By Anna Pitingolo, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY
PARK, Pa. - Head coach Coquese Washington and the 2016-2017 team met with the
media on Tuesday for their annual media day at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Lions are coming off a 16-16 (7-11 Big Ten) season, and looking to improve on
that this upcoming year. The team
returns to All-Big Ten selections in guards Teniya Page and Lindsey Spann. Page earned Second Team All-Big Ten and was a unanimous
All-Freshman Team selection, while Span earned honorable mention All-Big Ten
out more sights and sounds from Media Day below:
Replacing Banks' production Brianna
Banks may have only played one season in blue and white, but she played an
important role on the court. Banks averaged 13.4 points last year and boasted a
.380 field goal percentage. Now that she's graduated, Washington isn't looking for
just one player to fill in her role.
we'll replace her production with some of the new faces," Washington said. "I
think Amari Carter is somebody who can put some points on the board for
us.I think our two freshmen have shown
promise early in practice and I'd like to get a little bit more out of our post
kids, have them be a little bit more impactful. So we're not looking for one
person to replace Bri Banks."
Moore and Carter return from injury Both Sierra
Moore and Carter missed last season due to knee injuries that they sustained
before the season had started. Now they are healthy and ready to return to the
court, and their teammates are happy to have them back.
very exciting to get back and work with them," said senior Peyton Whitted.
"They're really competitive players and they're going to help us a lot in a lot
of areas. Amari's really aggressive at scoring and Sierra can do it all, she's
a rebounder, she's a defensive player, she's just competitive and she just
wants to win. So they are two key components to our team that are going to make
us really strong this year."
Freshmen ready to make an impact With the
addition of true freshmen Siyeh Frazier and Jaida Travascio-Green, and redshirt
sophomore transfer De'Janae Boykin, Washington is looking for them to make an
immediate impact. Boykin isn't eligible to start playing until the spring
semester but Frazier and Travascio-Green are ready for the whatever is thrown
"I feel like
as far as doing what Coach needs me to do, I'm very competitive so whatever she
needs me to do, I feel like I'm ready," Frazier said. "Of course I'm probably
not starting ready or game ready right now, but I feel like I can do whatever
she needs me to do."
Tamika Williams-Jeter added to staff In the
offseason, Washington added Tamika Williams-Jeter to her coaching staff as an
assistant to replace Kia Damon, who left the program to coach at University of Cincinnati.
a positive having Tamika on staff," Washington said. "She brings a lot of
energy and knowledge, she's a fantastic teacher, she's really bonded well and
built great relationships with our post players very quickly and I think it's
allowed our staff to have tremendous chemistry at this point in the season."
ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions are back on campus and
prepping for the season ahead of them after strong workouts this summer.
Under new NCAA rules, the team was allowed to practice as a
whole over the summer, so from the end of June to mid-August, the Lady Lions were
in the gym working out as a full squad.
"All summer we had full team practices and it didn't really
matter that they were only an hour or two hours a week," said sophomore captain
Sarah McMurtry. "We got a lot done, we worked on a lot of offense and
transition and stuff like that. We got a lot faster and now we look faster
moving up and down the court."
With most Penn State students home for break and with a
smaller workload in the classroom, the players were able to focus strictly on
basketball and improving upon last season.
"It's very different from the season, we don't lift as hard
or do as much straight-up conditioning as we do in the season," McMurtry said.
"Although the season was hard and long and time consuming, the summer's a
little more strenuous on your body. Day-by-day it might seem long but all of a
sudden six weeks are up and you did so much work all summer so it felt really
The summer was also the first time that the Lady Lions were
able to bring in and workout with the true freshmen. Jaida Travascio-Green and
Siyeh Frazier were in State College for the second half of the summer to start
getting acclimated with the team.
"Bringing in the freshman has been great because it's always
nice to get new faces," said senior Peyton Whitted, also a team captain. "With
Jaida and Siyeh they're very special because they've really taken in everything
that we worked on this summer a lot faster than what you probably would think
for a freshman. They work hard and they're going to help us a lot and I'm
Travascio-Green and Frazier were able to learn and grow
thanks to help from veteran players, who went out of their way to make the
transition easier for them.
