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By Jeff Sattora,
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- Despite a new career-high from their all-star point guard, the Penn State Lady Lions weren't able to claw out of an early hole, and fell to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 70-64 in the Big Ten Tournament Thursday night. 

On Monday, the sophomore standout point guard Teniya Page earned First Team All-Big Ten honors, and Thursday night in Indianapolis she played like a first team performer.

The guard dropped in 13 of the Lady Lions' 17 first quarter points, 12 of those points coming on 3-point field goals, keeping the Lady Lions in the game despite a hot start from the Golden Gophers, as Minnesota held a 26-17 lead after one.    

After Minnesota hit five 3's in the first and PSU turned the ball over seven times in that quarter, the script flipped as those numbers were zero and two respectively in the second.  Penn State used those numbers to its advantage, as they cut the deficit to just 33-29 at the break. 

"I think it just took us a quarter to kind of feel them out," Washington said on the switch between quarters. "Once we kind of figured out the game and the way the game was being called and things of that nature, we just kind of settled in."

The third saw the Lady Lions continue to fight, as they took their first lead of the game at 43-41 with 3:23 to play in the quarter. 

While the comeback attempt came up short, Washington was proud of how her team battled back from what was a 12-point Gophers' first half lead.  

"I think we really tried to rally back. Minnesota got off to a good start in the first quarter. And then I thought the second quarter our defense locked in pretty well and made it a game. And then we just competed down the stretch," she said. 

Leading that competitive charge was Page, who finished the night with a career-high and Penn State Big Ten Tournament record, 35 points on 11-22 shooting. 

"Just get to my spots, shoot, people were finding me," the guard said on how she was able to light up the score sheet.  "Attack the basket, that's pretty much it." 

 While Page's attacking style lit up the box score, another guard, Sierra Moore, also stepped up finishing with 13 points and 11 boards on the night for her first double-double of the season. 

Moore also credited an aggressive style for her success.

"I just kept crashing the boards," she said.  "I know Minnesota is one of the best rebounders in the conference so I knew I had to just keep going in their and keep fighting until the end."  

For Washington, the performance by those two is what made her team go. 

"They've been key players for us all season long. And they're the barometer. You know coming into every game that they're going to compete, they're going to fight. And they did the same thing," she said on her team's leaders tonight.  "I thought Sierra got some big offensive rebounds and made some big plays for us in the fourth quarter. And Teniya was fantastic all night. So those two certainly came with a lot of energy, a lot of effort and made a lot of big plays for us.

While Penn State didn't get the result they came to Indy looking for, they are hoping to continue postseason play in the NIT Tournament in the coming weeks.  

"it's something we've got to talk about as a team." Washington said.  "We're competitors and the opportunity to continue to play is something that we'll look forward to."


By Anna Pitingolo, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Teniya Page burst onto the scene last year as a highly touted true freshman and followed that up with a stellar sophomore season this year.

Page was named First Team All-Big Ten this week after averaging 19.4 points per game, good for No. 25 nationally and No. 5 in the Big Ten. That's more than four points higher than her 15.3 ppg last year when she was named Second Team All-Big Ten by the coaches. 

Improving her aggressiveness in the past year was key for Page to avoid the sophomore slump. Her confidence in herself and her teammates has also gone up, and it's shown on the floor.

"I think the biggest improvement has been my aggressiveness and having a lot more confidence in myself and my teammates to help me out and get me open," Page said. "A big thing that people have always told me is 'individual accolades come from team success' and I probably wouldn't have made first-team had we not had so much team success."

 Head coach Coquese Washington agrees, saying that Page is more willing to lead her team on the floor rather than just wait for the plays to come to her.

"It's her taking advantage of her matchup and she's become a lot more aggressive this year and a lot more confident," Washington said. "I think she has a lot of trust from her teammates and the trust that her teammates have in her has allowed her to be a lot more aggressive and assertive and willing to take over the game and play big."

Even as a young player, Page is very knowledgeable of the game and is always trying to get better. Her "bring it everyday" attitude has put her on a mission to make every play her best yet and has helped her to "play big in the biggest moments," according to Washington. 

"Teniya, she's in pursuit of the perfect basketball play every single time down the floor," Washington said. "She's got a high basketball IQ and one of the thing's we've encouraged her to do is broaden her view of what the perfect basketball play is because sometimes that means her doing some things that you can't draw up on a play board." 

