Lady Lions Ride the First Half Hot Hand of Page to Hold Off Akron
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – It was a dominant first half for sophomore guard Teniya Page that lead to scoring opportunities for her teammates the rest of the game.
Penn State improved to 2-1 on the season by defeating the Akron Zips on Wednesday night 84-71 behind Page’s 23 points.
“Once I started making shots, it opened up opportunities for my teammates,” said Page who had 19 points in the first half alone.
Yet it was still a balanced attack from the Lady Lions. Lindsey Spann, Kaliyah Mitchell and Page all finished in double figures and Mitchell collected 12 rebounds for a double-double.
Akron head coach, Jodi Kest, had nothing but praise for Penn State and was very impressed with Page calling her a special player.
“I’m glad that we’re able to put pressure on our opponents offensively,” said Penn State head coach Coquese Washington. “One of the things that I’m pleased with right now is our balanced scoring.”
Akron came out in a zone defense that was able to stifle the Penn State offense and held an early 7-2 lead. Penn State was able to bounce back by getting to the free-throw line and feeding Page who had three first quarter three pointers.
Another hot start to a quarter by Akron was the story in the second when the Zips went on a 12-2 run. Once again, Penn State answered by going on a 12-2 run of their own and took a 10-point lead into halftime.
Akron did not quit and outscored the Lady Lions 25-19 in the third quarter to make it a four-point game heading into the final stanza. Spann was too much for the Zips in the second half, scoring 12 points and converting from deep twice to help will Penn State to victory.
Penn State forced Akron into committing 16 turnovers and scoring 18 points off of those miscues. Yet, Washington was not all that pleased with her team’s overall defense.
“I didn’t think our defense was up to the standards that we’ve shown in practice,” Washington said. “Sometimes when you have lineups with two or three freshman, there’s a lack of communication. We’ve got to get better with our communication on defense.”
Washington wants her team to get to the basket more and not settle, especially against a zone defense. The Lady Lions were 8 of 21 from beyond the arc and she said, “We weren’t being as aggressive against the zone as I wanted us to be, so we made a few adjustments.”
Despite the flaws in the team’s performance, the Lady Lions did what they had to do to win the game.
Washington is already looking forward to their next opponent, Tennessee.
“They’ve got athleticism, they've got size, they've got shooting ability and they've always been a good rebounding team,” she said. “They’re going to be aggressive on the boards and they’re going to be aggressive defensively.”
The Lady Lions will be back in the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday at 5 p.m. as they are set to host Tennessee.
Erik Oakley is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.