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By Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Each year around the end of December in college basketball, the holiday season acts as the benchmark for the halfway point of the season. After teams get to go back home for a few days, eat some homemade meals and spend time with friends and family, they return to the court ready to get into conference play.


With the Indiana Hoosiers on the slate December 28th at 7 p.m., the Lady Lions are back to work as they prepare for the start of Big Ten play and the back-half of the regular season.

 

Coming into the Big Ten schedule, the Blue and White are riding a hot streak that has not been seen from the program in some time. They currently hold a six-game win streak, the longest such run since the 2013-14 season, and they enter their first conference game with a record of 10-2 (.833 win percentage), the best non-conference record of head coach Coquese Washington's tenure. The Lady Lions also remain undefeated at home with a perfect 7-0 record inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

 

With the few days off from the holiday break, it gives the team a chance to get some fresh legs before the showdown with Indiana, but Penn State will also have to do its best to make sure it does not let the brief hiatus put out the flame of the squad's current hot streak.

 

"It's tough," sophomore guard Amari Carter said. "You have a couple of days off and have to get back into your rhythm and have to play at the momentum you had going into the break."

 

However, Carter also said her and her teammates should be up to the task as they a few practices under their belt since the break to get back into the swing of things.

 

Moving into the Big Ten contests also means elevated competition. The conference is amongst the best in the nation, as the Big Ten is tied for the second most teams in the top 50 of RPI with the SEC and ACC, each with seven. Only the Pac-12 has more, claiming eight teams.

 

Carter, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, has not been able to experience conference play first hand, but says she has heard from the team's upperclassmen that each game becomes more of a challenge.

 

"It's more physical, it's faster, and there's a lot more athletes on other teams in the conference," Carter said. "We need to come out prepared every night to play physical and tough games."

 

Coach Washington says her team should be able to ease into the transition since the out-of-conference schedule has prepared it for a plethora of different play styles, similar to make up of the teams in the Big Ten.

 

"I think our conference is one where there's not one quote-unquote 'style,'" Washington said.  "You've got different coaches that do different things, so you've got to be ready for whether you're facing a great defensive team or a three-point shooting team or an up-tempo team or one that is just gonna pound you inside, so that's what we're prepared for going into conference play."

 

But even with the Lady Lions getting ready to face a whole different animal in the Big Ten, coach Washington still says the team will be prepared to tackle each game with the same preparation as before. The only changes that will be needed, she says, are the mindsets that go with each game in realizing how much each game matters.

 

"The adjustment is just the mental understanding and recognition that we're playing teams that have a lot at stake and the teams are going to give us their best effort," she said.

 

Washington hopes to lead her team into action Wednesday night against the Hoosiers to continue the team's run of success and to start off Big Ten play with a win. If recent history has anything to say for how Penn State will fare, things look good for the Lady Lions as they have won eight of the last ten regular season matchups with Indiana and three of their last four Big Ten openers.

 

Wednesday night's contest marks the beginning of the season's back stretch, where the coming months will tell fans a lot about where Penn State stacks up against the rest of the Big Ten and the country. But it's something the Lady Lions look forward to, as they can't wait to get back into their jerseys and onto the floor to play against the best the conference has to offer.

 

"We're really excited to play," Carter said. "We know the Big Ten has a lot of good competition and we're excited to see what everyone has to offer."

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Like many college basketball players, Teniya Page was introduced to the sport at a young age. She picked up a basketball when she was in kindergarten, and immediately began working on her skills.

 

"I started off with a lot of drills around kindergarten," Page said. "I wasn't allowed to play organized basketball until about fourth and fifth grade because my dad thought starting when I was five or six years old would take the fun away immediately."

 

But unlike other college players, her inspiration to start playing didn't come from watching any of the greats play; it came from watching "Love and Basketball".

 

"[Teniya] was probably about eight and in the fourth grade and 'Love and Basketball' was my wife's favorite movie so she constantly watched it," said Page's father, Demon. "Maybe the main character kind of stuck with her, so that was when she entertained the idea of playing basketball."

 

From the start, Page was playing against boys in her hometown of Chicago, and it's where she first got a taste of the speed she was going to need to play down the line.

