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By Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Things are getting busy for the Lady Lions from here on out, as a two-game road trip will be played this week, followed by two more conference games before the Big Ten tournament.  The team will be busy this week, traveling to go play at Northwestern Wednesday night, before coming back to State College until Friday, when they will travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan.


With four regular season games left to go, the Blue and White have turned up the intensity and level of play, recently playing great stretches of basketball including a great win on the road against Michigan State and a near victory against top-ten team in Ohio State.  That stretch could have the team excited to play in the Big Ten tournament, but according to assistant coach Kia Damon, there is still much to be done in the regular season.

"We know [the Big Ten tournament is] on the horizon, but we haven't given a lot of time talking about it with the team," she said.  "There's so much still to be settled in the conference in terms of seeding and things of that nature, so I firmly believe a lot of this will come down for a lot of teams to literally the last regular season game of the season, solidifying seeds and really knowing where you stand."

Certainly, seeding is extremely important in the all-important conference tournament, so the fact that Penn State is playing good basketball with just four games left in conference play is also an important factor going down the stretch.  Fifth-year senior Brianna Banks knows the importance of the final few conference contests.

"We are focusing on one game at a time, but everything's for a bigger purpose.  It is in the back of our minds that the Big Ten tournament is something that we really want. It's a goal of ours.   But we also know we have to win each game to get there," said Banks. 

One of the big perks of winning the final games down the stretch is getting a first round bye in the tournament. 

"We want to play Thursday not Wednesday," added Banks. 

It starts with Northwestern who, like Penn State, has markedly improved over the course of the season. 

"We just continue to keep it simple.  Practices are maybe an hour if that, so we want to save our legs.  But, we just focus on what teams are doing and a team like Northwestern, even if their record doesn't reflect it, they're playing really well right now," said assistant coach Itoro Coleman.

After the Ohio State game, the team got a needed day off.  Tuesday during practice, the focus was on half court defense and offense, but rest at this time of year is crucial.   After traveling to Northwestern, the squad will head back for classes Thursday and Friday, then leave Friday for Michigan.  After that, it is senior night against Iowa, then a road game versus Indiana.  That stretch closes out the regular season before the Big Ten tournament. 

"We just want to be playing our best basketball and we've put a lot of emphasis on suring up our defense, and if you look at the past couple of games, we've held our opponents below their scoring averages and we've turned up our defensive intensity and energy.  We really just want to be playing at our best and were pleased with the progress were making," said Damon.

Playing good basketball is never a bad thing with four regular season games remaining until conference tournament time.        

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By Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With 50 seconds remaining in the first half against Ohio State Sunday afternoon, Penn State was in danger of heading into halftime down double digits, but guard Lindsey Spann was playing too well to let that happen.  Spann drove to her left into traffic and kissed it off the glass with that left hand to put her team within five.  From there, it would be a fight until the finish, with the Buckeyes pulling out the win, 77-63, Sunday afternoon. 


Spann was impressive throughout, dropping 21 points and going 4-7 from behind the arc.  She was also very impressive playing defense at the top of the key, communicating well at the top the 2-3 zone. 

"I thought Lindsey did a really good job at the top of the zone and trying to slow them down so they didn't get many transition points, so she was good at the top of the zone along with what she did on offense," said head coach Coquese Washington. 

One could hear the communication all the way from the top of the stands in press row, as Spann and the other players were constantly calling out screens and defensive schemes to help each other get into sync.  

"As a team we know what we're capable of, so every night we're coming out focused on defense and being aggressive and that's something we've been working on," said Spann. 

Spann acknowledged her good day shooting from the field, but was more upset with the outcome.

"I was shooting when I was open, and I took advantage of areas where I thought there was good opportunities, it doesn't matter.  We lost, and I don't like to lose."

Yet after a win on the road against 15/17th ranked Michigan State, and a tight loss to a top ten team in Ohio State, things are trending upward for Washington's team, and she feels the club starting to gel.

"I thought it was a good week for us in terms of how we played, how we competed against two of the best teams in the country, so certainly I think we're moving in the right direction."

"It doesn't happen overnight.  Again, this is a team that we've had pretty much since conference play and it has taken us the entire conference season to develop our rhythm and chemistry, trust and communication.  I've seen this in practice.  I'm just happy now that it's starting to show up on game day," added Washington.

