatever way you can do that helps win the game."

 Page individually was crucial from the line connecting on 9-of-10 on free throws which amounted to half of her team-high 18 points.

"I think just being patient at the free throw line is big. Some of the other shots I rushed and others just didn't fall tonight," Page said. "I can't get mad about that I just have to keep playing the game."

While the Lady Lions struggled to hit shots with consistency, the team showed off its depth with three players reaching double figures. They also added 18 bench points and Illinois had just two points off the bench.

"Recently in practice we've worked a lot on making the extra pass and hitting the open person so I think we were trying to do that today," Travascio-Green said. "We even missed some people today so that shows we can only go up from there."

Penn State also continued to stay relentless on the defensive end, using pressure to create offense and speed up the pace.

The game started with a 5-0 run for the Fighting Illini and Washington quickly took a timeout, not impressed with the start.

"I wanted us to take our intensity up a little more defensively and in the early timeout I talked about being more intense and aggressive on the defensive end," she said. 

This has been an emphasis for the Lady Lions all year, and they have been able to use the defense to make up for cold stretches in the offensive end. They've also used other scrappy ways to make points such as offensive rebounds and from the free throw line. Penn State was able to take advantage of these tonight to seal the win.

 "I think that there were some good stretches during the game where we were disruptive defensively. When you struggle to make shots like we did early in the game then you have to pick it up on the defensive end," Washington said. "We got a few turnovers from the press. We got a few offensive rebounds so being aggressive defensively really helped us get going early then close it late."

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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 

@GOPSUSPORTS

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