Page is in elite company as a Lady Lion first team all-conference honoree. She's the first to receive the honor since Maggie Lucas got it in 2013-14 and is just the sixth Penn State sophomore to get the award. Page joins Lucas, Alex Bentley, Kelly Mazzante, Tina Nicholson, Angie Potthoff, and Tanisha Wright as other sophomores to be named to the first team.

Having coached both Lucas and Bentley, Washington sees a lot of similarities between Page and the two Lady Lion greats. 

"The one thing she has in common with some of those other players is her competitive fire," Washington said. "She loves and wants to win. Maggie Lucas wanted to win every drill in every practice, Alex Bentley wanted to win and that competitive fire is the thing that fuels her and I think that's another intangible that really makes her special." 

Despite the comparison to Bentley and Lucas, Page remains humble about the honor - she was asleep when it was announced and didn't find out until someone texted her. But for her, it's not about the individual accomplishments, and it never has been. 

"It wasn't a dream or goal or anything, it was kind of something that just happened," Page said. "I just go play and see what happens [but] to make it as a sophomore is a good thing. [My dream is] to win. 20-wins [in a season], win a Big Ten championship, play in the [NCAA] tournament, a Sweet 16 appearance, possibly an Elite Eight. So just win." 

Page will look to make at least one of those dreams a reality this week when the No. 7 seed Lady Lions take the floor for the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis. After securing a first round bye, they will face No. 10 seed Minnesota on Thursday with tip set for 6:30 p.m.

Black History Month Features: Coquese Washington

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By Simone Lee, student special feature writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Lady Lion head coach Coquese Washington. A name recognized by so many, both at Penn State and throughout the entire nation. In her 10th season at the helm of the program, Washington is in a category of her own. 

Arriving at Penn State, Washington became Penn State's first African American female head coach in Happy Valley. Her selfless passion for the betterment of her student-athletes as well as the community, all demonstrate her commitment in shaping Nittany Lion athletics history. 

Throughout her tenure, Washington's long list of accomplishments only continues to grow. A member of the Greater Flint Hall of Fame, a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year honoree and a two-time Black Coaches Association (BCA) Female Coach of the Year recipient, these honors are just a sampling of her career highlights. 

Since arriving on campus, Washington has brought the Lady Lions back into the national spotlight, igniting energy on the court to change the program for the better. 

Washington however, cares not just about her team's performance on the court though, placing just as much emphasis on how her teams spend time off the court too. 

"We try to expose our student-athletes to all the various aspects of what the human condition means and it has to be about us being external," Washington said. "Getting out of our comfort zone, getting outside of our own world that can be quite insular at times, and being exposed to a variety of things - when you do that I think that empathy, sympathy and connection to others just grows."

Washington's emphasis on linking the Lady Lions basketball program with community initiatives has been an ongoing piece of the foundation of the program since she first arrived at Penn State.

Establishing one of her first community outreach projects, Washington partnered with the Centre County Women's Resource Center. Along with executive director Anne Ard, the two joined together to fundraise, spread awareness and provide resources to those impacted by domestic violence. As a result, Coquese's Drive, an annual golf tournament was formed, totaling more than $170,000 in its nine years of existence, all to benefit the resource center. 

"When I think about diversity at Penn State and Penn State athletics in particular, I really think that diversity, inclusion, connection, community is really a part of the fabric of what Penn State is all about."
- Coquese Washington

Just one of the many roles Washington and the Lady Lions play in the community, Washington's impact also stretchers further, as she continues to foster diversity among teams, coaches and administrative staff at Penn State.

"When I think about diversity at Penn State and Penn State athletics in particular, I really think that diversity, inclusion, connection, community is really a part of the fabric of what Penn State is all about," Washington said. "It's one of the things that drew me here." 

Looking back, one of most diverse experiences she has had at Penn State goes back to simply being welcomed as the fifth head coach in Penn State women's history. For Washington, she knew that coming to an institution like Penn State, she was going to be different in a variety of ways, from what the Nittany Lion community might be used to. 

As Washington recounts, following in the footsteps of African American women who have already become head coaches was certainly inspiring, but the warm embrace she felt from the community really stood out.