Penn State went with a small lineup for most of the game, with Spann, Teniya Page and Brianna Banks each playing at least 38 minutes.  All of the guards reached double digits in scoring, with Page adding five assists.  The Buckeyes hit 13 threes on the other side of the floor, making it challenging for Penn State to hang tough, but that's exactly what the team did, as it was a one-point game with under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Penn State (9-16, 4-10) will play its next two on the road, first at Northwestern on Wednesday whom they defeated earlier in conference play, then in Ann Arbor three days later to play Michigan who beat the Lady Lions in a nail-biter in January.

The most important thing to take away from the Ohio State game is certainly Penn State's ability to fight and keep itself in games, as that is a good trait for a team to have so close to the Big Ten Tournament. 

 

By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the end of the season gets closer and closer, the Lady Lions are entering the part of the season where they will be facing opponents for the second time around.

The Lady Lions travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State tonight at 6:30 p.m. and will try to avenge the 71-55 loss they suffered at the beginning of January. After that, three of their five remaining games will be against opponents they've already faced this year.

Head coach Coquese Washington and her staff have been evaluating the teams' performance in the first matchup to determine what went wrong and what went right.

"You look at what went well the first time, what areas of improvement we need to see from the first time, and then also looking at what they have been doing since we've played them," Washington said. "Are they doing some different things, have they added some stuff, doing some things maybe a little less than they did the first time?" 

It's been over a month since the Lady Lions and Spartans first met, so both teams have had a substantial amount of time to get better and get more experience for younger players. So while Penn State has been improving their game in that time, Michigan State has been, too.

"It's been a while since we played them so it's almost like scouting them for the first time," Washington said. "It's been so long in between games that they've had quite a bit of time to adjust things and change some things. But there's some familiarity, especially for some of the younger kids, Teniya, Ashanti, they've seen the team, they've played them so they kind of have a little bit of familiarity with the personnel and what they're like."

Junior Peyton Whitted remembers the first Michigan State game well, and knows that the team has a lot to improve on before tip at the Breslin Center. A big focus in practice has been working on boxing out and grabbing rebounds. When Michigan State traveled to Happy Valley in January, the Spartans outrebounded Penn State 50-35.

"They're a really good rebounding team, we got outrebounded so we just really have to pound them on the boards," Whitted said. "Their posts are very strong and big, they run the floor very well and they have really good guard play. So we just really have to be aggressive with them and be aggressive with their post players and box them out."

While playing a team a second time may seem like it has its positives, it comes with its challenges as well. Teams don't want to go into the game expecting one thing and seeing something completely different, so focusing on the team itself and not previous games is a must.

"I think it's harder facing the team the second time, whether you beat them or you lost to them." junior Kaliyah Mitchell said. "You played them one time so you kind of know each other's strengths and weaknesses so going into playing them another time, we just have to key in on some of the things that we've been doing great and try to make those things better and try to pull out some wins this second half." 

Both Whitted and Mitchell agree that, despite the challenges, it's a plus being able to face the same team twice.

"It helps that we have played them, we know what to expect," Whitted said. "Right now we just have to look at if they've added anything new to what they've been doing, but the preparation's the same and it helps as far as personnel because we know who we're playing against and what they do, and it's better to see it a second time around."

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In a game that coach Coquese Washington called a "natural rivalry," the Lady Lions fell to Rutgers 74-62 on Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Despite the loss, guards Teniya Page and Lindsey Spann kept the game close while scoring 18 and 13 points, respectively. They did it without Brianna Banks, who sat out for much of the game with foul trouble.

Even though she ended up playing only 20 minutes, Banks still finished with double-digits in points, scoring 12 for Penn State.

"[Banks sitting out] certainly changes our aggressiveness on offense," Washington said. "She's our second-leading scorer and she takes a lot of attention away, which opens things up for other people, so when she's not in the game, it definitely takes some of our biggest weapons away."

Without Banks, Page and Spann were left to lead the Lady Lions as they tried to overcome a deficit as large as 20 points at times. Like many games this season, Penn State was outscored in the first frame, making the rest of the game a game of catch-up.

