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By Anna Pitingolo, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the start of a new season approaching, the Lady Lions have many familiar faces coming back for the 2016-17 season. Among those faces are new ones, too, with two freshmen added to the roster.

However, there is one more face in the crowd that fans may not recognize, but she's been on campus getting ready for her blue and white debut since January. 

De'Janae Boykin arrived in Happy Valley at the beginning of 2016 when she transferred from Connecticut. She didn't play during her freshman year due to an injury, but since transferring to Penn State she's been able to get back to 100 percent.

Having transferred in the middle of the season, Boykin has been able to integrate herself into the team fabric over the last year. She's been able to workout with the team and get acclimated to the program.

"I just think being here since January has brought me closer to the girls," Boykin said. "I know last year the team was kind of different and being a part of this year's team is very new and very different.I'm excited to fully be a part of the team this year." 

When Boykin, from Springdale, Md., was looking for potential landing spots once she decided to transfer, it was Penn State's head coach Coquese Washington who caught her eye.

"Coach Washington and the entire coaching staff really sold this place to me," Boykin said. "And Penn State is actually closer to home for me, it's only three hours away and it's family oriented. So with all that, I knew I wanted to play here."

Boykin boasts an impressive resume thus far in her career. She was a McDonald's High School All-American in 2015 and has won three international gold medals with USA Basketball since 2013, including one at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Boykin also was a participant in the inaugural Jordan Brand Classic. 

Having missed last season, Boykin is eager to get on the court with her new team. But while she can practice with no restrictions, Boykin won't be able to see any playing time until the spring semester. 

"I'm excited to play with this group of girls," Boykin said. "I'm excited for myself because [last year] was my second year out [due to injury], so I finally get to play this year. I'm just looking forward to being on the court again."

Boykin and the Lady Lions will continue practicing the next week, before Boykin's teammates will take on Bloomsburg in an exhibition game at the Bryce Jordan Center October 30th, and then officially open the regular season at Drexel on Friday, November 11th.

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By: Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nearly 600 miles separates the campus of Penn State from Lisle, Illinois, a small village about an hour outside of Chicago, but while a distance that vast may be the intimidating for some to handle, freshman guard Jaida Travascio-Green has the length to cover it.

The 6-foot-2 wing player is flush with talent and has found herself in University Park after a storied career in high school. She racked up over 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and close to 200 steals in her time at Downers Grove North High School, as she earned All-State honors in both her junior and senior seasons.

But Travascio-Green didn't just dominate the competition on the court. She took her talents to the high jump in her time with the school's track and field team her junior and senior seasons. Her athleticism allowed her to leap to the top of the state's ranks, finishing third in the state her junior year before taking home the crown at the 2016 IHSA State Championships as a senior.

With her copious amounts of success at the high school level, the now-freshman was ranked No. 20 in the nation at her position in the 2016 recruiting class. Head coach Coquese Washington saw her as someone who could immediately contribute to the team and recruited her from the Prairie State.

"Jaida is a fantastic three-point shooter, and she's a shooter with size," Washington said. "At 6-foot-2, she has the ability to see over people, to shoot over people and to knock down shots."

Last November, Travascio-Green and fellow freshman Siyeh Frazier signed their letters of intent and committed to Penn State. Travascio-Green said she was thrilled to commit to a Big Ten school but the biggest appeal came not from what she could achieve on-the-court, but in the classroom behind coach Washington's dedication to academics.

"Something I loved about Penn State is Coquese was really big on academics before athletics, which you didn't see a lot of places," she said.

Being so far away from home, she says her transition into the life of a college student-athlete has not been the simplest route, but it has been easier than expected. With help from teammates to get rides and to be shown around, Adding she and Frazier have become acclimated to the way of things both in practice and on campus.

The wing has also not found it hard to make immediate connections with her fellow Lady Lions as the upperclassmen are helping ease her into college sports.

"I call [Sierra Moore] the grandma of the team because she's the oldest, and then Kaliyah [Mitchell] is always very supportive," Travascio-Green said about a few of her more experienced teammates. "All the upperclassmen make sure I'm okay, especially since I'm a freshman."

As she has been able to smoothly settle into college life, she has been able to turn her attention towards the floor and what she can bring to her team.  ESPN evaluated her as a high school student-athlete at the 2014 Nike Nationals, and described her as a "long and agile perimeter threat" with "off-the-charts potential."

