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By Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When teams travel to University Park to take on the Lady Lions, they can usually expect to have to deal with a few things. Among the others, opponents can usually count on the Blue and White to give them trouble by pushing the pace offensively and playing aggressive defense, but if there's one player on the scouting report they can always expect to give them a tough time, its fifth-year senior Sierra Moore.

 

"She goes hard," assistant coach Jocelyn Wyatt said about the guard's physicality. "When she sees an open lane, she's going hard at the rim. When she sees a [missed shot], she goes after it. She brings a lot of toughness for us on the floor, and we feed off of that. She does a great job of leading us in that way."

 

Throughout her years with Penn State, Moore and her take-no-prisoners mentality has been one of the most influential for her squad as her teammates have looked to her to set the tone and lead by example. Her appetite for success has been contagious, and it all ties back to her overarching love for the game.

 

"I'm really passionate about the game. I've been playing since I was four, so basketball is kind of my life and it's really what keeps me going every day," Moore said.

 

One could say basketball is the most fundamental thing that Moore has ever known. The guard was born into a basketball family that saw her father Edwin play college ball in Millersville and her mother also play the sport in high school. Throughout her childhood, Moore says her family's rich history of athleticism helped shape her both on and off the court.

"My competitive nature comes from my family," Moore said. "I could always play 1-on-1 with my dad or my mom and even my brother who is only a little bit younger than me."

That competitiveness that runs through her blood is more or less her signature trait and is something the entire team has taken notice of in her time in Happy Valley. Her drive is something that the rest of the group looks to as a source of leadership and inspiration to push harder.

 

"Sierra brings a lot," fellow senior and team captain Peyton Whitted said. "First a foremost, she brings energy and passion and she loves the game. She's very confident in herself, she's confident in her teammates and she just makes us better in practice because of how much she loves the game. She just wants everybody to do well and be successful."

 

Moore's passionate play has turned into results on the floor this season and has helped carry this team during times when it has mattered most.

 

The fifth-year senior stands in the top three of the team in field goal percentage (.500 - 2nd on the team, 12th in Big Ten), scoring (9.4 ppg - 3rd on the team), and rebounds (115 total - 3rd on the team), showing her ability to contribute in multiple areas on the floor.

 

All of this comes off a return from a season lost due to injury, as a preseason knee injury ended her season last year before it could even begin. While still unable to play, the team still felt Moore's presence.

 

"Last year, one of the things that she did a really good job with for us was trying to keep the competitive nature and the competitive level of the team high," head coach Coquese Washington said. "She loves to win. She's one of the highest competitors on the team, and that's something she tried to infuse into the team last year even though she wasn't playing."

 

That kind of impact is exactly why she was so heavily recruited out of high school, on top of being a Gatorade Player of the Year in Pennsylvania and a McDonald's High School All-American. Despite coach Washington's hard push to get her to come to Penn State straight out of high school, Moore ultimately chose to enroll at Duke as a freshman.

 

Coach Washington said while she was disappointed Moore would not be joining her squad, she still offered out a hand in case she ever had a change of heart.

 

"A year later, [Moore] called me, and I was like come on home kid," Washington said. "Come on home."

 

Four years later and now Moore is just four games away from the end of her regular season collegiate career. While that reality still lies ahead, she says what hits her the most is the fact the following games will be some of the last games she gets to play with her teammates that she has grown with over the years.

 

As for the future, Moore's passion to succeed remains unwavering as her eyes are still set on what she can do to help the team get as far as they can, with the ultimate goal being the big dance.

 

"Just helping my team get to the [NCAA] tournament. That's what we want to do. We want to get to the tournament and we wanna dance, so my role is just working as hard as I can every day in practice to get there," Moore said.

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By Anna Pitingolo, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -The Lady Lions defeated Minnesota 77-66 Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center thanks to dominant performances from Sierra Moore, Teniya Page, and Lindsey Spann.

The trio combined for 50 of Penn State's points, but didn't really find their groove until the second half after some adjustments at halftime. After going into the locker room tied at 39, the Lady Lions came back out and held Minnesota to four scoreless minutes in the third to take an eight point lead.