"I thought this was another game where in the first quarter [we didn't play well]. After that we pretty much played them even," Washington said. "There were some spurts where they got ahead and then we had some spurts where we came back but we never really could overcome that eight-point deficit from the first quarter."

Page's 18 points on the day bring her career total to 359, moving her to ninth all-time for freshmen at Penn State. She surpassed Tanisha Wright, who had 355 points during the 2001-02 season. 

"I'd rather win than crack [the top 10 freshmen scoring]. So it's not a big deal to be honest. I didn't know anything about that," Page said.

Banks only played nine minutes in the second half, but added eight points to her final total, including the games final points with eight seconds left.

"She's the best penetrator on the team so not having her out there today, driving to the basket, definitely affected us the most so [it's] a big loss," Page said. 

As the Lady Lions look ahead to Michigan State on Thursday, Washington said the team will be focusing on rebounds 

"Rebounding is certainly going to be big, Michigan State is a very good rebounding team and they do a fantastic job on the post," Washington said. "So making sure we're doing a good job defensively because Michigan State, especially at home, they're a team that can get on a roll so we have to have a high level of defensive intensity."

11665938.jpegBy ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a grueling five weeks that saw them traveling multiple times across the Midwest, the Lady Lions are back in State College and ready to hit the refresh button.

With recent trips to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska, the return to Happy Valley garnered the team a well deserved day off to help them rejuvenate before they face Rutgers on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

"It was more than clearing their heads, [they were] resting their bodies," head coach Coquese Washington said. "I think the double-overtime game [against Purdue] coupled with the trip to Nebraska...was tiring. So they definitely needed the day off to get their bodies rested and to get ready for Rutgers on Sunday." 

Playing two to three games a week can be tiring, so Washington gave the Lady Lions Wednesday off, and then had them just watch film on Thursday. Washington is focusing on her team's energy, which has been up and down throughout games.

"Hopefully getting a couple days rest will help with [getting a good balance of energy throughout the game]," Washington said. "I thought we played with pretty good energy for the most part against Purdue, and I think with our shortened bench we just ran out of gas against Nebraska in some respects. I think the timing of this game and being able to have a couple of days off to rest and rejuvenate will help us to have energy the full four quarters."

With injuries and exhaustion plaguing the team, senior Brianna Banks is happy that the break came when it did.

"Since we're not really heavy in depth on the team, we're kind of exhausted a little bit, [our] legs and stuff, so we're trying to use this 'bye-week' to try and get our legs back and get everybody back healthy so we can have a full team ready to go for Rutgers," Banks said.

The matchup against Rutgers will be the third time that the teams have faced off in the Big Ten since the Scarlet Knights joined the conference last year. Rutgers was able to walk away with a victory in both games last season.

Despite the newness of the conference series between the two teams, Washington enjoys the natural rivalry that comes with it. 

"I definitely think there's some schools that you have some natural rivalries with, in particular due to proximity and I certainly thing that's one of the pluses of having both Rutgers and Maryland join our conference," Washington said. "We've got two schools on the East Coast that we can build rivalries with and I think both of those schools provide us with that opportunity because of proximity."

Being back at the BJC after a road trip is exciting for the team, especially given the support they receive from the hometown fans. Playing in opposing environments can be taxing on a team, so to be playing back in Happy Valley is a welcome change.

"Our kids love playing in front of our crowd," Washington said. "They're passionate, they're energetic and they certainly are that sixth man for us and give us that shot that we need during different stretches of the game. [The team is] excited to be back home for at least one game and be back in the friendly confines of the BJC."

 

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions have always known that they have something special in Brianna Banks, Lindsey Spann and Teniya Page. They saw just how dominant that trio of guards could be in an 88-78 double-overtime loss to Purdue.

Despite the loss, Banks, Spann and Page led the Lady Lions on a furious route of the Boilermakers in the first half. Combining for 38 of Penn State's 42 points, it seemed that there was nothing Purdue could do to slow them down.

Banks opened the scoring with four quick points, including one off a steal, helping the Lions avoid the slow start they've faced several times this season. The fast start came as no surprise to Spann, who said the team was just executing their game plan.

"We played with a lot of energy. We came out and we made that an emphasis to attack them and that's what we did."