Travascio-Green agrees that her outside shot is one of her best skills and she hopes it can help bring another layer to the team.

"I think that stretching the defense would really help with a lot of the girls being able to drive, like Lindsey [Spann] and Teniya [Page], really being able to get in and the defenses cannot sag as much," she said.

Coach Washington stressed the amount of confidence she has in her freshmen at media day by saying she expects both Travascio-Green and Frazier to be "impact players" on the team this year.

Jumping into the mix of things straightway for freshmen in college sports tends to be an exception rather than the rule at most programs across the nation, but while Travascio-Green has some expectations of her right out of the gate, the competitor in her is ready for the challenge and cannot wait to get into the action come November.

"I've thought about playing basketball ever since I was younger so to be here is pretty exciting," she said. ""I'm just ready to get started."


By Anna Pitingolo, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Coquese Washington and the 2016-2017 team met with the media on Tuesday for their annual media day at the Bryce Jordan Center.

MORE LINKS: Coquese Washington Transcript | Player Transcripts | Photo Gallery

The Lady Lions are coming off a 16-16 (7-11 Big Ten) season, and looking to improve on that this upcoming year.  The team returns to All-Big Ten selections in guards Teniya Page and Lindsey Spann.  Page earned Second Team All-Big Ten and was a unanimous All-Freshman Team selection, while Span earned honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades.

Check out more sights and sounds from Media Day below:

Replacing Banks' production
Brianna Banks may have only played one season in blue and white, but she played an important role on the court. Banks averaged 13.4 points last year and boasted a .380 field goal percentage. Now that she's graduated, Washington isn't looking for just one player to fill in her role.

 "I think we'll replace her production with some of the new faces," Washington said. "I think Amari Carter is somebody who can put some points on the board for us.  I think our two freshmen have shown promise early in practice and I'd like to get a little bit more out of our post kids, have them be a little bit more impactful. So we're not looking for one person to replace Bri Banks."

Moore and Carter return from injury
Both Sierra Moore and Carter missed last season due to knee injuries that they sustained before the season had started. Now they are healthy and ready to return to the court, and their teammates are happy to have them back.

 "It's been very exciting to get back and work with them," said senior Peyton Whitted. "They're really competitive players and they're going to help us a lot in a lot of areas. Amari's really aggressive at scoring and Sierra can do it all, she's a rebounder, she's a defensive player, she's just competitive and she just wants to win. So they are two key components to our team that are going to make us really strong this year." 

Freshmen ready to make an impact
With the addition of true freshmen Siyeh Frazier and Jaida Travascio-Green, and redshirt sophomore transfer De'Janae Boykin, Washington is looking for them to make an immediate impact. Boykin isn't eligible to start playing until the spring semester but Frazier and Travascio-Green are ready for the whatever is thrown at them.

 "I feel like as far as doing what Coach needs me to do, I'm very competitive so whatever she needs me to do, I feel like I'm ready," Frazier said. "Of course I'm probably not starting ready or game ready right now, but I feel like I can do whatever she needs me to do." 

Tamika Williams-Jeter added to staff
In the offseason, Washington added Tamika Williams-Jeter to her coaching staff as an assistant to replace Kia Damon, who left the program to coach at University of Cincinnati.

 "It's been a positive having Tamika on staff," Washington said. "She brings a lot of energy and knowledge, she's a fantastic teacher, she's really bonded well and built great relationships with our post players very quickly and I think it's allowed our staff to have tremendous chemistry at this point in the season."

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions are back on campus and prepping for the season ahead of them after strong workouts this summer.

 Under new NCAA rules, the team was allowed to practice as a whole over the summer, so from the end of June to mid-August, the Lady Lions were in the gym working out as a full squad.

"All summer we had full team practices and it didn't really matter that they were only an hour or two hours a week," said sophomore captain Sarah McMurtry. "We got a lot done, we worked on a lot of offense and transition and stuff like that. We got a lot faster and now we look faster moving up and down the court."

With most Penn State students home for break and with a smaller workload in the classroom, the players were able to focus strictly on basketball and improving upon last season.