"It doesn't matter what your color is, it doesn't matter what your religion is, it doesn't matter what your sexual orientation is, if you're about making Penn State a welcoming place and you can add to the excellence that is Penn State, then you're going to be embraced," Washington said. "For me, that was such an empowering notion to grasp and to understand. At this place, not a lot of people look like me. I'm the first woman around here with dreadlocks, but it doesn't matter because I am Penn State, we are Penn State." 

Washington's passion for blending coaching leadership with community impact and experience goes back much further than when she arrived at Penn State.

Rather, Washington's humility and commitment to community service stems from her parents, who were both factory workers in Flint, Michigan for General Motors and both members of the union. Washington's father was a union representative and her mother was an active member. From early experiences, she grew up with the knowledge of what it means to have a voice, how to use it and how to be a leader in an impactful way. 
Alongside her role as Lady Lion basketball head coach, she serves as president of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). In just one piece of a vast set of responsibilities, she uses her knowledge of what it takes to be an impactful leader to help coaches from across the country at all different levels face problems they may have with diversity.

"We have LGBT issues, and transgender issues are becoming more and more common place, and how do you navigate transgender issues on the playing field," Washington said. "There are a number of diversity issues that we have to deal with and just this year we put in place our diversity and inclusion working group within the WBCA to deal with these issues and to provide suggestions and information to our executive committee so we can handle these issues in the appropriate way." 

As president of the WBCA, the experience has been enjoyable for Washington, especially accompanied by her former head coach Muffet McGraw. In her 30th season at the helm of the Notre Dame women's basketball program, McGraw serves on the executive board, and Washington, working with her long-time mentor and friend is amazing. 

"She has such a wide perspective," Washington said. "She has been coaching and has seen a lot of things over the years of her coaching career so to have her perspective is invaluable to me in my role as president. To have her ear and for her to have my ear to say, 'Coquese maybe we should look at things this way,' I'm really privileged to be able to have this experience with her." 

As Washington continues to lead the Lady Lions both on and off the court, she continues to represent Penn State as a role model and pioneer for African American women. Among accomplishments and tremendous impact, her message to those is a mixture of both connection and community. 

Her belief, as Aristotle also thought, is that the sum is greater than the whole of its parts, which has resonated with her for many years. It is now that Washington is instilling this same mindset in the lives of young African American women. 

"If I had any message to women of color, to women to students, to anybody at Penn State it is, find a way to be a blessing to somebody," Washington said.  "If we can do that, then we can make Penn State stronger and stronger everyday."

By Anna Pitingolo, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions closed out the regular season with a big win in front of a big crowd when they defeated No. 24/25 Michigan 76-75 in the annual Pink Zone game on Sunday. 

It was an emotional game, with over 500 breast cancer survivors in attendance, all donning pink to show their support. For pregame, each starter was escorted out by a survivor, and senior Sierra Moore was even escorted out by her mom.

Sophomore Ashanti Thomas was playing in her second Pink Zone game, and credits the positive vibes the team was getting from the 8,213 fans in attendance in helping them claw back for the win.

"I loved the crowd and it was a really high energy game," said Thomas. "It was really positive and helped us keep our heads up when things got tough throughout the game. I just thought it was amazing, and the purpose of the game for the survivors, it was just great. There was a lot of support today." 

Added head coach Coquese Washington: "Our crowd was fantastic today. Our kids played great off their energy. You could feel that positivity coming from the stands down into the huddle," Washington said. "You could feel the confidence that the crowd and the arena had in our team. There wasn't a moment were we were thinking of anything other than playing our best, giving our best efforts, staying focused, staying locked in and executing."

Redshirt freshman Amari Carter added that the game was the perfect way to end the regular season for the Lady Lions, who head to Indianapolis this week for the Big Ten Tournament. 

"This was a great game, and not just for us and what that means for the end of the season but also, for all the survivors who were in the stands and all the family members that came and the cause that we played for," Carter said. "It was just a great way to end the season." 

Thomas was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and tied her career high with 11 points. She gave Penn State's it largest lead of the game, 50-40, in the third quarter with a layup at the tail end of a 7-0 run.

"I just felt really confident, and when my teammates trust in me, it just puts me on another level," Thomas said. "The confidence and the trust that they had and they were willing to pass me the ball even when we were down some, so I just had to stay focused and stay locked in." 

Penn State now looks to carry this momentum into the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 7 seed. The Lady Lions will face off No. 10 seed Minnesota at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 2 inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.


