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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Lady Lions are a very young team, one of the few teams in college basketball with no seniors on the roster. Youth is something oftentimes overlooked in college athletics, but the Lady Lions have shown that this is a team that still has some room to grow.
Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center was one of those nights of realization, as the Lady Lions went up against the high-powered offensive attack of Minnesota. The Golden Gophers average 85.9 points per game, good for 11th in the nation, and they showed their offensive prowess in a 91-71 victory.
Penn State never quite gained its rhythm on the offensive end, and a slow start yielded a result that was perhaps more lopsided than what actually transpired on the court.
The Gophers led by as many as 19 in the first half and controlled the pace of the game, as Penn State played catch-up the entire night. However, the Lady Lions stayed true to their offensive game plan even when they were down, a sign of belief in themselves and trust in the system they had in place.
Junior guard Teniya Page, who led the Lady Lions in scoring with 21 points, persistently got to the basket and made shots, not letting the score affect the way she played.
"I just play the game and take what the game gives me," Page said. "I don't necessarily change anything as the game goes on. We don't change our attack or approach when we're down."
Page finished 8-for-15 from the field, including 3-for-6 from three.
It's the tenth time this season that Page has finished in double figures, and the 64th time of her career. It's also her sixth 20-point outing of the season and 26th of her career. The 21 points were enough to put her in the top 20 on the Penn State all-time scoring list (1,312 points, No. 19 all-time), as she passed both Helen Darling and Kathy Drysdale tonight.
Another bright spot for the Lady Lions was the defense, as they forced 16 Minnesota turnovers, leading to 25 points.
Defense and rebounding (Minnesota outrebounded Penn State 43-30) have been points of emphasis all season for Penn State head coach Coquese Washington. The Lady Lions haven't quite figured out a consistent formula to succeed night in and night out, which leads to disparities like tonight in which the team did some things really well but couldn't execute in other areas.
"We struggle with consistency. That's the thing that's kind have been a thorn in our side," Washington said. "Individually and collectively, players are struggling to find that groove and it rubs off on the whole team. We just have to continue to work on creating a high level of consistency from game to game."
The Lady Lions have a chance to get back on track Sunday at Wisconsin. Tip-off from Madison will be at 2 p.m. Then, Penn State returns home for two tilts against Rutgers and Illinois next week before a stretch of four out of five games on the road