Lady Lions cruise to third victory in return to BJC

Story posted December 14, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Marley Paul

After a tough loss last week at Hartford, the Penn State Lady Lions returned home to the Bryce Jordan Center and dominated the Rider Broncs. Penn State (3-7) outhustled the opposition from the tipoff, scoring an easy layup in the opening three seconds, and never looked back with their 85-51 victory over the Broncs (2-7).

The win was one of the Lady Lions’ more cohesive and collective team efforts of the season. The team used their size advantage early, playing aggressive defense while alternating between a full court press and zone defense causing havoc, leading to an early 11-2 lead.

Candice Agee, the 6-foot-6 junior, anchored the Lady Lion defense early, collecting four blocks in the first half and altering many others. She dominated the paint on the offensive side in the second half, going 6-8 from the field and grabbing five offensive rebounds.

“[We] talked about help defense, I think it was a real focus point this game,” said Agee after the game. “We all made an effort … allowed me to get some nice little blocks.”

Agee finished the game with 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocks after dropping 20 points and eight rebounds last game. Penn State head coach Coquese Washington recognized the impressive play of Agee over the past two games.

“She’s one of the ones that’s really growing … we’re starting to see her confidence grow,” said coach Washington after the game. “Whenever you can have a dominant post player and dominant play inside, everything can flow around that.”

The team as a whole controlled the paint. They forced the Broncs to shoot a pedestrian 29-percent from the field while turning the ball over 19 times. On the offensive end, 34 of their 50 first half points came in the paint, with another ten coming from the free throw line.

After an underwhelming last outing, Lindsey Spann bounced back with a dominant performance, going off for a career-best 23 points on 11-20 shooting, while setting her teammates up, nabbing five assists.

Keke Sevillian earned herself some extra minutes in this game with her relentless ball pressure. The 5-foot-7 sophomore guard played 27 minutes, with a balanced stat-line of nine points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, along with numerous dives and deflections that won’t appear in the box score.

Washington was complimentary of Sevillian after the game as well.

“She was a good spark coming in the game early, getting steals and deflections giving us a lot of energy.”

“Comes down to who wants it more,” said Sevillian. “[It] came down to effort, steals, dives, deflection, [it’s] important we hone in on that.”

A scary moment for the Lions occurred in the second half at the 12:39 mark, when Spann was tripped up in a midcourt collision and was slow to get up. She checked out for a brief rest, but came back showing no ill effects as she returned with six quick points, including Penn State’s lone three-point field goal.

For the Broncs, it was a tough matchup as they were completely outsized by the Lady Lions. They could not find their offense in the first half due to Penn State’s defensive intensity.

“We put ourselves behind the 8 ball from the jump,” Rider head coach Lynn Milligan said. “We bailed them out with the fouls.”

Rider committed 12 fouls in the first half, leading to 17 Penn State free throw attempts.

Milligan was also complimentary of Agee’s play.

“I think she did a good job. She gives them great size, great defensive pressure in the paint … [we] didn’t get anything out of it because of her presence.”

This young Penn State team looks to put together some team chemistry as they find their identity heading into conference play. Washington believes her Lady Lions are still an unfinished project.

“After ten games, still a work in progress … still finding our chemistry. As we start conference play we’ll still be finding ourselves,” she said.

The Lady Lions return to action next Sunday, as they look to close the calendar year strong when they conclude their non-conference schedule against South Florida at home, Sunday, Dec. 21st at 2 p.m.

Marley Paul is a junior majoring in digital and print journalism. You may contact him at mdp5300@psu.edu.