"We had to reevaluate at halftime and really get our team together and come out there and do what the game plan was," Moore said. "I think we did a really good job changing it around in the second half."

Moore had a slow first half, with only two points and two rebounds. But after the break, she exploded for another 10 points and four rebounds. And while her numbers might not have been huge, it was her effort on the floor that coach Coquese Washington saw.

"Sierra brings an element of toughness, intensity, tenacity to the team. It's one of the reasons why we put her in the starting lineup because she just gives us that aggressiveness," Washington said. "I feel like when we are kind of in a lull, she's the one who will make a play whether it's a big rebound or getting out in transition or getting to the free throw line to kind of ignite the team. She's our lightening rod, she's our energy and she has a knack for making big plays when we need them."

In the fourth quarter in particular, Moore was flying up and down the court making aggressive plays. She was able to get open under the basket, and even when she was covered in the paint, Moore was able to get shots up around the coverage.

Moore finished the game with six rebounds in total out of Penn State's 47. Rebounding was a big focus in practice leading up to the game, both offensively and defensively.

"It was a huge focus coming into the game and we knew that they do a great job crashing the boards," Washington said. I thought the second half was much better than the first half. The first half, they kind of had their way with us on the boards, but we talked about it a lot at halftime and I thought our post players in particular did a really good job of trying to battle and box out and we ended up getting some big rebounds in the third and fourth quarter that allowed us to pull away a little bit."

The two teams played a physical game, combining for 31 personal fouls and numerous plays that ended with players diving on the ground. But while it the game was more physical than others have been, Spann wasn't surprised by the aggression shown by both teams.

"We knew they were going to come in and play tough and play hard, nobody's going to sit down in the Big Ten," Spann said. "Everybody's going to come to play and try and give you their best, they come and play tough. It's a physical game and the Big Ten is a physical conference, so it's just something we prepare for and we fought against it."

The Lady Lions are back at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday when they take on Purdue. The team will be honoring its three seniors, Sierra Moore, Peyton Whitted and Kaliyah Mitchell, in a ceremony before the game. Tip is set for 2 p.m.

Lady Lions Prepare for Back-to-Back Road Games

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Lady Lions enter the second half of their Big Ten conference slate, they'll be doing so by hitting the road...a lot.

Coquese Washington and Co. are on the road for four of the next seven games, and in the next five days alone, the team has big trips to Ohio State and Northwestern. While the Lady Lions are 11-1 at home, they're just 2-5 away from the Bryce Jordan Center in true road games, and 1-1 in neutral site contests.

With a level of comfort playing at the BJC, Washington wants her players to take that same mindset with them when they're on the road and she hopes they can bring their typical home performance on the road with them.

"I have told our players this, we have to have our game travel with us, meaning we have to take the good things that we do at the [Bryce Jordan Center] and bring those on the road," Washington said. "It's about overcoming adversity, the crowd and focusing on the things we can control, and showing some resilience will help us [as well]."

The Lady Lions have gotten better on the road as the season has worn on, losing their last two road matchups by just six points each. Junior Lindsey Spann has seen the team improve in multiple aspects on the road since their first road loss to Drexel to start the season.

"We've definitely gotten better, mentally, making the right reads, making the right decisions, understanding we may not get the same calls that we might get at home," Spann said. "We just have to play our game and stay locked in. If we do what we're supposed to do and follow the game plan then we'll be successful."

Executing their game plan will be a key factor in staying on track on the road over the next week. After a dominant win over Illinois on Sunday (Jan.29), Spann is looking to carry that momentum with them into the road stretch.

"[We] definitely just need to stay disciplined, play our basketball, Lady Lion basketball and not let being on the road get to us," Spann said. "We definitely understand that winning road games is important to finish out the Big Ten chunk of the season as strong as possible. Teams play better on their home courts so that means we have to pay attention to the details."

The Lady Lions aren't the only team in the Big Ten to have a favorable home record this season. Ohio State and Northwestern have just three home losses between the two of them. Washington isn't oblivious to the fact that travelling in the Big Ten is an added challenge.