By Anna Pitingolo, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions will play in the annual Pink Zone game this Sunday against Michigan and honor breast cancer survivors for the eleventh straight year.

The Pink Zone game has become a staple of Penn State's season, and being a part of it means a lot to players and coaches alike. Team captains Peyton Whitted and Sarah McMurtry have both been personally affected by breast cancer, so playing in the game has added meaning.

"I've been affected by breast cancer so just being able to play a game to remember people like my grandmother and also the other survivors and people that are affected by it as well are really big," Whitted said.

Added McMurtry: "My mom survived breast cancer and just to have one of the biggest Pink Zone games in women's basketball means so much. Raising awareness, raising money, playing for something bigger than ourselves means a ton for me personally."

Playing in her fourth and final Pink Zone game, Whitted has seen the game grow and change over the years. But the one thing that stays the same is the excitement leading up to and during the game.

"For me, it's been big every year but I think it just means so much more as each year goes by and there's more people that come, I feel like I've seen new faces each year," Whitted said. "Then just on top of that, you get different feels each time it comes around and it makes it just more exciting to play in the game." 

Head coach Coquese Washington has also seen the game grow in her time at Penn State, and loves that her team gets to be a part of it year after year.

"It's been really cool to see how much it's grown over the years and how it's grown from an event to truly a cause," Washington said. "The game [is] just a fantastic memory for so many people, and you see what's going to happen on Sunday and 600-plus survivors on the floor, that's going to be so cool and just to know that we're a part of it, it's a lot of fun." 

The activities don't conclude at the final buzzer, with a reception happening in the team's practice gym following the game. There, survivors get to join the players for food and conversation, and the players pink jerseys are auctioned off.

"That's one of the highlights of the season, the live auction of the jerseys and then going in and having a reception with the survivors, it's amazing the stories that we hear in that room, it's really empowering," Washington said.

As game time inches closer, Washington says she doesn't have a special message for her players for this particular game. Instead, with the rich tradition of the Pink Zone game in the Lady Lion program, she lets the stories of survivors dictate the significance. 

"One of the things about breast cancer it just seems like everybody has a personal connection, whether it's a family member or close friend, it seems that everybody has a story about how breast cancer has impacted their lives or their family," Washington said. "So rallying as a group and as a program behind this cause is just something that's a part of our program and it's in the fabric of what we do." 

The Pink Zone game will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center. It'll be the last game for the Lady Lions in the BJC this season before they head to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament.



By Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Some lead in between the lines, pushing their teammates to the limit during practice and through their play on the court. Others give advice and guide their fellow student athletes through their demeanor in the classroom. For the Penn State women's basketball team, it has someone unique in senior captain Kaliyah Mitchell, whose leadership bleeds through the entire fabric of the Blue and White her team wears.


Grounded by her Georgia roots, Mitchell's character, described as full of light-heartedness and competitiveness, has left a mark on those around her as well as the women's basketball program.


"With Kaliyah Mitchell she brings leadership," assistant coach Tamika Jeter said. "She brings toughness and a competitive edge that nobody else can give us. She brings something that's intangible to this team, and I talk about her leadership quite a bit because she's the one behind the scenes, she sees things before they happen, and has really been a big part in driving Coquese's vision on this team and developing our culture into a positive culture."


Mitchell knows that as a senior and a captain she plays an important role on this team. As one of the squad's leader, others look to her to show them the way and for her to lead by example.


I know I can't let up on my teammates and I know I have to push myself really hard in order for everybody else to go harder," Mitchell said. "It's hard to be a leader if you're not doing what you're supposed to do, so I try to make sure I'm out there competing, working hard with whatever we're doing."


That type of direction she provides she understands goes beyond basketball as well, and she knows that she needs to constantly be grinding if she wants her teammates to do the same.


"Regardless of if we're at community service or we're at the gym, going over a drill or something, I try to make sure I'm the hardest person working," Mitchell said.


She has done exactly that over her four years rocking the Blue and White. On the hardwood, the forward has been one of the team's most versatile players.


As a three-year starter, Mitchell has regularly been amongst the team's best in rebounding and defense, tallying 54 blocks, 142 steals and 662 total rebounds over her career. Her numbers have improved each season, with a significant jump during her senior season as the team leader in all three of those statistical categories.


