BLOG: Freshmen Spark, Seniors Shine in Home Opener
Nov. 9, 2013
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Lady Lions experienced a banner evening during their regular season home opener at the Bryce Jordan Center Friday night.
Not only did the Lady Lions break the Bryce Jordan Center scoring record by breezing past the St. Francis Red Storm, 117-77, but the team also got to see their 2013 Big Ten Champions banner raised to the rafters prior to the start of the game.
Paced by their four seniors, who scored 78 out of the total 117 points, the Lady Lions appeared to have no problem taking care of the Red Storm.
However, there was an underlying level to the Lady Lion's first victory of the season, and that was the spark that the freshmen provided for head coach Coquese Washington.
Three new Lady Lions stepped out onto the court last night and supplied the seniors with the energy necessary to manage the Red Storm's pesky full-court press.
In the first half it was Keke Sevillian, the freshman out of Goodrich, Mich., who gave Washington the zealous minutes necessary to end the first half on a 21-13 run and go into the locker room up 55-38. Sevillian finished her first regular season game donning the blue and white with eight points and four steals.
"I thought Keke [Sevillian] came in the game and was really a big spark plug and really helped turn the game around with her pressure, which allowed us to get in transition, create turnovers and make them play faster," said Washington. "I think even the times that she didn't necessarily create a turnover her energy really spread throughout the rest of the team."
In the second half, Washington turned to another unfamiliar face. This time it was Alex Harris, the freshman out of Lorain, Ohio, who tallied six points, 10 boards and three blocks to help the Lady Lions pull away en route to a 40-point victory.
"I thought that the start of the second half, Alex [Harris] came out on the floor and got some rebounds, got a really nice block and she gave us a lot of energy," said Washington.
Following the completion of the game, Washington stressed the importance that the seven freshmen will have on the team as a whole as the season progresses.
"The freshmen really did a great job of coming in and playing in spurts," said Washington. " I think it will take a number of games for them to settle into their roles and settle in to how they are going to play...I think we are going to get a lot of contributions from everybody on different nights."
With that being said, it was the four Lady Lion seniors who acted as beneficiaries to the vigor that the freshmen delivered onto the court last night.
Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Maggie Lucas led all scorers with 33 points thanks to a perfect 16-for-16 from the charity stripe. Following Lucas's lead, Ariel Edwards finished with 23 points, Dara Taylor tallied 14 points and six assists, and Talia East came off the bench to score eight points and grab eight boards.
For the four seniors, last night was the final time they will step on the court for the first time. Lucas had nothing but positive things to say about being back in her natural element.
"It feels great. I love playing in front of the fans here at the BJC and I know my teammates do, too," said Lucas. "So we were just itching to get out there just to get that adrenaline going again. There is no other feeling like it. Senior year. I want to enjoy every second of it."
Even though the Lady Lions started their campaign with a 1-0 record for the seventh consecutive season, head coach Coquese Washington was not exactly satisfied with her team's performance.
"We've got a lot of work to do," said Washington. "We are certainly a work in progress and we have to continue to find our rhythm and find our chemistry. I think that each one of the players is still trying to figure out how to be effective on the floor in game situations."