"It was definitely not as bad of a transition as I was
expecting just because all of my teammates were really helpful about getting
places and helping us get acquainted with everything," Travascio-Green said.
"And at practice, [head coach Coquese Washington] and all the coaches were
really helpful with making sure we knew what we're doing before we started."
Now that the fall semester has started, the team is back to
its normal offseason procedures, balancing more credits with a stricter
practice regiment. While it was great for the freshmen to get their toes wet in
the summer, it's much different now with the added work.
"In the summertime versus the fall semester, the sidewalks
weren't as crowded, it's super crowded now, but workouts were hard of course,
but they helped us get accustomed really fast," Frazier said. "Now that the
semester is started, it's been fine because we have study hall, so I usually do
all my work there, and that helps so much."
The Lady Lions will continue their offseason routine in the
coming weeks as they prepare for their season to open in November.
By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the Lady Lions in the midst of the offseason,
there is a new, yet familiar, face walking the halls of the Bryce Jordan Center.
Miriam Powell, the former executive director of Pink Zone, has increased her
role with the program and is now the Director of Community Outreach, a position
she stepped into in January.
In her new objective with the program, Powell's main focus is creating powerful
and impactful relationships within the Penn State and surrounding communities, through
service and volunteerism
"My biggest goal is more visibility for Lady Lion basketball outside of the
Bryce Jordan Center," Powell said.
Powell has worked closely with the women's basketball team ever since she first
became the Pink Zone executive director five years ago. The decision to join
Pink Zone was all about timing for Powell, who had moved to the area with one
young child and another on the way.
"I was just looking to keep my sanity as a new young mom, and was doing
volunteer work in community for the American Cancer Society," Powell said. "One
of the other volunteers told me about the Pink Zone opening and thought that
based on what I had done for ACS that I would be a good fit."
The position proved to be a really good fit at that time, allowing Powell to
work from home and still be around her kids. It also allowed her to build
relationships with the community and the Lady Lion program.
Now that her kids are a little bit older, Powell was ready to get back into an
office setting. Having always felt that volunteering and community service are
important to building character, Powell jumped at the opportunity to apply for
the position with the Lady Lions.
"The one thing that I loved most about my years with Pink Zone was getting to
know the community better," Powell said. "I just really loved getting to know
the people in the other communities so when this job became available and the
focus was on community outreach and community service, it was a good fit."
As she settles into her new job, Powell's been busy wrapping her head around
all parts of Penn State athletics in what she describes as a "fun and busy"
first couple of months. She's excited for what the future holds for the Lady
Lion program, both on the court and in the office.
"It's been really fun getting to work more closely with the Lady Lion players,
I've loved that part of it," she said. "I love coming to work every day. Every
day is different and the people who work in this office specifically are
As the Director of Community Outreach, Powell plans to use her strength of
connecting with people to focus on connecting Lady Lion basketball even more to
"My goal is creating more visibility, and getting the players and the coaches
out engaging with the fans that are supporting them now, or lining them up with
new fans because of the community service that they do," Powell said.
Ind.- The Penn State Lady Lions fought all night long, but in the end it wasn't
quite enough, as their Big Ten tournament run ended Thursday night, falling to
the Purdue Boilermakers in the tournament's second round, 70-59.
by Kaliyah Mitchell helped spark an 11-0 run to push the 11th seeded Lady
Lady Lions out of the gates early, as Penn State turned a 4-4 tie into a 15-4
lead, and 15-6 advantage at the end of the first over the sixth-seeded
first quarter saw a big run for the Lady Lions, the second quarter was Purdue
returning the favor. The Boilermakers
used a 9-0 run over a three-minute span to cut a 19-10 Penn State lead to a tie
game with 3:05 to go in the half.
teams traded buckets the rest of the half, and a late jumper by Teniya Page
kept the game within one possession, as Purdue took a 28-25 lead heading into
squads, who played to double-overtime earlier this season in Happy Valley,
continued that close tradition in the second half, as both teams dug in. Junior forward Peyton Whitted was one of the
key contributors to the Lady Lions all night long, as she racked up a
double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds on the night. Head coach Coquese Washington not only saw a great performance
out of Whitted tonight, but growth throughout her junior season.
thought Peyton was one of the kids on the team that showed tremendous growth
over the course of the season," she said.