The forward has also been a staple from the free-throw line, always proving to be reliable from the line. Mitchell has etched her name into the Penn State record books as she is ranked 19th all-time in Penn State history from the charity stripe, knocking her free throws down over 77 percent of the time.


A large amount of that production this year has come off the bench, which is something you usually don't expect from a senior captain. The difference between starting on the floor or coming off the bench does not phase Mitchell, however, as she feels that she can make an impact regardless of when she makes it onto the floor.


"When you're starting, you know you have to start out strong, you kind of set the tone, but when you come off the bench, I feel like you have an advantage," she said. "You're able to see what the other team's doing, you also see what we're doing and see what could be working, what's something that you can go into the game and help the team out with."


Even with all that production, assistant coach Tamika Jeter says it all comes back to her intangibles when it comes down to where her presence is felt the most.


"I think she does so much on the court, and the fans get to see her take charges and block shots and defend and rebound and score, but she does a lot for her teammates to show that she cares, so that's what I appreciate the most about Kaliyah."


At the end of the day, Mitchell knows what she means to the team and what she needs to do to help the team grow into something bigger than the game itself. As the team sits in the wheelhouse of post-season contention, she feels confident her team can ride their momentum from the second-half of conference play and the team can potentially achieve things to make her senior season one to remember. 

VIDEO: Women's Basketball's THON 2017 Pep Rally Dance

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Another highly anticipated THON event, check out women's basketball's full pep rally dance! 


By Anna Pitingolo, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Since arriving on Penn State's campus four years ago, senior Peyton Whitted has been on a team that has seen it's share of ups and downs. From Big Ten champions her freshman year to a rebuilding process, Whitted has seen it all.

Now with just two games left in her regular season career with the Lady Lions, the Suwanee, Georgia native is trying to keep her emotions in check heading into this final stretch.

"My emotions are kind of all over the place but I'm just excited about these next two games because we're on a four-game win streak and we've been playing really good basketball," Whitted said. "So my focus right now is just finishing strong and the team finishing strong. Focusing on those things helps to take away from those other emotions so I try just to focus on what this team is doing and how good we're playing."

The Lady Lions will finish this season with a winning record after two straight years finishing below .500. Prior to that, the Lady Lions won three straight conference titles, the final one being in Whitted's freshman year.

"I definitely learned a lot being on a great team and then being on a team that struggled and then also bringing us back to the success that we had my freshman year," Whitted said. "I've learned a lot about adversity and success, and it's just a great life lesson because not everything is going to go perfect in your life so it's just about how you respond. I'm very appreciative for everything that's happened and I don't regret any of it because I've learned a lot from it."

And learn from it she has. In her four years, Whitted has put in a lot of hard work and dedicated herself to the program, and this season she was rewarded for that when coach Coquese Washington called her name as one of three team captains.

"Peyton is a kid that lives in the gym," Washington said. "She's usually the first one in the gym before practice and she's always staying after, working on her free throws, working on her shot, working on different things and that work ethic certainly stands out with her teammates."

Teammate and fellow senior Sierra Moore echoed that sentiment, adding that Whitted is able to communicate with her teammates and help the team off the bench.

"This year she is a team captain and she worked really hard to get to that point. You could tell that she's really matured and she knows how to talk to people," Moore said. "And just her aggressiveness off the bench, she's done a tremendous job."

Added sophomore guard Teniya Page: "She gives us experience off the bench. She's been in different types of positions throughout her career here, so on the court she gives us composure. She doesn't panic and she knows what to expect because she brings that experience off the bench."

On top of seeing changes within the team, Whitted has seen a lot of change in her game as well. But Washington said that the biggest change she's noticed is in how Whitted carries herself on and off the court.

"She's playing with probably the most confidence that I've seen this latter half of conference play," Washington said. "When she's out on the court, she's playing with a lot of confidence, so that growth in her confidence in herself and the confidence in her teammates has been really big."

With graduation nearing, Whitted still has some bucket list items to complete before she heads home from Happy Valley. Her big items are climbing Mount Nittany once the season is over and trying to get to a sporting event for all 31 Penn State programs. And, with the team being on a bye week this weekend, Whitted is excited to finally experience THON for the first time.