 

"I used to play in a bunch of park leagues at home and they were mostly all boys leagues," Page said. "It was challenging at first and I wasn't fast enough so I basically relied on footwork and stuff like that to score. And then once I settled in, I was pretty good at it, especially playing against the boys."

 

She continued to play with the guys through middle school, and credits those years with making her a faster and better player.

 

Now in her sophomore season at Penn State, Page is coming off a dominant freshman campaign in which she broke into the top-10 of numerous Lady Lion freshman records and received various accolades.

 

She's ranked number one on the Penn State freshmen all-time leaderboard in minutes per game with 37.6, fourth in three-point percentage (.409) and fifth in scoring average (15.3). At the end of season, she was selected Second Team All-Big Ten by the coaches, Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by the media, and was a unanimous pick for the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.

 

This year, Page has picked up right where she left off. She leads the team with 19.8 points per game and total points with 237 - almost 100 points more than second-ranked Lindsey Spann.

 

"She's very passionate about her knowledge, her basketball IQ, getting better, improving, and I think you see such a big jump from her high school to her freshman year to now her sophomore year and how much better she's become, how much better she makes the players around her," said assistant coach Tamika Jeter.

 

Basketball wasn't the only sport that attracted Page's attention. She played softball too, and initially liked it more.

 

"I like softball a lot more than basketball in the beginning," Page said. "But then I realized, not that I would be better at basketball, but that I didn't really like the outdoors like that, especially when it came to having to hit in the fall when it was really cold, so that's kind of why I ended up sticking with basketball."

 

She played softball for about three years and by the time she was in her early teens she shifted her focus to just basketball. That was when she got serious about one day playing collegiate hoops.

 

When Page first started high school, she wasn't highly recruited. The first time she went to USA Basketball trials in 2013 was a reality check for her; having thought she was one of the better players, she quickly saw that she had a long way to go.

 

"No one really knew who I was from Team USA the first time I went," Page said. "It was a big shock for me because, here I had thought I was kind of good and then when I went there it showed me that I really wasn't anywhere near the rest of the girls that were playing."

 

The second time she went to trials in 2014, a lot more people recognized her because of her time with her AAU team, Midwest Elite. That was when her recruitment really picked up.

 

Her first Big Ten offer came from Michigan State, but it was a call from Lady Lion head coach Coquese Washington that changed everything for Page.

 

"We had seen [Coach Washington] just from watching basketball on TV, the way she carried herself on the sideline and her demeanor, that was the thing for us," Demon Page said. "And she did it a little bit different from the way everyone else recruited Teniya because it was just really between her and Teniya."

 

"I'll never forget, we had just left a game, we were in the car and Coquese called and first she asked if it was okay to recruit Teniya and then she asked Teniya if she would have a problem with her recruiting her. Everybody else, the assistant coach would call you and you'd talk to the assistants before you actually talk to the head coach."

 

When she took her unofficial visit to Penn State, Page loved everything about the school, program and campus.

 

Since arriving in 2015, Page hasn't seen her game changed too drastically, but her relationship with the coaching staff has grown stronger, and she says that has helped her to become a better all-around player.

 

With the Lady Lions sitting at 10-2 on the season, Page has already earned three Big Ten Player of the Week honors and recorded two 30-point games. But she isn't interesting in any personal praise she receives.

 

"I don't really think about personal goals at all," Page said. "I've always been a team player since the beginning. Even if I didn't score and we win, I'd still be proud and happy with the team. So I'm not really an individual goals person anyway."

 

Despite her dislike of personal honors and achievements, the Lady Lions will continue to rely on Page's hot shooting moving forward. After the holiday break, Penn State will open Big Ten play against Indiana at the Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

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By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State Lady Lions started off hot Tuesday, and used that early momentum to set the tone for the night, holding off the Iona Gaels, 80-67, inside the Bryce Jordan Center. 

Paced from two deep buckets by Amari Carter, Penn State hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter, including five of their first six on the night, to jump out to a 25-16 lead after one. 

"We feel pretty confident in our ability to make outside shots," head coach Coquese Washington said on her team's hot start from deep.  "When we're open, we take them.  I think especially when you knock a couple down in transition it's a big momentum boost for the team and sometimes it can be deflating for the defense." 