"One of our more consistent players over the course of the season,
especially the second half of conference play and really happy with the
performance that she had tonight. And I think it bodes well for things to come
next year with Peyton."
a great job on the boards, just being aggressive and attacking offensively and
defensively so that was a plus," guard Lindsey Spann added on her effort vs.
the Boilermakers tonight.
only had solid numbers, but key baskets to keep the contest close, including a
baseline jumper to cut Purdue's lead to 51-50 with 6:22 to go in the
fourth. Despite the late push, that
one-point margin would be the closest the Lady Lions got the rest to the
night. Purdue answered Whitted's bucket
with a 6-0 run to put the game away late.
game didn't go the way the Lady Lions had planned, Washington couldn't say
enough about her team's effort.
absolutely thought that we gave it our all. We left everything we had out on
the court tonight," she said postgame. "I
thought we started the game off very well defensively. And we continued to do a
pretty good job defensively. We just kind of hit a lull offensively and with our
turnovers, a few too many turnovers and a few too many second-chance points for
Purdue kind of did us in."
team is a fighting group, we're not going to give up and we're going to play
til the end and the time runs out," Spann added. Mentioning how she's seen this group's mental
toughness grow all season long.
fight and effort will be valuable to the Lady Lions, as they look to build on
this week's progress heading into next season. Wednesday's Big Ten first round win was the
program's first in the tournament since 2012-13, and Penn State is ready to
keep that program momentum moving forward.
With the return of tonight's top four scorers next season, including
All-Big Ten Second Team selection Teniya Page, who led the team with 18 points,
the future is bright.
definitely great to get that (Big Ten tournament win) this year," said
Whitted. "We now know what it takes to
get that win and keep going in the tournament."
the strong effort this week, the future, both in the Big Ten tournament, and
all season long, is bright for the Lady Lions.
Ind.- In college basketball the month of March is all about one phrase, "survive
and advance." The Penn State Lady Lions
did just that Thursday afternoon, as the 11th seeded Lady Lions took
down the 14th seeded Illinois Fighting Illini in round one of the
Big Ten tournament, with a 75-66 win.
State got off to a hot start against the Illini, hitting their first three
3-pointers, including back-to-back shots by Teniya Page and Lindsey Spann, to
jump out to a 13-5 lead early. The two
teams traded buckets the rest of the quarter, as PSU took an 18-14 lead at the
end of the first.
quick start was important for the head coach Coquese Washington, especially in
this tournament setting.
think it's critical, the start of the game is very important." Washington said
following the win. "I always feel the
first game in the tournament setting is always the toughest. The stakes are high. I'm really happy we're able to come here and
get this win under our belt."
both teams playing zone on the defensive end, jump shots came early and often
for both squads on the offensive end.
Penn State shot 5-17 from three in the first half,
while Illinois wasn't far behind at 4-10 behind the arc.
the outside shooting wasn't necessarily part of the game plan, it was all about
getting good looks.
taking open shots and seeing where the gaps are and attacking the gaps," said
guard Lindsay Spann on the offensive mentality.
outside shooting, coupled with strong play from freshman Teniya Page, gave the
Lady Lions a 37-31 lead heading into the break.
Page, a Second Team All-Big Ten and was a unanimous
All-Freshman Team selection, led Penn State with 11 points in the first 20
minutes. Finishing the night with a
team-high 18 points and nine assists.
"I thought Teniya showed why she's one of the
best players and performers in the Big Ten," Washington said on her freshman
guard. "When the stakes are high, such
as the Big Ten tournament, she shows up and performs."
"It feels good the first game to get a win,"
Page added. "I think I'll feel a lot
more comfortable considering my first (Big Ten tournament) game is over."
