Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State Lady Lions led by head coach Coquese
Washington met with the media Wednesday afternoon, as they get ready for the
2017-18 campaign. Coming off a strong 2016-17 that saw the Lady
Lions finish 21-11 with a postseason appearance, expectations are high going
into the year. Below are five things to look for this season when
Penn State hits the floor.
1. Building off Momentum
For the first time in three
years, the Lady Lions returned to postseason basketball last season. Penn State
reached the Women's NIT third round, and gained some valuable experience from
being able to compete in postseason play.
"It wet our appetite and it
wet the kids' appetite for more," Washington said. "They enjoyed the
experience of playing in the postseason, a lot of first time opportunities for
many of them."
The Lady Lions will look to
expand on the success they had last postseason and use it to understand how
difficult it is to compete every night and win in the Big Ten, one of the
premier conferences in the country.
2. Leaders Emerge on Young Team
With the departure of four
seniors as well as second-leading scorer Lindsey Spann from last season's
squad, 2017-18 provides ample opportunities for several players to solidify
themselves as leaders on this team. This is a group with a young core, and a
few players have an ability to take over as that commanding voice in the locker
The team will be without All-Big
Ten guard Teniya Page to start the season, which allows several other players
to gain valuable experience as leaders in nonconference play.
"We've gotten used to
playing without her and it's allowed some other players to really flourish and
step up. Jaida Travaiscio-Green has shown her growth on the court,"
Washington said. "De'Janae Boykin has really stepped up and
shown how she can impact the team. Jaylen Williams has been a pleasant surprise
for us and how she is playing with a lot of confidence as a junior."
The players also understand the
sense of trust and accountability that has developed over the last couple of
"Off the court, our
chemistry is really good," Boykin said. "We all get along and we all
love each other. On the court, we're a young team but we're pretty smart
3. Freshmen Have Chance to Shine
The unique part about this
current team is that there are no seniors on the roster. On one hand, that can
be viewed as a positive because the team now will have two full seasons to
build cohesion and develop together before the juniors graduate a year and a
half from now.
Perhaps the biggest challenge
facing the team now is finding that voice who can lead the team, which is still
so very young and relatively new to the basketball world.
The freshmen in particular will
have opportunities to make names for themselves as the season progresses,
further helping the building process of this team.
"One of the things I've
really enjoyed about coaching them so far in the limited time they've been with
us has been their attention to detail and their willingness to ask
questions," Washington said. "They've progressed really well because
they're go-getters, they play with a lot of confidence and I think they'll be
able to be impactful for us pretty early."
Sam Breen, Kamaria McDaniel and
Alisia Smith were all first team all-state players last year and are expected
to make an immediate impact on the court.
4. 'Cool' Carter Ready to Step Up
at Point Guard
Junior Amari Carter has been a
strong voice for this team since she arrived on campus, averaging 7.9 points
and 29.3 minutes as the starting two-guard last year. She acknowledges the
importance of her play and how it will impact the team, magnified by the fact
that she will be playing the point at least for the first few games of the
"Personally, I want to be
more consistent in my play and lead the team better," Carter said.
"We had little ups and downs during a couple of games during the season
last year and my play. I want to be a better scorer, make sure I hit the open
teammate, knock down the easy shots when I can and make sure when we get down
or too high I can help us be more well-rounded."
If there's anyone qualified to
fully take over the point guard duties, it's Carter, as she spent much of last
year sharing time on and off the ball with Page and Spann. Washington praised
her court vision and athleticism on the court, but also her ability to be
mellow and even-keeled off of it.
"I think if I had to
describe [Carter], it would be 'cool'. She would be very at home in the 1940's
Jazz era. She's as cool as a cucumber, just so cool."
5. Games on the Horizon
The Lady Lions begin competition
this Sunday, when they take on Cedarville in an exhibition game at the Bryce
Jordan Center. More than anything, the team is simply looking forward to
playing people that aren't themselves or the scout team.
"I am so excited to play
against teams that aren't ourselves, and actually other girls on another
team," Travascio-Green said. "Since it's the first game, we don't
have everything in that we did at the end of last season, but we're working on
just getting the basics down and getting in what we need to be
Freshman Sam Breen looks to get
her career off on the right foot, and is embracing the challenge of playing at
the college level and in the Big Ten.
"I don't know what to
expect, but no game is going to be easy, so we can't take anything lightly
coming into this season," Breen said.
After the exhibition, the Lady
Lions host Siena on Nov. 10 to kick off the regular season