"It's very different from the season, we don't lift as hard or do as much straight-up conditioning as we do in the season," McMurtry said. "Although the season was hard and long and time consuming, the summer's a little more strenuous on your body. Day-by-day it might seem long but all of a sudden six weeks are up and you did so much work all summer so it felt really productive."

The summer was also the first time that the Lady Lions were able to bring in and workout with the true freshmen. Jaida Travascio-Green and Siyeh Frazier were in State College for the second half of the summer to start getting acclimated with the team.

"Bringing in the freshman has been great because it's always nice to get new faces," said senior Peyton Whitted, also a team captain. "With Jaida and Siyeh they're very special because they've really taken in everything that we worked on this summer a lot faster than what you probably would think for a freshman. They work hard and they're going to help us a lot and I'm excited." 

Travascio-Green and Frazier were able to learn and grow thanks to help from veteran players, who went out of their way to make the transition easier for them.

"It was definitely not as bad of a transition as I was expecting just because all of my teammates were really helpful about getting places and helping us get acquainted with everything," Travascio-Green said. "And at practice, [head coach Coquese Washington] and all the coaches were really helpful with making sure we knew what we're doing before we started."

Now that the fall semester has started, the team is back to its normal offseason procedures, balancing more credits with a stricter practice regiment. While it was great for the freshmen to get their toes wet in the summer, it's much different now with the added work. 

"In the summertime versus the fall semester, the sidewalks weren't as crowded, it's super crowded now, but workouts were hard of course, but they helped us get accustomed really fast," Frazier said. "Now that the semester is started, it's been fine because we have study hall, so I usually do all my work there, and that helps so much." 

The Lady Lions will continue their offseason routine in the coming weeks as they prepare for their season to open in November.

Powell Settling Into New Position with Lady Lions

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the Lady Lions in the midst of the offseason, there is a new, yet familiar, face walking the halls of the Bryce Jordan Center.

Miriam Powell, the former executive director of Pink Zone, has increased her role with the program and is now the Director of Community Outreach, a position she stepped into in January.

In her new objective with the program, Powell's main focus is creating powerful and impactful relationships within the Penn State and surrounding communities, through service and volunteerism

"My biggest goal is more visibility for Lady Lion basketball outside of the Bryce Jordan Center," Powell said.

Powell has worked closely with the women's basketball team ever since she first became the Pink Zone executive director five years ago. The decision to join Pink Zone was all about timing for Powell, who had moved to the area with one young child and another on the way.

"I was just looking to keep my sanity as a new young mom, and was doing volunteer work in community for the American Cancer Society," Powell said. "One of the other volunteers told me about the Pink Zone opening and thought that based on what I had done for ACS that I would be a good fit."

The position proved to be a really good fit at that time, allowing Powell to work from home and still be around her kids. It also allowed her to build relationships with the community and the Lady Lion program.

Now that her kids are a little bit older, Powell was ready to get back into an office setting. Having always felt that volunteering and community service are important to building character, Powell jumped at the opportunity to apply for the position with the Lady Lions.

"The one thing that I loved most about my years with Pink Zone was getting to know the community better," Powell said. "I just really loved getting to know the people in the other communities so when this job became available and the focus was on community outreach and community service, it was a good fit."

As she settles into her new job, Powell's been busy wrapping her head around all parts of Penn State athletics in what she describes as a "fun and busy" first couple of months. She's excited for what the future holds for the Lady Lion program, both on the court and in the office.

"It's been really fun getting to work more closely with the Lady Lion players, I've loved that part of it," she said. "I love coming to work every day. Every day is different and the people who work in this office specifically are awesome."

As the Director of Community Outreach, Powell plans to use her strength of connecting with people to focus on connecting Lady Lion basketball even more to the community.

"My goal is creating more visibility, and getting the players and the coaches out engaging with the fans that are supporting them now, or lining them up with new fans because of the community service that they do," Powell said.



INDIANAPOLIS Ind.- The Penn State Lady Lions fought all night long, but in the end it wasn't quite enough, as their Big Ten tournament run ended Thursday night, falling to the Purdue Boilermakers in the tournament's second round, 70-59. 

Five points by Kaliyah Mitchell helped spark an 11-0 run to push the 11th seeded Lady Lady Lions out of the gates early, as Penn State turned a 4-4 tie into a 15-4 lead, and 15-6 advantage at the end of the first over the sixth-seeded Boilermakers. 