"It can definitely give us the momentum we need to start off the game," Lindsey Spann added on the outside shooting.  "We've been focusing on trying to get great starts and kind of dominate from the start of the game.  Having starts like that will definitely help us in the long run." 

The Lady Lions extended the lead in the second, as a 9-2 run to start the quarter kept Penn State's momentum going and gave the them a 34-18 lead. The home team kept that double-digit lead heading into the break, as Penn State took a 44-30 advantage into halftime led by guard Lindsey Spann, who scored 11 of her team-high 16 points before the break. 

"I'm just trying to hit the gaps and find the open spots, running wide in transition, getting out and getting easy buckets." Spann said on the keys to her success.  "My teammates found me." 

"I thought she shot the ball well and she shot the ball with a lot of confidence," Washington added on her junior guard.  "She's a kid who's been in a lot of battles.  When she starts hitting shots and gets on a role she plays with a lot of confidence." 

Spann wasn't only Lady Lion who played well in the first half, as Kaliyah Mitchell and Teniya Page added seven points apiece and De'Janae Boykin chipped in with six points and six rebounds in the first 20 minutes. 

The Lady Lions shot over 50 percent from the field and from 3-point land in the first half, and that hot shooting continued in the start of the second half, as Penn State hit their first three buckets from the field of the third to take a 49-34 lead. 

Despite the hot shooting early, Iona didn't go away.  The Gaels went on a 13-0 run to cut a 17-point deficit to 52-48 before a Spann layup ended the run with 2:09 to go in the quarter. 

That bucket got the Lady Lion's offense back on track, and back-to-back three-point plays by Sierra Moore gave Penn State an 8-0 run of their own and a 60-48 lead at the end of the third. 

"I thought the third quarter Sierra Moore really stepped up, in particular on the defensive end," Washington said.  "She some big rebounds for us, she got a couple and-ones, got out in transition.  She was a little bit of a difference there." 

Penn State continued its' strong play in the fourth quarter, as they kept a double-digit for the final 10 minutes of play to take home an 80-67 win and improve to 10-2 on the year. 

Along with Spann's team-high 16 points, three other Lady Lions finished the night in double figures.  Boykin added career-highs in points and rebounds with 12 and nine respectively, while Mitchell and Page each added 11 points.   

Washington will look to keep her team focused over break, but is ready for the team to get away for the holidays before Big Ten play starts.

"We need the break.  It's been a long semester academically, and it's been a long semester for us in terms for travel and games," Washington said.  "This break is coming at the right time, and hopefully they can go home and rest and refresh and get ready for Big Ten play."

The Lady Lions will begin conference play following just over a week off, as the team won't be back on the court until December 28th when they host Indiana at the Bryce Jordan Center.  

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By: Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Star guard Teniya Page dropped in 30 points, and four different Nittany Lions combined for 29 off the bench Sunday afternoon, helping Penn State secure a 70-65 win over American University in the Bryce Jordan Center.

Penn State got off to a slow start in the first quarter, as the home team fell behind 13-6 after the first 10 minutes of play.  Despite the early hole, Jaida Travascio-Green came off the bench for the Lady Lions and dropped in two straight buckets to cut the deficit to one possession, 13-10 to start the second. 

Jumpstarted by four of Travascio-Green's nine points on the day, the Lady Lions made a run in the second quarter, outscoring American 18-7 to take a 24-20 lead into halftime. 

While the true freshman Travascio-Green played well, it was redshirt freshman De'Janae Boykin who stole the show off the bench for the Lady Lions. 

Boykin, who was playing her first game in the Blue and White after transferring last fall from UConn, made an immediate impact for Penn State, filling the stat sheet with 10 points and 6 rebounds.  

"She's an explosive athlete," head coach Coquese Washington said on Boykin.  "She gives us somebody who can play inside and outside. Someone who certainly helps us with our transition game and gets us going. She's a finisher. She finds a way to finish plays and finds a way to finish shots around the basket which is something that is definitely a benefit for us."

For Boykin, it was a positive start to her Penn State career.

"Honestly it feels amazing because I haven't played in like two years," she said.  "It was a good start for me."

A back-and-forth beginning to the third quarter then saw another run by the Lady Lions, as seven points by Page helped spark an 11-0 run and a 42-31 Penn State lead.  For Washington, it was Page's aggressiveness that was the key to her success all afternoon, including in that seven-point stretch.  