"Road wins are tough to come by in the Big Ten because every team in the conference plays well at home," Washington said. "There are a lot of tough venues in this conference, so for us it's about playing hard executing our game plan and making every possession count. We have to be focused and locked in and keep that mindset for 40 minutes."

The Lady Lions will take on the No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes Wednesday night in Columbus. Tip is set for 7 p.m. and all the action can be heard live on the Penn State Radio Network.

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By Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Illinois Fighting Illini may have come into Happy Valley looking to play like their namesake with physical, assertive play, it ended up being their downfall as Penn State was able to combat it with an aggressive mentality all the while remaining under control. With the level-headed attack, the Lady Lions were able to open up their game and cruise to an 82-66 victory.

 

Penn State's gameplan was executed to perfection in many ways early on, and it all started with the full-court press on defense. In the first half, the Blue and White were able to elicit 12 turnovers and three steals, turning them into 18 total points going the other way.

 

"We wanted to be aggressive with defense. We wanted to have active hands to try and speed the game up so that we could force some turnovers," coach Coquese Washington said. "I thought that our depth was a huge factor in our ability to mix up the defenses and stay aggressive on the boards."

 

The ability to turn defense into offense propelled the Lady Lions into leads as big as 11 entering the second quarter. Illinois continued to push forward with their physical play, but they struggled to avoid fouling in the process.

 

Between the starters alone, Illinois racked up 14 fouls. This was especially troubling for the visitors since the Fighting Illini came into the matchup tied for 12th in the nation from the charity stripe, converting 77.7 percent of the time. They would continue to have success there by being perfect in 13 attempts from the line, but the sheer volume of fouls acquired allowed Penn State to thrive in the bonus, earning 10 more points in 18 more attempts.

 

Coach Washington said it was part of the team's mentality to dominate at the stripe after being beaten there handily before.

 

"We certainly talked about defending better after coming off the Indiana game where they shot 30 free throws and we shot 10. I thought that we put a lot of emphasis on it and we did a better job with it today," Washington said.

 

With several Illinois players in foul trouble and two leaving the game early because of fouling out, the veterans of Penn State's offense were able to take advantage by friving to the hoop. Two players that stood out were seniors Kaliyah Mitchell and Sierra Moore, producing similar results by each having big games.

 

Mitchell put up 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting along with six rebounds in just 15 minutes on the court. The forward led a bench unit on the night that outscored the Illini 35 to 11. She helped elevate the team and really changed the game when out on the floor.

 

"I thought that [Kaliyah] was a difference maker in the game for us," Washington said. "She was impactful on both ends of the floor. She came in the game and gave us a little bit more speed and a little bit more ability to guard."

 

Moore also made an impact in her ability to electrify the team with her feisty play. She would continue to drive inside and draw foul after foul, converting on seven of her nine free throw attempts. Her final sheet would read 19 points (a team best and season high for her), going 6-of-9 from the field and a plus-18 plus/minus while in the game.

 

"Sierra Moore is our 'Energizer Bunny,'" Washington said. "She doesn't know how to go half speed or turn it off and that is a great thing for us. When she is going out and getting rebounds or making baskets and being aggressive, it opens up a lot of things for everyone else."

 

The team captain was humble with her big game, saying it was just her playing her part.

 

"[Being aggressive] and getting to the basket is one of my roles. When we all take care of our roles everything flows really well for [our team]. I just tried to do that to help my team win," Moore said.

 

With the big game and the big win, the Lady Lions now look to keep the momentum going as they hit the road for a pair of Big Ten games. Even though uncertain territory lies ahead, the squad plans to take their mindset from this game and continue to concentrate on staying in control.

 

"The answer is execution," Washington said. "You cannot focus on two road games or seven more regular season games, you have to focus on one game plan and executing one game plan at a time which is exactly what we are going to do."


By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following a tough loss in Bloomington, Indiana at the beginning of the week, Penn State returned to the practice gym in the Bryce Jordan Center to regroup and refocus before the second half of Big Ten play begins.