The hot start carried over into the second period, when the Lady Lions outscored Purdue 26-10 to take a 17-point lead into halftime. Page reached double-digits for the sixth straight game, and the eighteenth time this season, before halftime.

"I thought we played pretty well in the first half," head coach Coquese Washington said. "I thought we were aggressive, I thought we were attacking, I thought we were playing to our strengths and I think that certainly helped us get out to the lead."

The Lady Lions seemed to have cooled down in the second half, and Purdue was able to capitalize. The Boilermakers ended the third quarter on an 11-0 run to get the score to within five. In that time, Penn State had six of its 24 turnovers. 

"Our ball control in the second half of the game wasn't anywhere where it needed to be," Washington said. "I thought that was the biggest factor in the change in momentum and the change in the tide was the turnovers. We had quite a few live turnovers which they were able to turn into points and that was the biggest factor in the game." 

After letting Penn State's guards run the show in the first half, Purdue was all over Banks, Spann and Page in the second, virtually shutting them down. The Boilermakers used a 7-0 run in the final minutes of the game to shrink Penn State's lead to one when a foul put Andreona Keys at the free throw line for Purdue.

Keys made 1-of-2 shots to force overtime, but one period wasn't enough when Purdue's Ashley Morrissette tied the game up again with nine seconds left in the first extra session. Purdue kept Penn State scoreless in the second overtime period until there was just over a minute left, but by then it was too late.

"Basketball is an emotional game and you put a lot of heart and a lot of effort and soul into the game," Washington said. "When you have a finish like this where you feel like you let one slip through your fingers, it's tough. So one of the things about this team, their resilience has been pretty strong all season long so I have no doubt that we'll bounce back and get ready for the next game. It's an emotional game so when you have these kinds of experiences, they're hard."

The Lady Lions have a couple days to relax and bounce back before they hit the road to take on Nebraska on Wednesday night.

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By
Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Usually, it's Penn State's guard play that provides the spark for the Lady Lions.  But forwards Candice Agee and Peyton Whitted worked hard all night despite losing to Maryland 89-53 Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.  Whitted was physical down low, hitting the ten-rebound mark despite fouling out in the third quarter.  Meanwhile, Agee did some work on the offensive side, dropping 8 points and showing that Penn State's bigs can contribute on both ends of the floor.  Whitted has a gameplan for grabbing boards the next time her team hits the floor. 

 "Just get more rebounds, keep being more aggressive and carry that over to the next game," she said.

Coach Coquese Washington was happy with the way Agee and Whitted performed tonight and the fact that they continued to work hard late in the second half. 

"Certainly there are some good things we saw from our post players tonight and we're going to continue to try to work on that and build on that," Washington said following the game.

Having three more than capable bigs in Agee, Whitted and Ashanti Thomas, who pulled down five rebounds in the contest, will help with the already strong guard play from Brianna Banks, Teniya Page and Lindsey Spann.

Freshman guard also Sarah McMurty got in on the fun in the final minutes, hitting the first bucket of her career in Happy Valley, knocking down a three-pointer late in the game.  That brought out a loud cheer from the crowd and the Penn State bench.

"It was great, she works hard and she's a great shooter and I thought she came in and did some good things," said Whitted.

Now sitting at 3-6 in conference, the Blue and White are in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten.  But that could change, starting with a game this Saturday against the Boilermakers of Purdue.  That game will be at home on Saturday at 2 p.m.  Washington was clear at the end of her postgame press conference that her team would be ready.

"We'll be ready for Purdue."

Already looking forward to the next game, if Penn State can find the right balance between the talented guard play along with strong efforts from the post players down low, that could be a dangerous combination for any Big Ten conference foe. 

 

 

By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - At the annual media day to kick off the season, Penn State head coach Coquese Washington said newcomer Teniya Page would be fun to watch this year. Little did she know just how much fun it would be.

As just a true freshman, Page is leading the Lady Lions like a seasoned veteran, leading the team in points per game (16.1) and field goal percentage (.427). But while she may be excelling on the court, it doesn't mean she is exceeding any expectations set out for her, whether it's from herself or Washington.

"I'm pretty hard on the point guards and have high expectations," Washington said. "But I will say she has shown calmness and poise and composure beyond her experience. She plays with a very high basketball IQ...she hasn't had many bad games and I think that's sometimes rare for a freshman in any position but in particular as a point guard so I've been really pleased with how she's playing." 