Although Page led the scoring category, it was a
balanced effort all game long that helped keep Penn State in the game, as four
players finished the afternoon in double figures. Peyton Whitted followed Page offensively with
15 points and nine rebounds. While Spann and Brianna Banks added 12 points
"It's very important to have balance scoring,"
said Spann on the offensive effort. "When
you have multiple people contributing we're a threat from all different areas."
While the Lady Lions jumped out to a quick lead
to start the first quarter, the third quarter saw a balanced start after
halftime. A driving Illinois layup cut
the PSU lead to 46-43, but every time the Illini looked like they were about to
turn the tide, Penn State came back and responded.
"Composure is key, basketball is a game of
runs," Washington said. "People are
going to make shots, you're going to make shots, the thing is you can't fall
apart when you've got control of the game."
Keeping control is just what Penn State did, as
they held the lead despite each second half Illinois run, and made plays down
the stretch to secure the win.
Penn State will look to keep their tournament
run going as they take on the 6th seeded Purdue Boilermakers
tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET.
By Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK,
Pa. - Wednesday marks a brand new season for the Lady Lions.The Big Ten tournament serves as a chance for
Penn State to continue their solid play throughout the second half of the
season.Except now, there is an NCAA
tournament berth on the line.
The Blue and White will head to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
as the no. 11 seed in the Big Ten. Their
first game will be against Illinois on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Lady Lions handled the Illini in their
first meet this season, beating them 65-56 in Champaign. According to assistant coach Itoro Coleman,
the Lions can not afford to look past the first game.
"Their record doesn't show it, but they're a better team [than their
record indicates]. They've played a lot
of teams close and right now, they're looking to go zone make and miss, so we
have to work on our zone offense."
Head coach Coquese Washington believes Illinois is a good matchup for
Penn State because of the size of the Fighting Illini post players. Penn State will likely start out with Kaliyah
Mitchell and Peyton Whitted down low, and rotate players in and out from there.
"I think Illinois is a team that matches up well with us in terms of
having big post players. Sometimes for
our post players, bigger post players are easier to guard."
Guard Lindsey Spann believes her team will be fine playing on Wednesday
instead of on Thursday, believing past experiences can help her club.
"We're doing the same things we've been doing the past few weeks. We've played Iowa on a Wednesday; we played
[Maryland] on a Wednesday. So it's the
same type of thing where we're just really focusing on us, and taking it day by
day to get ready for our first opponent."
One of the biggest challenges facing Penn State is the ability to stay
fresh while potentially playing multiple days in a row.
"You train mentally and physically for things like this. It's a long season and we want to keep
winning so you do what you have to do.
Your body's going to feel tired, but you can do more than what your body
is telling you," said Spann.
Spann also detailed the proper way to prepare during the week for the
"You have to take care of your legs, you have to eat right, you have to
get proper rest and you have to get treatment...just trying to keep your legs
under you and have the proper energy to get through the week."
To get past Illinois and face Purdue in the second round, Penn State
will have to be aggressive on both ends of the floor, but offensively the
intensity level must be high.
"I think you have to go out and be aggressive on the offensive end and
you have to be aggressive and assertive to get to the free throw line and get
easy points," said Washington.
Freshman guard Teniya Page also believes positive thinking will play a
big part in surviving and advancing.
"[We need to] take care of the ball and not get discouraged if we don't make
the first couple of shots," she said.
The tournament will be an incredible opportunity for the coaches,
players and staff.
"When you go out there, there's just an energy when you walk into
Bankers Life and you're in that tournament environment, there's an increased
energy and I think that that increased energy and adrenaline helps everybody
out," said Washington.
Going into the tournament firing on all cylinders, the Lady Lions are
hungry for the opportunity to compete against the best of the Big Ten for a
spot in the Big Dance. Washington said
it best about her team Monday afternoon.
"They want to stay. They want to
compete beyond Wednesday."
In order to go dancing, that is exactly what the Lady Lions have to
The Big Ten Tournament is set to begin Wednesday, and it serves as a
fresh start for every team in the conference.