"She's just aggressive. When she's aggressive, she's really a tough matchup," she said on her star guard.  "I thought the first quarter she was not as aggressive as she needed to be. As the game went on she turned it up." 

Although Teniya's 30 points highlighted the box score, it was a balanced bench, that included Boykin and Travascio-Green, that may have been the difference Sunday afternoon. 

 "I thought we had a lot of energy coming from Sierra MooreDe'Janae Boykin, Jaida Travascio-Green and Peyton Whitted. When those four come out on the floor, it ratchets up whatever we're doing," Washington said.  "Especially during a game like today when our starters were a little flat to start the game. Bringing those guys in gave us a boost of energy and got us going." 

"It makes me a little bit more comfortable when I'm tired. I know that when people sub in there isn't a drop off from the starters to the people who sub in, so for me it just helps me out a lot confidence wise and I have a lot of confidence in our team already," Page added on how a strong bench can help her performance in the starting unit.  

That team effort proved critical down the stretch, as despite a 42-31 lead with 2:12 to go in the third, American responded.  A 46-38 Penn State lead heading into the fourth turned into an exciting final session, as American took a 57-54 lead in the quarter and fought the Nittany Lions down to the wire. 

Washington was happy with the way her team responded to American's late push. 

"I thought we played with a lot of poise in the fourth quarter. We didn't buckle under the pressure. I think they came back and took a four-point lead. We just came down and got a couple of big stops. We came down on the offensive end and got some good shots and Teniya [Page] got to the free throw line," she said. 

The Lady Lions will look to keep that poise Tuesday night, as they host Iona in the Bryce Jordan Center before heading on a holiday break. 

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By Anna Pitingolo, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Lady Lions used a strong showing on the boards and a dominant second quarter to win on Saturday against in-state rival Pittsburgh, 91-62, at the Bryce Jordan Center.

It was another close start for the Lady Lions as they trailed for much of the first quarter.  An Amari Carter 3-pointer with 20 seconds left put them ahead before Pitt tied the game up at 19 at the end of the frame. 

But it was a dominant second quarter that gave Penn State a lead that they would hold onto for the rest of the game.

The Lady Lions outscored the Panthers 25-8, punctuated by seven scoreless minutes for Pitt, to take a 44-27 lead into halftime. In between the first and second quarters, head coach Coquese Washington made some adjustments to help her team speed up their pace going forward. 

"We talked about how we were getting good shots so we needed to keep shooting the ball but the pace wasn't where we wanted it to be. I thought the first quarter was a little slow and we were a little sluggish," Washington said. "We made a couple of substitutions and got Sierra (Moore), Peyton (Whitted) and Jaylen (Williams) in the game. We got some offensive rebounds and then it seemed like the energy that we played with took off. That helped us and once we got going we were in good shape."

Junior guard Lindsey Spann had her most productive stretch of the game in the second quarter, where she scored 10 of her 20 total points. The team as a whole had 14 fast break points in the second period, compared to the two they had in the first. 

"We definitely wanted to get stops defensively and once we got stops defensively that helped with our transition game and helped us play faster and play the up-tempo style game that we wanted to play. We wanted to dominate them and not give them second chances," Spann said. 

Washington credits the depth of the bench to helping them in transition, saying "I think we are running hard. When we are able to sub and use our depth and keep people fresh, we can get up and down the floor."

Penn State was crashing the boards all day and ended the game with 47 rebounds compared to Pitt's 29. Senior Peyton Whitted and sophomore Jaylen Williams led the way for the Lady Lions with eight rebounds apiece. Panthers coach Suzie McConnell-Serio credited the Penn State's aggression on the boards. 

"They just out muscled us. I mean, that's the bottom line. That was a disappointing thing, fighting for position, shot goes up, they just out hustled us today and that was a disappointing thing," McConnell-Serio said. "We talked about winning the hustle plays and that just didn't happen.

"We gave up way too many offensive rebounds. It was disappointing that we gave up an offensive rebound, they'd put it back and it was a three-point play. We just needed to be tougher, to finish our defense with a box-out."

Washington, on the other hand, gave a simple answer about her team's rebounding performance- "I was very happy" -and gave praise to her posts for grabbing rebounds on both ends of the floor. 