While the first quarter saw a big run for the Lady Lions, the second quarter was Purdue returning the favor.  The Boilermakers used a 9-0 run over a three-minute span to cut a 19-10 Penn State lead to a tie game with 3:05 to go in the half. 

The two teams traded buckets the rest of the half, and a late jumper by Teniya Page kept the game within one possession, as Purdue took a 28-25 lead heading into the break.  

The two squads, who played to double-overtime earlier this season in Happy Valley, continued that close tradition in the second half, as both teams dug in.   Junior forward Peyton Whitted was one of the key contributors to the Lady Lions all night long, as she racked up a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds on the night.  Head coach Coquese Washington not only saw a great performance out of Whitted tonight, but growth throughout her junior season. 

"I thought Peyton was one of the kids on the team that showed tremendous growth over the course of the season," she said.  "One of our more consistent players over the course of the season, especially the second half of conference play and really happy with the performance that she had tonight. And I think it bodes well for things to come next year with Peyton."

"Peyton did a great job on the boards, just being aggressive and attacking offensively and defensively so that was a plus," guard Lindsey Spann added on her effort vs. the Boilermakers tonight. 

Whitted not only had solid numbers, but key baskets to keep the contest close, including a baseline jumper to cut Purdue's lead to 51-50 with 6:22 to go in the fourth.   Despite the late push, that one-point margin would be the closest the Lady Lions got the rest to the night.  Purdue answered Whitted's bucket with a 6-0 run to put the game away late. 

While the game didn't go the way the Lady Lions had planned, Washington couldn't say enough about her team's effort.  

"I absolutely thought that we gave it our all. We left everything we had out on the court tonight," she said postgame.  "I thought we started the game off very well defensively. And we continued to do a pretty good job defensively. We just kind of hit a lull offensively and with our turnovers, a few too many turnovers and a few too many second-chance points for Purdue kind of did us in."

"This team is a fighting group, we're not going to give up and we're going to play til the end and the time runs out," Spann added.  Mentioning how she's seen this group's mental toughness grow all season long. 

That fight and effort will be valuable to the Lady Lions, as they look to build on this week's progress heading into next season.  Wednesday's Big Ten first round win was the program's first in the tournament since 2012-13, and Penn State is ready to keep that program momentum moving forward.  With the return of tonight's top four scorers next season, including All-Big Ten Second Team selection Teniya Page, who led the team with 18 points, the future is bright.    

"It's definitely great to get that (Big Ten tournament win) this year," said Whitted.  "We now know what it takes to get that win and keep going in the tournament."

With the strong effort this week, the future, both in the Big Ten tournament, and all season long, is bright for the Lady Lions.  

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- In college basketball the month of March is all about one phrase, "survive and advance."  The Penn State Lady Lions did just that Thursday afternoon, as the 11th seeded Lady Lions took down the 14th seeded Illinois Fighting Illini in round one of the Big Ten tournament, with a 75-66 win. 

Penn State got off to a hot start against the Illini, hitting their first three 3-pointers, including back-to-back shots by Teniya Page and Lindsey Spann, to jump out to a 13-5 lead early.  The two teams traded buckets the rest of the quarter, as PSU took an 18-14 lead at the end of the first. 

The quick start was important for the head coach Coquese Washington, especially in this tournament setting. 

"I think it's critical, the start of the game is very important." Washington said following the win.  "I always feel the first game in the tournament setting is always the toughest.  The stakes are high.  I'm really happy we're able to come here and get this win under our belt."

With both teams playing zone on the defensive end, jump shots came early and often for both squads on the offensive end.  Penn State shot 5-17 from three in the first half, while Illinois wasn't far behind at 4-10 behind the arc. 

While the outside shooting wasn't necessarily part of the game plan, it was all about getting good looks. 

"Just taking open shots and seeing where the gaps are and attacking the gaps," said guard Lindsay Spann on the offensive mentality. 

The outside shooting, coupled with strong play from freshman Teniya Page, gave the Lady Lions a 37-31 lead heading into the break.  Page, a Second Team All-Big Ten and was a unanimous All-Freshman Team selection, led Penn State with 11 points in the first 20 minutes.  Finishing the night with a team-high 18 points and nine assists. 