Page also has expectations from herself that she hasn't met yet, and she is looking to improve her game to try and meet them as the end of the season looms near. 

"I wouldn't say I'm exceeding [my expectations], more like meeting them and just playing how I know I can play," Page said. "So I wouldn't necessarily say that with a whole bunch [of games] to go that I just exceeded all of them but that I just met a lot of them and I'm happy about it, but at the same time, obviously have to keep working."

As Page works to improve her game, Washington has already seen her take huge strides since the beginning of the season. As a point guard, Page has to be a leader on the court, and she will be the first to admit that she isn't usually a very vocal person. But Washington believes she is getting more and more comfortable with that role as the season progresses.

"In every game, she seems to get a little bit more comfortable in the things that I'm asking her to do that aren't really second nature for her, but I like her progress and she's certainly is adapting to the college game very well," Washington said.

Sophomore Lindsey Spann has been splitting point guard duties with Page all year, and has seen firsthand the presence that she brings to the court. Page's ability to stay calm under pressure is especially important as a point guard.

"She's a great player to play with. She seems kind of quiet sometimes but she stays very calm and composed and that's something players need to see from their point guard," Spann said. "It's amazing, she does a lot of things that a lot of freshman in Division I basketball right now can't do. She pays attention, she likes to learn, she wants to do better and be better for herself not only, but for the team." 

Page has shown what she is capable of this season, reaching double-digits points in 15 of 19 games this season. Her high was 31 points against Michigan, making her the first freshman to hit 30 points in a game since Tyra Grant had 33 in 2007.

"I think one of the things that helps her is just her athleticism," Washington said. "She's a very athletic player, and she can be very explosive in getting to the rim. When she turns the speed on, she can get wherever she wants to go on the court. And then you add to her athleticism, she's highly skilled. She's got a fantastic handle, she shoots the ball well, plus her high basketball IQ, all those things come together to make her a really dynamic player."

Page will get a chance to go up against one of the best teams in the country, when No. 5 Maryland comes to Happy Valley on Wednesday. But just like any other game, she'll be calm, cool and collected.

By Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- When one thinks of the preparation that goes into playing successful basketball, watching Nickelodeon cartoons isn't the first thing that would come to mind.  But the relationship between freshman guard Teniya Page and senior guard Brianna Banks has blossomed by doing activities like that, which in turn has helped the Lady Lions on the court.

 

"I hear they watch Spongebob together, so that's what they do off the court and things like that," said assistant coach Kia Damon with a laugh.

Page is averaging 15.6 points per game, and Banks, who transferred to Penn State from UCONN, isn't having too shabby of a year either averaging 13.9 points per game.  Banks had a laugh when talking about her backcourt counterpart. 

"I don't like her too much," she said jokingly with a wry smile.

"We're kind of similar in a way but I just talk a lot more than she does," Banks added.  'She'll ask me questions about basketball, but a lot of times were laughing about something on TV... we're just really goofy together."

Damon thinks the relationship between the guards is similar on the court to when they are just hanging out and watching TV. 

"I'm pretty sure Teniya is a student of the game so I'm sure she'll ask Bri some different questions and Bri's always willing to share so what you see on the court is reflective off the court," she said.

The guard play has been a huge part of Penn State's success this season, and with a balanced offensive attack the team hopes it can grind through a tough Big Ten schedule with some wins.  The Lady Lions hit the road to play Iowa and Illinois, and still have to face Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State and Indiana away from the Bryce Jordan Center. According to Damon, having a balanced attack is key, and they can't just rely on the guards to score all the points.

"One of the things we do philosophically is we want to have five kids on the floor that the opposing team must worry about, so it makes it difficult for them to say 'hey we're just going to double team this one player and take Penn State completely out of their game plan'," Damon said.  "So we do have that, we just have to get consistent in terms of how it shows up from game to game."

Damon also doesn't believe road games should be treated much differently from games played in State College.

"I'm not the one that believes that the game is different when you're on the road.  The rim height is the same, the court is the same, the officials are calling the same game.  It's just that there are more fans for the other team than there are for us so outside of that, what we have to get accomplished, our game plan, is all the same."