"I thought our posts in particular did a really good job on the boards, especially the offensive boards. I think we had 12 offensive boards in the first half," Washington said. "That was key in establishing our size. We knew we had a size advantage once Brandi Harvey-Carr would leave the game so we wanted to be big."

The Lady Lions will take a week off for finals before they take on American University on Sunday Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. at the BJC.

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By Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Just over one year ago, Amari Carter stepped foot onto the Bryce Jordan Center court for the first time of her career during the regular season. Playing basketball her whole life, this moment was the culmination of all her hard work, finally being able to play basketball at the Division I collegiate level.

 

Rebounding off an ACL injury that saw her miss her senior high school season, she came out ready to prove what she could do and get back to the what she does best.

 

She got put into the game for her first action as a Lady Lion halfway through the first quarter, and it did not take her long to make an impact. Down by five, Carter got an open look and let it fly from behind the arc, knocking down her first 3-pointer and basket as a member of the Blue and White. The points helped knock the deficit back down to just two, a deficit Penn State would only dip below once more the entire game before eventually going on to a four-point overtime victory over Holy Cross.

 

But in such an important moment for her career, she did not have much time to soak it all in. Just before the end of the first quarter, Carter would go down with another injury. At first, the team was not quite sure what the injury might be, but when considering her unfortunate history of problems with her knees, the signs did not look good.

 

Ultimately it turned out to be another ACL tear, this time in her other knee, cutting her season short for the second consecutive year. Carter had just come back from a major injury only to have it happen once again just minutes into her next season.

 

"It was rough because I felt like I was already back," Carter said. Crushing as it was, she felt confident she could make a successful comeback again. "I knew what I was getting into because I've done it before," she said.

 

Amari also had the support of teammate Sierra Moore, who would also spend the season on the sidelines due to suffering the same injury in the preseason.

 

Together they would bond and work through the struggle side-by-side, each able to help the other out in a unique way. Moore, the then-junior, was able to help the freshman get through her tough times of having to watch the team play from the sideline early on in their career, as Moore transferred from Duke and had to sit out her true-sophomore season. Carter was able to share her knowledge of the process of coming back from an ACL injury, as Moore was experiencing it for the first time.

 

Along with those, just the fact that they were sharing the journey of going through the pain and the rehab together was something that helped them fight through their unfortunate circumstances and get back to basketball.

 

"I think [rehabbing together] is easier because you don't feel alone then," Moore said. You have somebody there that is going through the same thing as you. It really helps that you have someone who knows exactly how you're feeling and you can relate to them while you guys aren't doing the one thing you love: being on the court."

 

They would do everything together during the rehab process.  Whether it be lifting or sharing each other's emotions, they got through the challenging process.  With some help from the rest of the team and coaches providing support, both were able to return to full health and get back to the hardwood for 2016-17.

 

To say Carter has rebounded with success from her injury with success would be an understatement. Through the season's first nine games, the sophomore sits amongst the best in the country in efficiency; she is 2nd in the Big Ten and 3rd in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at a stellar clip of 4.7:1. Her proficiency in passing has been her greatest asset in this stretch, averaging the same number at 4.7 assists per game.

 

"Her impact has been incredible," head coach Coquese Washington said about Carter's play this year. "Her decision making and her ability to get her teammates open shots has been something that has helped us be as successful as we have been right now."

 

On Wednesday, the guard had the opportunity to face the team she was injured when playing against last season in Holy Cross, and she was able to help guide the Lady Lions to a resounding 84-48 victory. Carter played 23 minutes and recorded 4 points, 6 assists and 4 steals in the win.

 

After dealing with back-to-back seasons of ACL tears, it can be easy for someone to limit their play out of fear that a re-injury could occur. But Carter's ability to push her doubts aside has allowed her to focus on what's ahead and get to the point she's at now.

 

"You can't go into a game and play to not get hurt or think about getting hurt, you've just got to go to play and execute the game plan and whatever happens, happens. Some things are just out of your control," Carter said.

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By: Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- From the moment she first put on a Penn State uniform just over a year ago, it was evident to anyone watching that Teniya Page had talent.  The sophomore guard put on another show Saturday afternoon, as a career-high tying 31 points helped to lead the Penn State Lady Lions past Marshall, 82-80 in the Bryce Jordan Center. 