Penn State is the eleventh seed, and is on the bottom portion of the
bracket. Here is a brief evaluation of
every team on the Lady Lions' half of the bracket
(Teams listed in order of seeding)
The Buckeyes come in as the no. 2 seed in the Big Ten. Ohio State is ranked ninth in the country,
but have lost their last two contests.
Before that, Ohio State rattled off 11 consecutive wins in conference
play, including a win against top-seeded Maryland. Four Buckeyes are All-Big Ten players,
including Kelsey Mitchell and Ameryst Alston, who are averaging 25.9 and 19.6
points per game, respectively. Guard
play is a key for Ohio State.
Going 13-4 in Big Ten play was enough to get the Spartans the three seed
in the conference tournament. Four wins
in a row makes Sparty one of the hottest teams in the conference. Michigan State has a double-bye, and will
face either Penn State, Illinois or Purdue.
Forward Aeriel Powers leads the team in points and rebounds, scoring
21.9 points a game and nabbing 9 boards a game.
Penn State nearly beat the sixth-seeded Boilermakers at the Bryce Jordan
Center last month, falling in double overtime.
Purdue is right on the bubble at 19-10 overall, currently a 12-seed in
ESPN's Charlie Creme's latest bracketology.
Purdue relies on three guards who average double-figure point
totals. No big averages more than 4.2
rebounds per contest.
The Huskers come in losers of 3 out of 4 to close out the regular
season. The team does possess wins over
Michigan State and Purdue, but their record currently sits at 18-11, 9-9 in
conference play. Against Penn State,
Natlie Romeo had 32 points, while Jessica Shepard scored 29. Then, in Lincoln, the freshman Shepard had 20
while Romeo dropped 19. This
forward/guard combo can score.
The Scarlet Knights check in as the Big Ten's no. 10 seed. They have dropped 8 of 11 to finish the campaign. Penn State beat Rutgers handily in their lone
matchup. Their "big two" consist of
guard Tyler Scaife and guard/forward Kahleah Copper.
The Illini face Penn State on Wednesday and are the no 14 seed. They have solid post play in Chatrice White
and Alex Wittinger, and play mostly zone defense. Illinois only has two conference wins on the
By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY
PARK, Pa. - The Candice Agee to Brianna Banks dish-and-score in the fourth
quarter may not have looked like anything special, but to the seniors, it put
an exclamation point on their last game at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Banks led the Lady Lions to an 81-68 win over Iowa (17-12, 7-10 Big Ten) Wednesday
on Senior Night, where they, along with three managers, were honored in a pregame
made the most of their night, combining for 38 points and eight steals. But it
was the layup by Banks in the final minutes that was the most meaningful stat
for both of them.
when we have our interactions and stuff like that because it makes it special
for the fans and everything," Agee said in an enthusiastic postgame press
conference. "You get a great pass, a great assist or a great rebound and then
you get to do a little point to each other and that's awesome."
"I feel like
the whole game, we were vibing, so that was just another pass, another point to
make this night even better," Banks added.
to finish, Agee and Banks were the stars of the show for Penn State (11-17,
6-11 Big Ten). They combined for the first 11 points before another Lady Lion
was able to get a basket. And while early foul trouble forced Banks to sit out
for chunks at a time, she made the most of the 23 minutes that she played.
for at least two charges a game so that's not shocking," joked Banks before
getting more serious. "The last one I fouled because I don't like giving up
layups and I'm intentional about that, so it wasn't emotions. Learning to be
smart with fouls is something that I need to face, but it wasn't emotions, it
was just dumb mistakes that I made."
