Coquese Washington Wins 100th Career Game as Lady Lions Roll over Hokies
The No. 11 ranked Lady Lions’ stellar defense helped lift head coach Coquese Washington to her 100th career win on Wednesday night as the Nittany Lions defeated the Hokies of Virginia Tech.
With the 60-41 victory in Blacksburg, Va., Washington became only the second head coach in the program’s history to reach the landmark. However, the victory over the Hokies didn’t come without a bit of a fight early on.
Virginia Tech (4-4) held tough with Penn State (8-2) through most of the first half until a late Penn State surge in the last five minutes. The Nittany Lions ended the first half leading the Hokies by a mere seven points. Then, early in the second half the Nittany Lions began to run away with the game after nailing a string of jumpers within the first five minutes to extend their lead to 12. The Lady Lions’ would go on to finish the game with four players in double-figures. Junior guard Maggie Lucas led the way for the Lions tallying 17 points on a night where everything seemed to fall going seven of nine from the floor.
Lucas accredited her terrific shooting display to the patience she attempts to maintain throughout every game.
“Just trying to stay composed,” Lucas told GoPSUsports.com after the game. “There are going to be breakdowns in defenses every game, mistakes are going to happen, so I was just waiting for those mistakes to happen and thought my openings would be there. I just kept running the floor because I get good looks in transition.”
While Lucas exemplifies patience out on the floor, it is also something the Lady Lions try to focus on as a team when they approach a game. Washington made it a point of emphasis during her press conference with GoPSUsports.com that basketball games are very long. It doesn’t matter how your team starts the game, it just matters that you play hard for the entire game.
“We’ve got to play for 40 minutes,” Washington told GoPSUsports. “At some point in the game we’re confident that we will put together a run. Whenever that run happens we just have to capitalize on it, take advantage of it and ride it out.”
While the Nittany Lions’ run took place later in the game than they would have liked, their defense rose to the challenge allowing only one Hokie, junior guard Monet Tellier, to score in double-figures. Coach Washington accredited the Lions’ defense to hard work in practices so far this season. A major point emphasis this season, Washington stated, has been playing solid help defense as a team and never giving opponent’s wide-open looks.
“We just try and contest every shot,” Washington said. “That’s one of the things we emphasize a lot in practice, trying to make sure that we get good help rotation and we’re challenging and contesting shots. For the most part I think we did that. We still have to get better with our help rotations. I feel like we gave up too many open looks, but we will get better as the season goes on.”
While the team seems to be getting back on track after a couple big wins, only two non-conference games remain before the Lady Lions open their Big Ten conference schedule with Northwestern in a few weeks. In their next game, the Lions will play host to South Dakota State University on Dec. 16 in a Sunday afternoon affair at 2 p.m. EST.
Sean Flanery is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com.