Lady Lions Shake Slow Start To Beat Fordham 75-59
UNIVERSITY PARL, Pa. - After a 6-24 season, the worst under eight-year head coach Coquese Washington, the Lady Lions imported an experienced scorer and a promising playmaker with senior guard Brianna Banks and five-star recruit Teniya Page.
Penn State’s new starting backcourt anchored the Lady Lions Sunday in a 75-59 victory over the Fordham as Banks scored a game-high 22 points, while Page scored 11 with six assists.
It was the second consecutive slow start for the Lady Lions, opening the game 1-for-9 from the field, with three turnovers as they trailed the Rams 6-2 through the opening seven minutes.
A coast-to-coast layup in traffic from Banks gave the Lady Lions the 8-6 lead two minutes later and Penn State would not relinquish that, going on a 15-2 run through the second quarter push the lead to 17-8.
“I’d like to see us have a better start offensively in the first quarter,” Washington said. “Both Friday and today we started out the gate pretty slow. But once the game got going and we got a little momentum from the defense, then it picked up. But certainly we want to start off stronger than we did today.”
Candice Agee came in off the bench and provided quality minutes on both ends of the court. Agee finished the first half 4-for-4 from the field for a team-high nine points along with two steals and a block.
“Candice Agee came on the floor, her presence was a big difference maker,” Washington said. “We were able to exploit that, get some high-low looks.”
“She was able to get to the free throw line a little bit,” she said of Agee, who shot four free throws in the first half. “I thought her presence kind of opened things up and from there we got things going.”
The Rams lived and died behind the 3-point line, missing all eight attempts in the first half, but nailing 5-of-11 in the second half to keep them within striking distance.
After leading by as many as 16, Penn State allowed Fordham to climb back in the final five minutes as a Danielle Padovano 3-pointer capped a 7-0 run that cut the Lady Lion lead to five.
Banks responded with a 3-pointer and Kaliyah Mitchell scored a layup that pushed the lead back up to 10, but a pesky Rams team put together another 5-0 run to get within five again, with less than three minutes remaining.
Moments later, Page nailed a midrange jump shot and Banks forced a turnover on the ensuing possession, which was recovered by Page, who would finish in transition to seal the deal, putting the Lady Lions comfortable ahead 66-57.
Freshman point guard Amari Carter is going to miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in her left knee, suffered on Friday in the season opener, Washington announced. Carter, an ESPN five-star recruit, joins junior guard Sierra Moore as the second Lady Lions to endure a season ending injury, as Moore fell victim to the same injury in a preseason scrimmage.
Penn State will travel to out west to face Tennessee on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Marley Paul is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact him, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @MarleyPaul22