PSU women working to stay among nation's elite
College Football Videos
On the Penn State women's nonconference schedule, one game loomed larger than the rest.
The Lady Lions traveled to No. 2 Connecticut on Dec. 6 to face the Huskies for the first time since losing to them, 77-59, in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Kingston, R.I. No. 7 Penn State lost the rematch, 67-52, but won the next 11 games before losing to Wisconsin in the final seconds on Thursday night, 63-61. The Lady Lions host No. 14 Purdue on Monday.
The loss to Wisconsin was just the third of the year for Penn State (17-3, 7-1 Big Ten). It's their best record since starting the 1993-94 season 22-2, and the 7-0 start in the Big Ten was their best since 2004-05. The loss also ended a 14-game winning streak against conference opponents, and they have been ranked no lower than No. 11 this season.
But for a team hoping to make a long run in this year's NCAA Tournament, senior starting forward Mia Nickson said there's still work to do.
“We still need to get better offensively and defensively,” she said. “No one comes in just happy with where we are. The best teams in the nation are still working hard, so that means we have to work hard.”
Penn State has been systematically checking off the boxes on its way back to national prominence since coach Coquese Washington took over in 2007. Last year saw the Lady Lions win the Big Ten regular-season title and Washington earn Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, but the loss to Connecticut was a disappointment despite the Huskies' proud history. This season, Washington hopes the experience of playing UConn in the NCAA Tournament and again less than nine months later on the road will pay off the next time they face a powerhouse with a legacy of winning big games.
“When you talk about programs that have been to multiple Final Fours and multiple Elite Eights, there's certainly an experience factor that comes into play, and that experience gives you confidence,” Washington said. “How far away are we? I don't know. But certainly we've got to get the experience of playing in those types of games and those moments and those environments.”
Point guard Alex Bentley said the key to success so far this season has been balanced scoring and strong defense.
“Our defense was definitely not as good at this time last year compared to this year,” she said. “That's definitely looking up, and our team chemistry is a lot better. We stay together better throughout games when we hit adversity or people make mistakes. We're all encouraging each other, and it helps a lot.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins GM Rutherford ‘wouldn’t make’ Despres trade today
- Starkey: Kang story of the year for Pirates
- Healthy defensive back Mitchell eager for 2nd season with Steelers
- Dormont man missing since Wednesday found dead at Station Square
- Taliani’s 3 homers propel Deer Lakes to 2nd WPIAL softball title in 4 seasons
- Pyrotechnics to be used in TV filming in New Kensington
- Man uninjured after leap from Hulton Bridge
- Sabres hire Bylsma as coach; Penguins receive 3rd-round pick
- Chevron settles fatal shale gas well fire lawsuit for $5M
- Man’s body found hours after disappearance on Youghiogheny River
- Police seek help finding missing Squirrel Hill man