Lady Lion Players Looking Ahead to the Future
April 17, 2012
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Washington announced this afternoon that she will be staying in Happy Valley, ending speculation that she could be moving on to University of Michigan after interviewing for the head coaching position there this past week.
"I love it here at Penn State, I really do," Washington said in her opening statement. "I really love being at Penn State. I love what my life is like here. I love what my family's life is like here. This is a tremendous community to raise a family in."
That community has seen Washington grow the Lady Lions program into a national contender, including a Sweet 16 berth this past season, ending the year ranked in the top 10 in the country.
Washington has led the program to back-to-back NCAA tournament berths and a 92-67 career record.
Keeping things together and improving in State College is not only great news for Lady Lions fans, but for her players as well.
The team, all of whom were recruited by Washington, has built a special bond in this program on the rise.
"The decision to stay here at Penn State, for me, was really a simple one when I look in the back of that room and I see those player's faces," Washington said. "They are fantastic, tremendous young women and representatives of this university."
That group, which will only be losing one player off this past season's squad, has been a group that has put the hard work in over their time in Happy Valley, and they are ready to keep climbing up the national radar.
"She considers us her family and we consider her our family," said Lady Lion guard Maggie Lucas on Washington. "We've got a lot of hard work ahead of us but we're ready to meet it head on and just improve and take this program to the next level."
A plan to get to the next level is something that Washington laid out to these players during their recruiting process over the years, and something she wants to see through.
"I look at those young ladies in the back of the room and they came here to put this program on an elite level. That was their focus," said Washington on that process. "That's why I came here. I believed that we could do that. Together, we're going to work to finish it out. Together, we're going to do that."
That is something that the players echoed, and something they clearly believe.
"She showed us a layout during our recruiting of how this program would look and she's right on schedule with everything she said," Lucas said. "We trust her."
"She has trust in us, she has faith in us, it really builds our confidence (that she wants to stay and see this process through)," added guard Alex Bentley. "Coquese is the powerhouse that runs the women's basketball team."
Luckily for Penn State Lady Lions fans it doesn't look like that powerhouse is going anywhere anytime soon.