Blue White Illustrated

Jan. 14 Newsletter

Penn State Sports Magazine

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J A N U A R Y 1 4 , 2 0 1 5 B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M 9 give up just because you're down," she said. "That is a pride thing. That is something that is inside of you, but we need to work harder. We need to start off [the games] playing like that. We can't let people take over [in the first half ] and then decide to play hard [in the second half]. We have to start off the same way that we finish it." In Spann and sophomore guard Sierra Moore, the Lady Lions have two players who are suited to the fast-paced game that Washington likes to play. But they are both in their first season of action at Penn State, and their growing pains are compounded by the fact that PSU doesn't have some of the other puzzle pieces it needs to be competitive. Perimeter shooting, for example. After watching Maggie Lucas light up oppo- nents from long range for the previous four years, Penn State is now the worst 3- point shooting team in the Big Ten at 24.2 percent. Stringer pointed to Lucas's departure in assessing Penn State following the Scarlet Knights' victory in the first Big Ten meet- ing between the former Atlantic 10 rivals. It's undoubtedly going to take time to patch that deficiency, but the longtime Rutgers coach said she believes Washing- ton will eventually turn things around. "She will build this program," Stringer said. "I think that you see the makings of what can be a great team. They have tremendous size. You can see that they conceptually understand what they have to do. [Washington] has played profes- sionally at the highest levels. She's coached as an assistant coach at the highest levels, and she has done a great job here. She's a leader. I'm really always impressed with her ability to communi- cate with the players as a coach and as a mom. She does a great job teaching both the offensive and defensive side of things. She's patient." She will have to be. Penn State is get- ting set to play at Nebraska on Thursday, and Lincoln is not an opportune place in which to launch a turnaround. The 17th- ranked Cornhuskers are 12-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference and have lost only once at home all season (to Maryland, 75-47, on Jan. 3). After that, it's on to Ohio State to complete the first leg of a tough six-game stretch that will feature four road games. One of the reasons for the frustration this season is that the tumble to the bot- tom of the Big Ten standings has been in- credibly abrupt. The Lady Lions are the league's three-time defending regular- season champs, and even though they lost four starters and two assistant coaches in the off-season, there were hopes that a talented sophomore class, coupled with the debut of Moore, a transfer from Duke, would keep them from sinking too far. But after Penn State wrapped up a 3-8 nonconference season with a 90-87 overtime loss to visiting USF, the results have only gotten worse. The losses have taken a toll on team morale, but in a backhanded way, that might be one of the few positive developments in an oth- erwise disappointing stretch. "I'm glad to see them feeling this way and that they are dejected because it shows that they care," Washington said. "It shows that they are invested. It shows that they are giving everything that they have to be the best that they can be on game day, and when it doesn't go that way it is frustrating and disap- pointing."

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