For head coach Coquese Washington, this is nothing out of the ordinary compared to the Page she's seen the last two years.  And, while the talent is there, it may be her basketball IQ that puts her over the top. 

"Teniya is a really smart player. I think when you look at how she scored 31 points in 15 shots, she's a very efficient player. She does a great job of finding and picking her spots; not just being a volume shooter. I think that's why she was able to have a good night," Washington said.  "When you have the high basketball I.Q. that she has, only good things happen."

Page helped get the Lady Lions going early, as she dropped in five of Penn State's first nine, and eight total points in a first quarter that saw the Lady Lions trailing 23-17 at the break.  Despite the deficit, a 3-pointer by Page with one second left in the quarter, her second of the game, was a sign of things to come.  

The big bucket sparked a 9-0 run to begin the second for the Lady Lions, giving the home team it's first lead of the day at 24-23 and then 26-23 before Marshall responded.  

Following the big Penn State run, Marshall responded with a 10-2 run of it's own, before a back-and-forth finish to the quarter saw the Thundering Herd take a 37-35 lead into intermission. 

Despite the big first half swings, the second half would be a close battle throughout, and for the home team that meant it was Teniya Page time.  After dropping 12 points in the first half, the guard doubled her scoring in the third, dropping 12 in those 10 minutes alone, including two of her game-high five 3-pointers to pace the home team.  

Saturday marked the second time in Page's young career that she hit five triples in one game, and for defenses, that outside shot is a scary combination with her quick first step. 

"I think it stretches the floor, especially if I'm making the 3's then they have to guard me which opens me up for the pull-up or the drive," she said.  "Then when I drive I can kick it out to my teammates. I think it just gives me more options and spreads the floor." 

One of those five 3's gave the Lady Lions a 59-58 lead heading into the fourth, a quarter where neither team would pull ahead by more than one possession until the final minute.  While big 3-pointers by Page were key to end the first and third periods, it was a driving layup that sealed the Lady Lions' victory. 

Page's slashing bucket with 35 seconds to go gave Penn State a 78-77 lead, and was the final of 13 lead changes between the two teams on the afternoon, as Penn State hit free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.  

For Page, the success she saw on the day, including her clutch late layup, was a result of reading the defense and taking what was given.

"I think being ready to shoot when people were attacking the gaps and also attacking the gaps myself, which made me available to shoot the pull-up," she said on her success.  "That's pretty much it and knocking down free throws." 

While Page's 31 points highlighted the box score, it was a team effort to secure the victory for Penn State.  Three other Lady Lions chipped in with double-digit scoring, led by 19 points from Sierra Moore to bring home the victory for the home team.

For Washington, continuing to find that balance in the scoring column will be key to the Lady Lions' success as the season goes on. 

"I think we've got to continue to find balance on the offensive end," she said.  "Sierra has recently shown that she can do that for us and so we've got to keep working with a few more players to be consistent on the offensive end."

The Lady Lions will look to keep the winning ways going as they hit the road to take on Holy Cross next Wednesday at 7 p.m. 


By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sierra Moore has had her share of ups and downs in her collegiate career. In the previous four seasons, she's only played in two, but she's back on the court this year and ready to closeout her career on a high.

 

Her Penn State career started when she transferred from Duke after her freshman season in 2013. Due to NCAA transfer rules, she was required to sit out the following year.

 

When she was able to suit up for the blue and white for the first time in 2014-2015, she didn't disappoint. She was the only Lady Lion to start all 30 games, led the team in assists (116), free throws made (73), was a team tri-captain; and also earned honorable mention All-Big Ten.

 

But right before the start of her redshirt junior season in 2015, she suffered a torn ACL in practice, which would cause her to miss the entire year. But, despite missing two years so close to each other, Moore remains focused on the positives that came of it.

 

"Sitting out for two years has been really hard but also, if you think back to it, I really can take away from those two years," the now-redshirt senior said. "Just getting a different side of the game and more of a coaching perspective is really helpful for me because I can see some things that you would not necessarily see when you're on the court playing."