"I thought Teniya showed why she's one of the best players and performers in the Big Ten," Washington said on her freshman guard.  "When the stakes are high, such as the Big Ten tournament, she shows up and performs."

"It feels good the first game to get a win," Page added.  "I think I'll feel a lot more comfortable considering my first (Big Ten tournament) game is over."

Although Page led the scoring category, it was a balanced effort all game long that helped keep Penn State in the game, as four players finished the afternoon in double figures.  Peyton Whitted followed Page offensively with 15 points and nine rebounds. While Spann and Brianna Banks added 12 points apiece. 

"It's very important to have balance scoring," said Spann on the offensive effort.  "When you have multiple people contributing we're a threat from all different areas." 

While the Lady Lions jumped out to a quick lead to start the first quarter, the third quarter saw a balanced start after halftime.  A driving Illinois layup cut the PSU lead to 46-43, but every time the Illini looked like they were about to turn the tide, Penn State came back and responded.  

"Composure is key, basketball is a game of runs," Washington said.  "People are going to make shots, you're going to make shots, the thing is you can't fall apart when you've got control of the game." 

Keeping control is just what Penn State did, as they held the lead despite each second half Illinois run, and made plays down the stretch to secure the win.  

Penn State will look to keep their tournament run going as they take on the 6th seeded Purdue Boilermakers tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET.  

By Mike GilbertGoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Wednesday marks a brand new season for the Lady Lions.  The Big Ten tournament serves as a chance for Penn State to continue their solid play throughout the second half of the season.  Except now, there is an NCAA tournament berth on the line. 

 

The Blue and White will head to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis as the no. 11 seed in the Big Ten.  Their first game will be against Illinois on Wednesday at 4 p.m.  The Lady Lions handled the Illini in their first meet this season, beating them 65-56 in Champaign.  According to assistant coach Itoro Coleman, the Lions can not afford to look past the first game.

"Their record doesn't show it, but they're a better team [than their record indicates].  They've played a lot of teams close and right now, they're looking to go zone make and miss, so we have to work on our zone offense."

Head coach Coquese Washington believes Illinois is a good matchup for Penn State because of the size of the Fighting Illini post players.  Penn State will likely start out with Kaliyah Mitchell and Peyton Whitted down low, and rotate players in and out from there.

"I think Illinois is a team that matches up well with us in terms of having big post players.  Sometimes for our post players, bigger post players are easier to guard." 

Guard Lindsey Spann believes her team will be fine playing on Wednesday instead of on Thursday, believing past experiences can help her club.

"We're doing the same things we've been doing the past few weeks.  We've played Iowa on a Wednesday; we played [Maryland] on a Wednesday.  So it's the same type of thing where we're just really focusing on us, and taking it day by day to get ready for our first opponent."

One of the biggest challenges facing Penn State is the ability to stay fresh while potentially playing multiple days in a row. 

"You train mentally and physically for things like this.  It's a long season and we want to keep winning so you do what you have to do.  Your body's going to feel tired, but you can do more than what your body is telling you," said Spann.

Spann also detailed the proper way to prepare during the week for the tournament.

"You have to take care of your legs, you have to eat right, you have to get proper rest and you have to get treatment...just trying to keep your legs under you and have the proper energy to get through the week."

To get past Illinois and face Purdue in the second round, Penn State will have to be aggressive on both ends of the floor, but offensively the intensity level must be high.

"I think you have to go out and be aggressive on the offensive end and you have to be aggressive and assertive to get to the free throw line and get easy points," said Washington. 

Freshman guard Teniya Page also believes positive thinking will play a big part in surviving and advancing. 

"[We need to] take care of the ball and not get discouraged if we don't make the first couple of shots," she said.

The tournament will be an incredible opportunity for the coaches, players and staff.

"When you go out there, there's just an energy when you walk into Bankers Life and you're in that tournament environment, there's an increased energy and I think that that increased energy and adrenaline helps everybody out," said Washington.

Going into the tournament firing on all cylinders, the Lady Lions are hungry for the opportunity to compete against the best of the Big Ten for a spot in the Big Dance.  Washington said it best about her team Monday afternoon.

"They want to stay.  They want to compete beyond Wednesday."