The Lady Lions have a six-day break before they get ready to host Illinois on Sunday, and standing at the midpoint of conference play, the bye is coming at just the right time.

 "It's coming at a perfect time. Eight games in and we get the bye, get a break; it's a great time for our kids to rest up a little bit," said head coach Coquese Washington. "We don't have any serious injuries but [it's] certainly a time to rest some legs, rest some minds, and kind of get refreshed and focus on the second half of Big Ten conference play." 

The second half of conference play includes matchups with three of the top ten teams in the Big Ten, including Ohio State, who currently sits at No. 15 in the nation. The slate also includes four road games, with one week sending the team to Columbus and Evanston, Ill. for back-to-back games against Ohio State and Northwestern, respectively.

As those games approach, senior Kaliyah Mitchell says the players are focusing on adjusting certain aspects of their games that were weak to start the season. 

"This break allows us to rest from all the games we've played but at the same time catch up on some work in class," Mitchell said. "So we take this time to also rebuild and work on things from the first half of conference play that we probably need to clean up a little bit so I think the bye week is really helpful for us." 

Washington doesn't plan to change the team's practice schedule during the bye week too much, besides giving her players as much rest as possible.

"I wouldn't say there's big changes but certainly we take an extra day off than we probably normally would since we don't play right away," Washington said. "So we'll take an extra day off and allow them a chance to refresh and recuperate both mentally and physically."

As far as preference to when during the season the bye week is, Washington isn't too picky. She'd just prefer for it to come at a time when the team will most appreciate it and need it so that it can be advantageous to their season. With this year's break coming exactly in the middle of Big Ten play, there's nothing more Washington and her staff could ask for. 

"It doesn't matter as long as it's not too early and not too late so you want it to be somewhere in there where the break is going to be beneficial," Washington said. "Sometimes when it's too early it's not really beneficial because you're just coming back from Christmas break and you don't really need a bye. If it's too late, you may be a little more exhausted because you've played too many games in a row.

The bye is the first of the year for the Lady Lions, with their second break coming in mid-February, just before the end of the season.

The Lady Lions are home against Illinois on Sunday, January 29 with tip set for 2 p.m.

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 86-69, Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center behind 18 points from sophomore guard Teniya Page. 

But it was another guard who took home the night's biggest honor: junior Lindsey Spann became the 37th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. 

Spann reached the milestone thanks to a jumper in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't something she had her sights set on coming into the game.

"I didn't really know where I was," said the Laurel, Maryland native. "And then we came in at halftime and they were like 'did you know you're three points away?' and I was like 'no, but why did you guys tell me that because now I'm like thinking about it.'" 

Spann added: "It's a great feeling but I didn't do it by myself."

Head coach Coquese Washington agrees with Spann's selfless mindset, and has seen all the work that Spann has put in behind the scenes in order to play at the level that she does. 

"I think, like she said, her teammates have helped a lot," Washington said. "And Lindsey's a kid who works really hard and she puts a lot of time in the gym to be able to produce offensively for us. So to see all that hard work pay off this early in her career, she's halfway through her junior year, it just speaks volumes about how much she's contributed on a game-in and game-out basis over the course of her career." 

Despite Spann finding out at halftime that she was so close to history, she played it off and didn't worry about it.

"I did [feel the pressure] but then I was like 'alright just get over it,'" she said.

And get over it she did. Spann added eight points in the second half to finish with 14, one of four Lady Lions to reach double figures on the night. Despite coming off the bench the last couple of games, her ability to perform on the court hasn't slowed down. 

"It's a luxury as a coach to know that at any time we can put Lindsey in," Washington said. "She's hot off the bench. She's going to come in and she's going to push tempo. She gets shots up, she shoots at a very high percentage and so she's gong to change the game [when she's playing]."

As Washington has figured out, it's all about timing with Spann. As someone who can quicken the pace on the floor, putting her in when the opposing team is wearing down provides an advantage for Penn State. 

"Oftentimes she's going in when the other team is a little tired and maybe they don't get back, maybe they lose her, maybe they don't remember where she is and that allows her to come in and make some big plays for us and kind of get us going," Washington said. 