"We're performing at the pep rally and this is our first year doing it since I've been here, so I'm definitely excited for that," Whitted said. "And I'm just looking forward to participating in Athlete Hour and going and spending a lot of time there this weekend."

Once the season is over, Whitted won't be ready to hang up her basketball shoes just yet. She hopes to continue playing professionally, no matter where in the world that may be. When her basketball career does conclude, she'll be ready to put her broadcast journalism degree to good use.

" still want to play, so I'm looking to play overseas or honestly anywhere where I can play, so that's my first thing," Whitted said. "After that, I definitely want to pursue something with my major, so producing sports stories or doing sports commentary or something in that field."

Whitted and the rest of the Lady Lions will have some time at home before they travel to East Lansing next week to take on Michigan State on Wednesday. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

Black History Month Features: Lorraine (Hutchings) Oliver

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By Arielle Sargent,

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - To honor and celebrate Black History Month, Penn State Athletics is proud to share the stories of its African American student-athletes and coaches who have shaped Nittany Lion history through their success and challenges, even long after Penn State.

Penn State's first female African American student-athlete to play on the field hockey team (1969), as well the Lady Lion basketball team (1970) and the women's lacrosse team (1970), Lorraine (Hutchings) Oliver made Nittany Lion athletics history in the pre-Title IX era. 

With Penn State introducing women's intercollegiate athletic programs in 1964-65, the Nittany Lion women's programs were not referred to as "Varsity" programs until 1967, just a year before Barbara June Rose became Penn State's first African American student-athlete (women's gymnastics) in 1968. Just a year later though, it was Oliver, who continued to pave the way, as Penn State's first African American multi-sport athlete. 

Born in Huntington, Pennsylvania, a small town 30 miles from Happy Valley, Oliver grew up in a big family, all of whom were active in athletics. Long before cell phones, computers and video games, for Oliver, sports were an outlet.

"In high school, I would use athletics as my entertainment," Oliver said. "My family is an athletic family so we always played sports. I started playing field hockey and I loved it; it was just a part of our lives."

A standout athlete at Huntington High School, Oliver lettered in three sports across four consecutive seasons as a starter on the field hockey, basketball and track and field teams, also earning a letter in her one season as a catcher on the softball team.

In high school, Oliver also participated in the Upward Bound program at Penn State, a nationwide initiative targeted at preparing students from low income families for success in college. Growing up nearby, though, it wasn't experience as much as opportunity that drew Oliver to Penn State.  

"We knew about Penn State and cheered for Penn State, but were from a small town and didn't get across the mountain that much," Oliver said.

Enrolled at Penn State, Oliver also continue to pursue her passion for competition, trying out for both the field hockey and basketball teams. Oliver also found success trying out for a new Nittany Lion team as well, which turned out be he her favorite.

"They did not have lacrosse at my high school but, when I got to college, I took a lacrosse course and at that point I fell in love with lacrosse and joined the team," Oliver said.

Outside of athletics, Oliver enrolled at Penn State during a tumultuous time in United States history. Her experience as a student-athlete, though, didn't involve having to confront the national challenges of racism, which had been met head on by the Civil Rights Movement and striving for racial equality in the 1950's and '60's.

For Oliver, she can recall enrolling at a time when the student body was predominantly white, feeling that maybe three to five percent of the student body was represented by African American students.

"It wasn't ever overt racism," Oliver said. "Kind of subtle in the background, but it wasn't at the forefront. 

Along with her love for athletics, though, Oliver was committed to her drive to succeed, a motivation instilled by her mother.

"I grew up in a white town so it wasn't hard to adjust, but for some it was hard," Oliver said.

Fueled by an unwavering drive to succeed, it's that exactly quality that she continues to exude to this day, long after graduating from Penn State. 

"That's something that I always have people say to me, 'you make it happen', and that's because I do whatever I need to do to make it happen," Oliver said. "I'm one of those people."

Oliver earned a bachelor's degree in health and physical education in 1973 before continuing on to earn her master's degree in health education.

It's the life lessons from athletics, though, that have helped her shape a model for family.

"Pick a goal and work for it, it's my model that I have given to my family and to my son (George), who is attending Penn State now," Oliver said. "My model that I developed for my family is, 'whatever it takes, pick a goal and work for it.'" 

Upon graduation, Oliver became Penn State McKeesport's first women's basketball coach, where she also coached volleyball and taught as an instructor. It was in teaching, that Oliver was able to continue instilling in her students and student-athletes, the same drive to succeed she received. 