 

Moore has wasted no time getting back into her groove this season. She already has 30 rebounds on the year and is averaging five a game; she's also averaging 7.8 points. Head coach Coquese Washington is happy to have Moore back on both sides of the ball.

 

"She brings a lot of intensity, she brings a lot of speed to the court and she just plays so hard, so having her back in the rotation is really an added benefit," Washington said. "She's a big defender for us; she's able to guard the big guards and the small forwards. She has the experience and she plays with a lot of confidence and that confidence rubs off on her teammates so I'm really, really thrilled to have her back in uniform this year."

 

With a team that is stacked with guards, Moore has been coming off the bench in every game. But that hasn't slowed down her production or lessened her role on the team.

 

"Her being a spark for us off the bench is big," Washington said. "As a coach, it's a wonderful luxury when you can look down your bench and go 'okay, let me put this kid in because I know she's going to have an impact immediately' and that's what she's done for us so far this year. Once she takes the floor, the energy, the intensity, the speed of the game improves immediately."

 

Her teammates see that change, too. Senior Peyton Whitted knows that she and the rest of the team can count on Moore to come off the bench and change the pace and flow of the game.

 

"Sierra will automatically bring a lot of energy so that's something that she does when she comes on the floor," Whitted said. "She makes an impact in some sort of way, whether it's defensively, rebounding or just scoring out in transition, I think that she's a player that we can definitely count on off the bench to come in and make an immediate impact."

 

Moore wasn't the only Lady Lion nursing an ACL injury last season. Then-freshman Amari Carter also tore her ACL in the preseason, forcing her to miss her first year. The two formed a close bond on the sideline, with the veteran Moore helping Carter focus on recovering.

 

"We were each others cheerleaders last year, just trying to push through rehab and things like that," Carter said. "She has a lot of confidence in her game and in herself and that gave me more confidence in myself and my knee."

 

Confidence is certainly something that Moore doesn't lack, and it seems everyone has taken notice. Washington couldn't say it enough, and even with her injury, Moore's confidence hasn't wavered.

 

"What's interesting with Sierra is, sometimes when kids come off an ACL injury they're a little bit more tentative, but Sierra is Sierra. She still plays with the same ferocity that she [has always] played with," Washington said. "When I think about her game, she has a mean, aggressive game and she plays with that same aggressiveness, she plays with that same intensity and confidence that she did before she got hurt."

 

Moore and the Lady Lions will look to keep that confidence and her high level of play to finish her senior year strong.  

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By: Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Staff Writer 
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State Lady Lions started off hot and didn't slow down, as an 11-4 early lead just was a sign of things to come in a 70-56 win over the 13th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols, Sunday night inside the Bryce Jordan Center.  

Penn State had three big runs throughout the game, each at key moments to help secure the victory.  

Sophomore guard Teniya Page got the Lady Lions off to a quick start, hitting five of her game-high 29 points on a layup and transition 3-pointer in the first three minutes of play.  Page's points were bookended by triples from Amari Carter and Kaliyah Mitchell to get Penn State off and running.  

While Tennessee bounced back to take a 16-15 lead early in the second quarter, a second Lady Lion charge changed the game once again.   A jump shot by Carter gave Penn State a 17-16 lead they would not return the rest of the night.  Five different Lady Lions scored over the final seven minutes to spark a 16-0 run and 18-4 stretch to end the half.  

"The game is a game of runs," Penn State head coach Coquese Washington said on her team's first half bursts.  "We took advantage of what was there during those times.  We were able to get to the free-throw line or get out in transition and hit some 3's." 

"I think the biggest thing for us was rebounding and then running in transition and then keep running regardless of what happens," Page said, echoing her coach on the transition effort leading to success.  "The thing that we talked about the most in almost every timeout felt like rebound the ball and run in transition on a make and a miss.  I think that was a key to making our runs."

Coming out of halftime with a 33-20 lead, the Lady Lions looked to keep the momentum going.  While Penn State had the lead, it was Tennessee that chipped away, cutting the deficit to 44-40 at the end of the third. 

For Washington, responding at the start of the fourth quarter to that Tennessee comeback was all about the defensive end.    

"I thought we got some stops.  I thought Kaliyah Mitchell came down with some big rebounds.  We were tougher inside in terms of contesting shots.  But I thought the rebounding during that stretch was big for us.  We were able to rebound and get going."