21-points on the night, tying her career-high for the third time. The career
outing was something Agee had almost expected of herself, seeing as she always
plays her best basketball in front of her dad. And with Rodney Agee having
flown in from her home state of California to watch his daughter play at the
BJC one final time, Agee knew it was going to be a big night before it even
something about [my parents] being in the crowd that makes me want to go above
and beyond and that's what they do for me," Agee said." I keep trying to tell
[my dad] he just needs to quit his job and follow me around; I'd be an MVP."
tacked on one block and three steals to her career night, and topped her previous
high of six free throws by sinking seven.
surprise me at all tonight," said head coach Coquese Washington. "I know that
Candice is capable of having big games and she's certainly capable of being a
big impact player, so it didn't surprise me that she was able to have the night
that she did. I'm really happy for her, that she was able to close out her
career with a game like this; it's something she'll remember for the rest of
victory, both Banks and Agee agreed that it wasn't the best game of basketball
that the team had played this season. Citing that they blew a 25-point lead in
the third quarter, the team knows that they have to play their best if they
want the coveted first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament next week.
is helpful with the rankings, of course, in the Big Ten Tournament," Banks
said. "We're constantly talking about playing Thursday and not Wednesday and
not playing five games in a row, so this game meant a lot with our rankings in
seniors were subbed out of the game for good in the final seconds, the Jordan
Center gave each a standing ovation. Washington was happy with how the two
ended their careers at home, and couldn't have asked for anything more from them.
"They both played the way you
hope seniors play in their last home game," Washington said. "The emotion of a
senior's final home game, it can go one of two ways; they can have that energy
and it can propel them to having a fantastic game like these guys did, or
sometimes the emotions can overwhelm you and you're not on your game. So I was
really happy to see that both Candice and Bri played really good games."
By Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
Pa. - Candice Agee went from freshman to senior in the blink of an eye. On Wednesday night, she will be playing in
her final game at the Bryce Jordan Center in her Penn State career, as the senior
prepares to finish the year strong then chase her WNBA dreams. She and fellow senior Brianna Banks will be
the focus of the senior night celebration before the game in the Bryce Jordan
Head coach Coquese
Washington knows it will be her job to make sure emotions do not get too far
away from the basketball court.
"Senior night is always an interesting night because you never know how
emotional the impact will or won't be for the seniors. It'll be interesting to see how Bri and Candice
handle the emotions around senior day, and I know they're both excited to play
in front of our fans one last time."
Agee said her favorite moment in the Bryce Jordan Center was when her
team won the Big Ten regular season championship her sophomore year. Along with
the championship, the Pink Zone game and senior night were all part of that
"My mom, my dad, my brother were there and the crowd did not leave, the
crowd stayed there for 30, 40 minutes after the game was over just to see
everything and they stayed cheering the whole time. That was awesome," said Agee.
This year, Agee's father, Rodney Agee, will be in attendance on senior
night, and will be with his daughter on the court before the game. Agee's parents had never missed one of her
games up throughout high school, and she started playing basketball when she
was four years old. Agee said whenever
her father is in the stands that she always plays better. She even laughed about how ready her dad was
to be part of senior night.
"He told me he has his outfit picked out and everything," Agee said with
"I'm from California, so they don't get to come out too much, so it
means a lot for him to be here. [He and
I] are very close," added Agee.
As for what Agee will do upon graduating, she envisions a future playing
"I plan on entering the draft and then if that doesn't work, I'll go to
some camps and see if I can get picked up there. If that doesn't work out, I'm headed
Agee says Spain would be the place she would want to play overseas, but
if she were able to play in the WNBA, she would like to play for the Los
Angeles Sparks, and would like to learn from all-time great, Candace
"She's unstoppable, I'd love to play behind her," said Agee.
Washington believes Agee has the skill-set to continue playing, and
reminisced about her career wearing Blue and White.
"Candice is one of the most talented post players I've ever coached and
she's got great hands, great footwork, and she has really impacted us,"
Washington said. "She got in the record
book for blocked shots. So it's the last
time for our fans to see them in the friendly confides of the BJC."
As for the task at hand, Penn State still has an opportunity to gain a
higher seed in the Big Ten tournament with a few wins and a few losses by
Iowa. As luck would have it, the Lady
Lions face Iowa on Wednesday. Agee will
not let her emotions get in the way of competing against the Hawkeyes.
"[The emotions] will kick in after the game," she said.
For Agee and Banks, it is time for one last postseason push. To Agee, it seems like it was only yesterday
she was a freshman.
"I'm about to graduate. It really
does fly by."
But before nostalgia kicks in, Agee and her team have some work left to
By Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
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
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.
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
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
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.