By: Thomas Frank Carr
The Penn State Lady Lions took care of business last night versus Bucknell going away 92-49. It was a bounce back game as a team and for individual players after a tough loss to UConn on Sunday. In particular Ariel Edwards had a very good night not only shooting the ball, but all around. She finished 5-7 for 14 points, seven rebounds and five assist. She knew that it was going to be a focus after her 1-13 shooting performance versus UConn,
“Anytime you don’t have a game that you’re happy with I think it’s important to come out the next game and just get that feel back, that confidence back, and that’s something that I looked to do this game.”
It certainly seemed like she was able to. But she wasn’t the only one. The Lady Lions post players also had a bounce back game. They dominated the boards against Bucknell, out rebounding the Bisons 56-32. Candice Agee had a strong game as well. She was 7-10 shooting for 16 points and six rebounds. Tori Waldner also chipped in six rebounds while freshman Kaliyah Mitchell had eight. It was exactly what Lady Lion’s Head Coach Coquese Washington was hoping for from her low post defenders, especially Candice Agee,
“She was aggressive, especially on the offensive glass. That is something that we have been talking to her about, especially on the offensive glass and I think she did a better job of it tonight.
It can be difficult to gauge the progression of a team when they are so much more physically dominant than their opponent. The two tallest Bucknell players stood at 6’3”. By comparison, the Lady Lions have four players that are 6’3” and have three more that hare taller. Agee in particular towered over Bison defenders at 6’6”. Washington saw something outside the stats and numbers that told her that her team is heading in the right direction,
“I like the combination of our returning players. They are starting to find a chemistry, all six of them. They are starting to develop a cohesiveness while they are on the floor. Now, the task is to get a couple of the freshman in the rotation as strongly as the returning players have.”
In particular Mitchell and forward Alex Harris saw extended minutes on the floor for the Lady Lions. Mitchell had a knack for driving to the lane and creating shots for herself. She had good body lean and control at the basket. She did turn down some open shots from the perimeter but she is only a few months removed from playing with her back to the basket. Washington likes what she sees from the two,
“I feel like they have been getting better and better as the season has gone on. Their confidence is getting better. They are natural impact players; they have a knack for rebounding. Alex Harris has a knack for blocking shots. I don’t even know how she does it. She just taps it. I don’t know what you even call it.”
Another area of improvement has been on the offensive side of the ball. Maggie Lucas led all scorers with 17 points but she didn’t have to carry the team Monday like she has previously. Five Lady Lions topped ten points in the game. More importantly they were running their offense all the way through against Bucknell. Coach Washington was pleased with the offense on Monday,
“We focused on our offensive execution and I thought we did a better job today of getting shots out of our offense. We are getting better at it and we have to keep working on it.”
The Lady Lions will have plenty of time to work on their game. They have eight days off before they play Oregon State on November 29th in the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas. They are next back at the Bryce Jordan Center on December 4th when they Play Notre Dame at 7:30.