Spann finished the game at 1,005 career points, putting her 17 points behind Helen Holloway ('94) and 19 points behind Rashana Barnes ('02) on the all-time scoring list.

She'll have her chance to move up those two spots to 35th all-time when the Lady Lions travel to Indiana for a matchup with the Hoosiers on Monday, January 23. Tip is set for 7 p.m.


By Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In the world of sports, nearly all of the attention is drawn towards the starting lineup. It's where both the credit and criticism find a home depending on whether glory or failure comes a team's way. Arguably more than any other sport, however, the importance of the team extends further than just the starting five in basketball.  Depth plays an extremely vital role in a game that features constant swaps of personnel in real time.

 

That is no different with the Penn State women's basketball team, as the bench has been the backbone to the team this season.

 

This of course all starts with depth. In an offseason that saw just two new freshmen join the team's ranks, the Lady Lions returned nine letterwinners and five players with starting experience, losing only Candice Agee and Brianna Banks.

 

Of that crew, four upperclassmen in junior Lindsey Spann, and seniors Kaliyah Mitchell, Sierra Moore, and Peyton Whitted picked up where they left off and have contributed not just on the court but as leaders for the underclassmen-heavy roster. A lot of those successes have come not from where one might expect in a veteran starting lineup. Instead, much of that production has come from the bench.

 

The wealth of depth on the roster has given head coach Coquese Washington the ability to constantly tinker with the lineup and make decisions based on personnel and situations rather than by necessity. In her rearrangements, often times she has put a lot of experience on the bench.

 

"I like our depth and I like that we continue to grow and build it over the course of the season. We've shuffled some things around all season long but I think we're settling into being in a pretty good groove," she said. 

 

The trio of Spann, Mitchell, and Whitted head the squad that recently has come off the bench to create production in any given situation. In that group alone, you have the Lady Lions' top two rebounders, and two of the team's top three in steals and top five in scoring. Coach Washington said she has been impressed with the crew and says their experience adds another wrinkle to Penn State's attack.

 

"It absolutely is a wonderful advantage because you have kids coming off the bench with a lot of confidence that understand how to make an impact fairly quickly when they get in the game," Washington said. "You can make adjustments and put people in the game who are experienced in making those adjustments."

 

Spann said the ability to get many skilled bench players in has proved to be a tactical advantage, as the team is able to take over as soon as the opponent starts to show signs of fatigue.

 

"We go in and we play up-and-down, we play fast and it helps us be successful having people come in with fresh legs and tiring out the other team with that fast pace that we want to play at," Spann said.

 

As a result, the bench unit as a whole has paid dividends. In the past 10 games alone, Penn State's bench has outscored its opponent's bench a whopping 247-105, averaging more than 14 points more per game than the opposition. Of those games, only once was the Lady Lion bench outscored. That was against Maryland, where the Terrapins barely edged them, 14-13.

 

The bench's average of 24.7 points per contest over that span accounts for 37.5 percent of the Blue and White's scoring, showing just how immense the impact has been.

 

With the boost in energy and results all members of the bench have had this season, Washington has a lot of faith that any of her players can leave their mark once they get out onto the hardwood.

 

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By Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After allowing 72 points over the first five games of conference play, the Lady Lions defense came up big on Monday night, allowing nearly half of that average to the visiting Wisconsin Badgers in a 76-46 victory at the Bryce Jordan Center.

 

Wisconsin's 46 points were the fewest points allowed in a game by Penn State against any team since December of 2015 when Sacred Heart scored the same amount. It was also the least the Lady Lions have allowed in Big Ten play since Wisconsin was only able to put up 40 one day shy of exactly four years ago.

Out of the gate, the Lady Lions struggled to keep up with the Badgers. In the game's first five minutes, Wisconsin led Penn State 13-8 off of 6-7 shooting, knocking down its only attempt from three. Penn State, on the other hand, shot just 3 of 10 from the field and 0 of 4 from behind the arc.