In order to go dancing, that is exactly what the Lady Lions have to do. 

Tournament Preview

The Big Ten Tournament is set to begin Wednesday, and it serves as a fresh start for every team in the conference.  Penn State is the eleventh seed, and is on the bottom portion of the bracket.  Here is a brief evaluation of every team on the Lady Lions' half of the bracket

(Teams listed in order of seeding)

Ohio State

The Buckeyes come in as the no. 2 seed in the Big Ten.  Ohio State is ranked ninth in the country, but have lost their last two contests.  Before that, Ohio State rattled off 11 consecutive wins in conference play, including a win against top-seeded Maryland.  Four Buckeyes are All-Big Ten players, including Kelsey Mitchell and Ameryst Alston, who are averaging 25.9 and 19.6 points per game, respectively.  Guard play is a key for Ohio State.

Michigan State

Going 13-4 in Big Ten play was enough to get the Spartans the three seed in the conference tournament.  Four wins in a row makes Sparty one of the hottest teams in the conference.  Michigan State has a double-bye, and will face either Penn State, Illinois or Purdue.  Forward Aeriel Powers leads the team in points and rebounds, scoring 21.9 points a game and nabbing 9 boards a game. 

Purdue

Penn State nearly beat the sixth-seeded Boilermakers at the Bryce Jordan Center last month, falling in double overtime.  Purdue is right on the bubble at 19-10 overall, currently a 12-seed in ESPN's Charlie Creme's latest bracketology.  Purdue relies on three guards who average double-figure point totals.  No big averages more than 4.2 rebounds per contest. 

Nebraska

The Huskers come in losers of 3 out of 4 to close out the regular season.  The team does possess wins over Michigan State and Purdue, but their record currently sits at 18-11, 9-9 in conference play.  Against Penn State, Natlie Romeo had 32 points, while Jessica Shepard scored 29.  Then, in Lincoln, the freshman Shepard had 20 while Romeo dropped 19.  This forward/guard combo can score. 

Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights check in as the Big Ten's no. 10 seed.  They have dropped 8 of 11 to finish the campaign.  Penn State beat Rutgers handily in their lone matchup.  Their "big two" consist of guard Tyler Scaife and guard/forward Kahleah Copper. 

Illinois

The Illini face Penn State on Wednesday and are the no 14 seed.  They have solid post play in Chatrice White and Alex Wittinger, and play mostly zone defense.  Illinois only has two conference wins on the season.    

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Candice Agee to Brianna Banks dish-and-score in the fourth quarter may not have looked like anything special, but to the seniors, it put an exclamation point on their last game at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Agee and Banks led the Lady Lions to an 81-68 win over Iowa (17-12, 7-10 Big Ten) Wednesday on Senior Night, where they, along with three managers, were honored in a pregame ceremony.

The duo made the most of their night, combining for 38 points and eight steals. But it was the layup by Banks in the final minutes that was the most meaningful stat for both of them. 

"I love when we have our interactions and stuff like that because it makes it special for the fans and everything," Agee said in an enthusiastic postgame press conference. "You get a great pass, a great assist or a great rebound and then you get to do a little point to each other and that's awesome."

"I feel like the whole game, we were vibing, so that was just another pass, another point to make this night even better," Banks added.

From start to finish, Agee and Banks were the stars of the show for Penn State (11-17, 6-11 Big Ten). They combined for the first 11 points before another Lady Lion was able to get a basket. And while early foul trouble forced Banks to sit out for chunks at a time, she made the most of the 23 minutes that she played.

"I'm good for at least two charges a game so that's not shocking," joked Banks before getting more serious. "The last one I fouled because I don't like giving up layups and I'm intentional about that, so it wasn't emotions. Learning to be smart with fouls is something that I need to face, but it wasn't emotions, it was just dumb mistakes that I made."

Agee posted 21-points on the night, tying her career-high for the third time. The career outing was something Agee had almost expected of herself, seeing as she always plays her best basketball in front of her dad. And with Rodney Agee having flown in from her home state of California to watch his daughter play at the BJC one final time, Agee knew it was going to be a big night before it even happened.

"There's something about [my parents] being in the crowd that makes me want to go above and beyond and that's what they do for me," Agee said." I keep trying to tell [my dad] he just needs to quit his job and follow me around; I'd be an MVP." 