Freshman center Ashanti Thomas has a simple outlook when playing on the road that helps put road trips into perspective. 

"You just imagine yourself being at home and playing how you would play at home and trying to adjust your body to the exhaustion of traveling and trying to keep up with classes," she said.    

There is no denying that the sister-like relationship between the freshman and senior guards can help during the long stretch of Big Ten play.  Page said it best when describing her feelings about Brianna Banks.

"She's like my big sister.  We room together, we do a lot of stuff together that's basically our relationship."

Having a tight-knit relationship between two of the better guards in the Big Ten can certainly keep the Lady Lions in every game they play, whether they are at home or on the road. 

 

 


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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - It's been close to 18 years since Donna Spoonhour was diagnosed with breast cancer, and on Sunday, for the third time, she attended the Pink Zone game with her family.

Spoonhour was one of 640 breast cancer survivors on the court at the Bryce Jordan Center at halftime to celebrate the 10th Annual Pink Zone game. Accompanied by her daughter, granddaughter and her granddaughter's friend, Spoonhour saw Penn State lose a close battle with Michigan, 91-87.

But regardless of the outcome of the game, Spoonhour was blown away by all the support aimed towards survivors. The day has become a great way for survivors to come out and enjoy themselves with friends and family, with events before and after the game that survivors can attend.

"It's such a nice thing for them to do, to honor us," Spoonhour said. "Everything, all the details, they make sure that you're taken care of and it's really sweet. It's very exciting. We love it and we always have a really good time." 

Players share a similar sentiment towards the game. Senior Brianna Banks was playing in her first Pink Zone game, but raved about how much it means to her and the team. 

"This is probably the best game of the season. If we make it to a championship game, I still would say this is the best game of the season because of what it means and who we get to play for," Banks said. "Even though we play for everybody everyday, today is a special day for survivors. It really means a lot to us that they all come out every year and cheer for us whether we win or lose." 

After struggling early in the game, the Lady Lions put on a show for the over 9,000 fans in attendance, keeping themselves in the game even when the Wolverines tried to kick them out of it. Several times, Penn State saw themselves facing a double-digit deficit, but each time they clawed their way back to within a few baskets.  

Freshman Teniya Page went off for a career-high 31 points, becoming the first true freshman to reach 30 points since 2007 and the fifth freshman overall to do so. Page scored 19 points in the fourth quarter, when she shot 5-for-7 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line to keep the Lady Lions in the game.

Head coach Coquese Washington wasn't surprised by Page's flurry of points in the fourth quarter. She credits many things to allowing Page to thrive in high-pressure situations as the clock winds down, including her vast knowledge of the game, even at such a young age. 

"She has great poise and understanding in the moment," Washington said. "She has a really high basketball IQ and understanding of what we need in those moments, when we need a 3-pointer, how the other team is likely to defend us in those moments. She's just got a really good feel for the game and her competitive nature comes out in the fourth quarter, so you put all those things together and she's able to make plays down the stretch." 

After being down by nine heading into the final frame, Page led the Lady Lions on an epic comeback run to keep the game close.  Down by 16 with eight minutes left, they rallied around each other, eventually getting the game to within one basket four different times with under a minute remaining.

A big part of the late game rally came in part from the lockdown defense the Lady Lions played. They held Michigan without a field goal for the final 3:20 of the game, with the Wolverines scoring their final 15 points on free throws.

 Washington credits the tenacity of her team with leading that fourth quarter comeback.

"I just love the fight that we have. This team is just going to play. They're not going to stop playing until the final buzzer and that's a great thing to have as a coach, that you know your kids are going to be in the fight for the whole 40 minutes," Washington said. 

With the 2016 Pink Zone game now in the books, Washington and her team can look forward to continuing the tradition in years to come.

"When you look at everybody that's here, it's not just about Lady Lion basketball, it's about what it means to Centre County, what it means to the Penn State community and having this community galvanizing and rallying around a cause," Washington said. "You just see and feel the Penn State spirit of giving back on this day. I think you feel that every Pink Zone game and as it continues to grow it speaks volumes about Penn State University and who we are as a university and who we are as an athletic department." 

No matter when the 2017 Pink Zone game will be played, there's no doubt that Washington and her team will have it circled on their calendar.


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