 

Where the Blue and White were still able to have life was from their ability to cause turnovers and capitalize off of them. In that same time frame, Wisconsin had four turnovers that Penn State was able to convert just as many points out of, giving them half of their early point total.

 

The offense would eventually catch up in the first quarter and tie it up at 18, but the team would still go on droughts with not much offensive production. The defense was able to step up in these situations, pressuring the Badgers to force bad passes that led to steals or contested shots.

 

A lot of the success came off of the emphasis of being aggressive in the team's man coverage, allowing the team to take the ball in the other direction, coach Coquese Washington said.

 

"Once we settled down and did a better job at contesting shots, we had a little more activity with our hands and being disruptive defensively and then we were able to get going in transition," Washington said.


The Lady Lions' defense was particularly successful in the second and third quarters, where a stretch of 8:12 that bridged the two halves went by without a Wisconsin field goal. Branching off of that cold streak, the visitors continued to struggle, going on 3-24 from the field over 15:10 of play.

 

Coupled with an offensive surge by Penn State in the third quarter that saw the Lady Lions shoot 4 of 8 from deep, the Blue and White outscored Wisconsin 22-8 and broke out to a commanding 58-34 lead.

 

"We take pride in being a third quarter team," team captain Sierra Moore said. "We just talked about what we needed to do coming out of the second half and we came out there and executed it."

 

Entering the game, Wisconsin had already been in a rough place offensively when it came to keeping possession of the ball, averaging 21.7 turnovers over the team's last three matchups. That was no different Monday night as Penn State exploited the Badgers carelessness with the ball.

 

In just the first half alone, Penn State won the turnover battle 14-4, which included six steals and resulted to 16 points off of turnovers. At the end of the night, those numbers grew to 23 forced turnovers to just six from the Lady Lions, along with ten steals and nearly a third of the team's points scored off turnovers with 25.

 

In fact, the Lady Lions were so efficient at causing turnovers, Wisconsin's final turnover rate (31.5%) ended up being higher than its scoring rate (30.1%).

 

In the end, Penn State's defense spelt disaster for the Badgers, and now it will be just a matter of time to see whether Monday night's phenomenal defense can start much-needed momentum for the Lady Lions through the rest of Big Ten play.

 

Up next, Penn State takes on Nebraska at the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday at 7 p.m.

By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - At this time last year, Jaida Travascio-Green was enjoying all that comes with being a second semester high school senior. She was preparing for her impending prom, graduation and, after that, the trip to Happy Valley to begin her collegiate basketball career.

In the seven months since she left Downers Grove North High School in Lisle, Illinois, Travascio-Green has gone from bench player to one of the starting five for the Lady Lions. It was a quick transition from high school to college for Travascio-Green, but one that she took in stride.

"It was kind of a forced quick adjustment, but it was a quick adjustment, and everyone was really helpful with it," she said.  "They make it so easy for you to adjust in school, and even basketball-wise, both my teammates and coaches made it so easy to adjust."

The promotion to starter came on January 3rd when the Lady Lions faced Iowa, after Travascio-Green had had a strong showing at the start of the season, which didn't go unnoticed by her coaches. 

"It was an adjustment we had to make for the betterment of the team," said assistant coach Tamika Jeter. "Jaida gets her shot off really quick, she's giving us a lot of production and she works really hard and I think that was a great move for our team as far as production." 

Travascio-Green boasts a .410 field goal percentage on the season and averages 16.5 minutes and 6.1 points per game. Jeter credits her in-game success to the hard work she puts in at practice day in and day out. 

"I think Jaida, once she gets something, she gets very comfortable, and she can roll with it, so she's very mentally tough," Jeter said. "The other part of Jaida that I really like is she pushes through. When Coach [Coquese] Washington is taking them through some tough practices, I've seen that kid, when there's no more gas in the tank, find two more drops of gas, and that's what you want to see in your student athletes." 

It's that time put in during practice that has helped Travascio-Green get used to playing at the faster pace of college basketball.