The center tacked on one block and three steals to her career night, and topped her previous high of six free throws by sinking seven.

"It didn't surprise me at all tonight," said head coach Coquese Washington. "I know that Candice is capable of having big games and she's certainly capable of being a big impact player, so it didn't surprise me that she was able to have the night that she did. I'm really happy for her, that she was able to close out her career with a game like this; it's something she'll remember for the rest of her life."

Despite the victory, both Banks and Agee agreed that it wasn't the best game of basketball that the team had played this season. Citing that they blew a 25-point lead in the third quarter, the team knows that they have to play their best if they want the coveted first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament next week.

"This win is helpful with the rankings, of course, in the Big Ten Tournament," Banks said. "We're constantly talking about playing Thursday and not Wednesday and not playing five games in a row, so this game meant a lot with our rankings in the tournament."

When both seniors were subbed out of the game for good in the final seconds, the Jordan Center gave each a standing ovation. Washington was happy with how the two ended their careers at home, and couldn't have asked for anything more from them.

"They both played the way you hope seniors play in their last home game," Washington said. "The emotion of a senior's final home game, it can go one of two ways; they can have that energy and it can propel them to having a fantastic game like these guys did, or sometimes the emotions can overwhelm you and you're not on your game. So I was really happy to see that both Candice and Bri played really good games."



By Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Candice Agee went from freshman to senior in the blink of an eye.  On Wednesday night, she will be playing in her final game at the Bryce Jordan Center in her Penn State career, as the senior prepares to finish the year strong then chase her WNBA dreams.  She and fellow senior Brianna Banks will be the focus of the senior night celebration before the game in the Bryce Jordan Center.

 

Head coach Coquese Washington knows it will be her job to make sure emotions do not get too far away from the basketball court. 

 

"Senior night is always an interesting night because you never know how emotional the impact will or won't be for the seniors.  It'll be interesting to see how Bri and Candice handle the emotions around senior day, and I know they're both excited to play in front of our fans one last time."

Agee said her favorite moment in the Bryce Jordan Center was when her team won the Big Ten regular season championship her sophomore year. Along with the championship, the Pink Zone game and senior night were all part of that night's festivities. 

"My mom, my dad, my brother were there and the crowd did not leave, the crowd stayed there for 30, 40 minutes after the game was over just to see everything and they stayed cheering the whole time.  That was awesome," said Agee.

This year, Agee's father, Rodney Agee, will be in attendance on senior night, and will be with his daughter on the court before the game.  Agee's parents had never missed one of her games up throughout high school, and she started playing basketball when she was four years old.  Agee said whenever her father is in the stands that she always plays better.  She even laughed about how ready her dad was to be part of senior night. 

"He told me he has his outfit picked out and everything," Agee said with a laugh. 

"I'm from California, so they don't get to come out too much, so it means a lot for him to be here.  [He and I] are very close," added Agee.

As for what Agee will do upon graduating, she envisions a future playing professional basketball.

"I plan on entering the draft and then if that doesn't work, I'll go to some camps and see if I can get picked up there.  If that doesn't work out, I'm headed overseas."

Agee says Spain would be the place she would want to play overseas, but if she were able to play in the WNBA, she would like to play for the Los Angeles Sparks, and would like to learn from all-time great, Candace Parker. 

"She's unstoppable, I'd love to play behind her," said Agee.

Washington believes Agee has the skill-set to continue playing, and reminisced about her career wearing Blue and White. 

"Candice is one of the most talented post players I've ever coached and she's got great hands, great footwork, and she has really impacted us," Washington said.  "She got in the record book for blocked shots.  So it's the last time for our fans to see them in the friendly confides of the BJC."

As for the task at hand, Penn State still has an opportunity to gain a higher seed in the Big Ten tournament with a few wins and a few losses by Iowa.  As luck would have it, the Lady Lions face Iowa on Wednesday.  Agee will not let her emotions get in the way of competing against the Hawkeyes.

"[The emotions] will kick in after the game," she said.

For Agee and Banks, it is time for one last postseason push.  To Agee, it seems like it was only yesterday she was a freshman.

"I'm about to graduate.  It really does fly by."

But before nostalgia kicks in, Agee and her team have some work left to do.  

@GOPSUSPORTS

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