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By Brian McLaughlin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's strength all year has been team speed, and the Lady Lions used it to their advantage once again in a 74-59 win on Sunday over Michigan State.
The Lady Lions were able to control the pace of play in the first half and used a quick tempo to outscore the Spartans 14-3 on fast break points.
"We definitely wanted to use our speed to our advantage. Either size is going to win or speed is going to win and that what we talked about coming into the game, we're not going to out-size them," head coach Coquese Washington said. "They are bigger than us so we had to out run them. I thought the team did a great job executing that part of the game plan."
Jaida Travascio-Green got Penn State going in the first quarter, running the break when she went on a solo 10-0 run which included two transition three-pointers.
The hot start continued when Siyeh Frazier helped force back-to-back turnovers and finished on the other end for breakaway layups.
"She (Siyeh) is kind of an X-Factor. She has tremendous speed and tremendous quickness. She can get out in transition and she knows how to finish. She also gets us some extra possessions with those plays and in a number of different ways especially when she is rebounding and gets us deflections," Washington said. "She doesn't always get the steal but sometimes she makes the ball handler make an errant pass. Or she will get a deflection and someone else ends up with the steal. She is a great compliment to Teniya and Amari on defense. All three of them are different types of defenders so she is a great compliment to those two."
Frazier finished with 14 points which is tied for her season high, most of which came on strong drives to the hoop.
"Being aggressive towards the basket is what's best for me, and not being passive just works in my game," Frazier said.
Along with Frazier, sophomore point guard Amari Carter had a large impact on dictating the pace and creating turnovers. Carter scored 14 points, had six assists and perhaps most impactful had five steals.
"I think being active on the defensive end helps us get out and get on the run and get those easy points for Siyeh," Carter said. "So active hands and getting in passing lanes, making them make bad passes and tough shots then getting rebounds and getting out definitely helps us."
Defensive pressure has been an emphasis for the Lady Lions all season, but have at times struggled to open games and play at their pace. Washington however, was pleased with how her team started against Michigan State.
"I thought our defensive effort, especially to start the game was exactly what it needed to be. Michigan State's strength is their post play and they are aggressive trying to get it to their post so we knew we had to work really hard to keep them out of rhythm," Washington said. "That work on the defensive end led to some transition opportunities for us. In particular, in the first half we were able to get going and get some confidence there."
Penn State will hope to carry the pressure as they transition to their next matchup, where they will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes this Thursday.