 "I think everyone knows going in that the basketball is going to be faster, but you don't really know that until, I would say, you get into conference play," she said. "It's always kind of like playing against yourself because everyone's intense, everyone's strong, everyone's fast, and so that was probably the biggest adjustment, just having to make that jump so quick."

As Travascio-Green continues to get the nod from Washington as a starter, she reuses to let it get to her head or change her preparation from game to game.

"I don't try to let it change my mindset at all. I just think that Coquese trusts me to execute my role and whether that means starting the game or whether that means coming into the game later on, it doesn't really matter. I'm glad that she trusts me enough to start me," Travascio-Green said. 

"That's what I like the most about Jaida is her toughness in the situations Coach Washington has put her in," Jeter said. "The environment has been very tough, [coach] gets on her a lot, but she's responded and I think that's what's most impressive about Jaida." 

Travascio-Green and the Lady Lions will continue their Big Ten slate when they face No. 3 Maryland on Wednesday night in College Park. Tip is set for 6:30 p.m.

12343280.jpegBy: Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State Lady Lions used a 17-0 run over an eight-minute stretch in the third quarter to springboard to a 71-58 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes in Big Ten play at the Bryce Jordan Center Tuesday night. 

A back-and-fourth first half saw the Hawkeyes jump out to an early 18-13 lead after one, but Penn State answered to take a 32-31 advantage into intermission.
 

Coming out of the halftime break Iowa put the first two points on the board, but that is when the Lady Lions responded with their big run.  A Kaliyah Mitchell foul line jumper gave Penn State the lead back and Jaida Travascio-Green knocked down back-to-back 3's for the second time on the night to help jump-start the 17-0 run, giving the home team a 49-33 lead they would hold for the rest of the night.     

While the offense was humming for the Lady Lions during that stretch, the defense looked just as good, holding Iowa 0-9 from the field and scoreless over 8:35 minutes of game action to turn the tide of the game.

"
We talked at halftime that we needed to do a better job in transition. I thought that in the first half they got too many easy baskets because our rotations, communication and transitions weren't as good as they needed to be," head coach Coquese Washington said on the big third quarter.  "We kind of turned that around and locked it up in the second half, especially the third quarter. I thought Jaylen Williams played very well in terms of being aggressive, forcing the paint and rebounding the ball in the third quarter. Those two things combined I think helped us to go on a bit of a run." 

"
We just pushed the ball in transition. That was one of the things we wanted to focus on coming into the game and also throughout the other games we had this season. Getting out and getting out fast and try and put pressure back on the defense and we did that well," added freshman guard Amari Carter, who filled the stat sheet with 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists on the night. 

While the big third quarter run opened up the game, that lead did not put the Hawkeyes away, as they responded with a 7-2 run of their own to close the quarter.

Heading into the fourth, Washington had a message for her squad. 

"
In conference play, in the Big Ten, you know everyone is going to play for 40 minutes. No one is going to hang their head and stop playing suddenly because they're down 12 or 14 or 15 points," she said.  "There was a lot of basketball left in the game so we knew they would keep fighting and they'd attempt to come back, so the fourth quarter we just had to hunker down and get some stops and pay attention to our defensive rotations and our defensive assignments."

On the offensive side of the ball, along with Carter it was another freshman, Travascio-Green, who led the way.
 

While it was the guard's first time on the floor for the opening tip in the Blue and White, she didn't hesitate to contribute, knocking down a team-high five 3-pointers and a team-high 16 points in 24 minutes. 
 

"
It was the same attitude throughout the game as I've had the other games," the freshman said on her starting mindset.  "I just wanted to step up as best as I can since my teammates and my coach put me in that position."

"
It's just an added weapon and she brings length on the defensive end of the floor.  I just thought we'd mix it up and give her a shot," Washington added on making the move to start the freshman.  "She's practicing well and playing well. I thought it would help to have her energy and her shooting out there on the floor at the beginning of the game."

Travascio-Green and her teammates showed energy throughout the game vs. the Hawkeyes Tuesday night, and they will look to keep that momentum going when they travel to Purdue for a weekend contest this Saturday at 2:00 p.m.  

@GOPSUSPORTS

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