WBB: Lady Lions Defeat Golden Gophers
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State Lady Lions (16-8, 6-6 Big Ten) defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-12, 3-8 Big Ten), 77-66, Wednesday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The game opened up with a lot of pace, which included an 8-0 run to begin the game for Minnesota. Penn State quickly responded and narrowed the Golden Gophers’ lead to only two points at the end of the first quarter. Lindsey Spann had five points in the quarter and Jaida Travasio-Green had three.
“We had to be tougher,” Coquese Washington, head coach of the Lady Lions, said. “We had to be tougher in the paint, we had to be tougher on the backboard.”
The Lady Lions were getting outrebounded early on.
Washington mentioned that her team responded to the challenge of being tougher very well in the second half after she challenged her players during her halftime locker room talk.
“We knew they were going to come in and play tough,” Spann said. “Everybody in the Big Ten is going to come to play and try to give you their best.”
Spann said the Lady Lions wanted to emphasize matching the physicality of the Gophers and it was something the team had talked about coming into this matchup.
Penn State then outscored the Golden Gophers 17-12 in the third quarter, giving them a 56-51 lead entering the fourth.
“When you’re playing against tough opponents you just have to focus on trying to get the ball in the basket,” Sierra Moore said. “It’s just a mentality of keep pushing.”
At times, Penn state was forcing the ball into areas that were not having success throughout the night.
After many adjustments, the Lady Lions seemed to improve as the night went on. After being outrebounded by three in the first half, Penn State collected 28 rebounds in the second half, which was seven more than the Golden Gophers. Penn State also outscored Minnesota 38-27 in the second half.
The Lady Lions have also improved game by game as the season has gone on.
“I think we’re really just starting to gel at the right time,” Washington said.
With four of the Lions’ five starters being underclassmen, creating a bond on the court is something that is very crucial in order for the team to be successful.
“It takes a little bit of time to create a rhythm and a consistency and a connection on the court,” Washington said.
After tweaking the lineup and rotations over the last handful of games, Washington thinks her team has finally found a lineup that seems to really work for her squad.
With only four games of the regular season left, the Lady Lions look to continue their winning ways as they enter the Big Ten Tournament.
Catch the Penn State Lady Lions when they take on the Purdue Boilermakers (15-9, 6-4 Big Ten) at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Mason Gallina is a junior majoring in digital/print journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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