When the Lady Lions get going it is often Page leading the way, and the fourth quarter was no different. 

The sophomore, who heading into the fourth led the Lions with 16 points, was not ready to go home on the losing end.   The guard scored Penn State's first six points of the quarter to respond to that Lady Vol attack. 

"I would just read the defense to see what they would give me," Page said on what led to her success all night long.  "I just had to pay attention to how they were guarding me and my teammates.  A lot of times I had to create off the dribble, but I also created enough space to at least shoot my pull-up." 

As well as Page played, it was a team effort to close out this win.  The start of the fourth quarter provided Penn State's third and final big run of the game.  A 3-pointer by Carter capped off a 13-2 run in the first 4:17 of the fourth to push the lead once again to double-digits, 57-42, and help seal the victory. 

Carter's big late bucket wasn't the only key play by the rest of that Lady Lion group, as Page's high-scoring effort was complimented by three others in scoring in double-figures. Mitchell filled in with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Carter and Sierra Moore added 11 and 10 points respectively in the victory.  

Penn State will look to keep a three game win streak rolling this week, as they head south to Florida for the San Juan Shootout Thursday and Friday.  

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By Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Picking up right where she left off last season, sophomore guard Teniya Page put up impressive numbers to help Penn State earn a hard-fought victory over the visiting Akron Zips, 84-71.

 

On the night, she would go for a stat line of a team-high 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including a clip of 5-for-9 from behind the arc, all the while also racking up six rebounds and seven assists in a full 40 minutes on the floor.

 

"She's important because of what she can do, but I also think she's important because it frees up and opens up opportunities for other people," head coach Coquese Washington said about the Page's impact. "[The rest of the team] is able to do what they can do because she's being aggressive."

 

Early in the contest, the Chicago-native made her presence felt by knocking down three of her treys on the night en route to 11 points and a Penn State lead of 26-19 in the game's first quarter.

 

The second leg of action Akron responding after a quick jumper by senior Peyton Whitted opened up the scoring in the quarter. After that, the Zips went on a 12-0 run to take the lead, 31-28.

 

Coach Washington called a timeout to talk things over with her team to make some necessary adjustments.

 

"We weren't being as aggressive against the zone as I wanted to be," Washington said.

 

Penn State then answered back with an impressive 17-5 run of their own fueled by the likes of Page and junior guard Lindsey Spann, who combined for all but three points of the team's output to close the remainder of the quarter and half. After the hot streak of play, the Lady Lions were able to head into the locker room with a steady 10-point lead.

 

The Zips would fire back almost immediately at the start of the second half, as Akron guard Hannah Plybon rifled off a 3-pointer to quickly put her squad on the board. The following possession, Plybon added two more to her point-total with layup to make it 46-41, officially cut the deficit from the start of the quarter in half.

 

Both squads would trade scoring runs throughout the quarter; Penn State earned the longest stretch of scoring with an 8-0 run over roughly two-and-a-half minutes, meanwhile, Akron was able to hit five total 3-pointers in the quarter from the hands of Plybon and Megan Sefick, who hit the last of which with three seconds left in the quarter to make it just a 65-61 Lions' lead through three.

 

The fourth quarter would keep it a five-point contest up to the final five minutes, but after the final quarter's halfway point it was all Blue and White. Penn State went on to close the game on a 10-2 run thanks to five Zips turnovers.

 

Turnovers would prove to be the biggest difference between the otherwise equally competitive squads. The Lions won the turnover battle by forcing twice as many turnovers as they committed (16-8) and turned those into 29 points on the other end. Akron only was able to score six points off of turnovers.

 

Team captain Kaliyah Mitchell said post-game that the team will take both the good and the bad from the game and use it to propel the team throughout the beginnings of the season.

 

"Right now we're just trying to keep the high energy and let each game push us forward. We learn from each game and we don't settle," she said.  "So we look forward to every single game but we also look back and see things that we can fix so that we can keep improving every night."

 

With the win, Penn State moves to 2-1 on the season. The Lions also stay perfect against the current lineup of MAC competition, moving to 7-0 against the conference all-time.

 

Next up for the Lady Lions is a home game against the No. 13 Tennessee Lady Vols this Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.

@GOPSUSPORTS

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