"I tried to instill in my teams to do the best they can do, because it prepares you for life," Oliver said.

Oliver later married George Bennett Oliver, Jr., whom she met while attending Penn State, and the two moved to the Atlanta area.

"Star-crossed lovers," as Oliver recalls with a laugh, she and George met during their undergraduate years at Penn State, marrying in the Eisenhower Chapel on the University Park campus 42 years ago. 

While in Georgia, Oliver continued to teach and coach, pursuing her career working in the counseling field, particularly starting off teaching DUI rehabilitation classes.

"I really wanted to help people and change their lives," Oliver said. "People would come back to me maybe a year or two years later before I started my own business and say, 'you really helped me'. A number of people starting doing that and I thought maybe this is my calling." 

With a budget of just $3,000, an entrepreneurial spirit and the loving support from her husband, Oliver completed the necessary 32 credits to earn her certificate in alcohol and addiction counseling and opened her own counseling business. 

"My husband and I got in there on our knees and scrubbed the floors to do what we needed to do rather than hiring people," Oliver said. "It was a matter of doing what you need to do. I was working full time as a teacher and working full time at my business the other half of the day." 

Now 13 years later, Oliver has transformed her passion for helping others into a successful business. Although now retired from teaching, she still continues to give back to those in need through the assistance of various counseling program and classes.  

In 2016, Oliver was inducted into the Huntington County Sports Hall of Fame, a symbol of how her drive to succeed reflects her role in shaping Nittany Lion athletics history.

Reflecting on her advice to inspire others, though, it's never take no for an answer.

"Don't let anyone or anything stop you," Oliver said. "I'm a believer in counseling, I do that. You can be whatever you want to be."    


By Jack Milewski, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior day is always a bittersweet occasion. It marks the culmination of great careers and is a great celebration of what the respective seniors have meant to their team. On Saturday afternoon in the Bryce Jordan Center, senior day was much more sweet than bitter for three Lady Lions.

Sierra Moore, Peyton Whitted, and Kaliyah Mitchell all notched double-figure stat lines as the seniors provided the spark for Penn State in its 79-73 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers. The seniors were at it early on, as they scored 14 of the team's first 16 points. For the night, Moore had 13, Whitted 11, and Mitchell chipped in with 10 of her own. 

"I think they really set the tone for us," head coach Coquese Washington said. "They all play a big role on this team and today they really helped us get off to a fast start today."

Each senior touched on their time at Penn State after the game and the one word that continued to pop up was "family." The way the Lady Lions are playing, winners of three in a row, the team's seniors may have more than a few games left with their Penn State family. 

"It's my teammates, the coaches, the fans, it's the type of environment that Penn State is," Mitchell said. "Throughout the four years I was able to build relationships with my teammates and people outside of the gym as well." 

Not only did senior day offer a celebration for the seniors and a solid performance from all three of them, but it also continued to showcase a glimpse of the future in the form of the ever dominant Teniya Page. Page finished with a game high 24 points, continuing a run over the last seven games where she is averaging over 20 points a game. Despite a slow start to the game, Page was able to have a dynamic game, in large part thanks to 11 free throws. 

"Teniya is always very aggressive and she was again today," Washington said. "I thought she started doing that in the second half and that's why she had so much success. When she is that aggressive, she is just that good." 

Page has been one of the best players in not just the Big Ten, but also the nation, since she recovered from a hand injury a little over a month ago. For Penn State, as Page goes, so does the team, and since she has been fully healthy, the team has been phenomenal.

"She is a phenomenal player and was very aggressive today," Boilermaker head coach Sharon Versyp said. "She does a great job drawing contact and she did that again today."

Page and the seniors have just three games remaining in the regular season until tournament time. The Lady Lions have been steadily climbing the standings of the Big Ten and they are currently sitting at 17-8 overall on the season. If Penn State keeps playing well, the Lady Lions may be poised to make the NCAA tournament. 

"We just take it one game at a time and one opponent at a time," Whitted said. "That has been our mentality all season long."

Penn State is back on the court next against the Illinois Fighting Illini this upcoming Tuesday. Last time the two teams faced, the Lady Lions took care of business 82-66. The game is set for an 8 p.m. ET tip on the road. 


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