Lady Lions listen to their coach with fast start at Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Penn State coach Coquese Washington told the media on Monday afternoon her team needed to have another solid first quarter and be on-point defensively early in the game to have a chance to win another road game. The Penn State women’s basketball team did just that.

On Tuesday night, the Lady Lions raced out to an early 15-0 lead on their way to an 80-62 victory over Illinois inside the State Farm Center.

It helped that Penn State hit six of its first 10 shots en route to the 15-0 lead. A Lindsey Spann 3-pointer forced an Illinois timeout at that point, but the damaged had already been done.

The Lady Lions (18-8, 8-6 B1G) moved their winning streak to four games, improved to 9-6 all-time on Valentine’s Day and, in the process, guaranteed they will not play on the first day at the Big Ten Tournament. The victory is also the fourth-straight over Illinois (8-18, 3-10 B1G).

Four players reached double-figures for Penn State, led by 15 points from junior Spann. Sophomore Teniya Page and senior Sierra Moore both finished with 14 points, while Kaliyah Mitchell ended with 11 tallies.

The trio of Mitchell, Moore and Page all ended with nine rebounds — each narrowly missing double-doubles — which led the team. As a team, Penn State led on the glass with a season-high 51 rebounds, including the third-straight game with 15-or-more offensive rebounds, to just 28 for Illinois.

Spann led the team in scoring for the sixth time on the season and moved up two spots on the career scoring charts. The junior moved her career total to 1,063 points, passing Ariel Edwards (1,054, 2011-14) and Nancy Kuhl (1,061, 1976-79).

Moving up on a pair of career lists, Page advanced her standings on the career scoring and assists charts, while pulling down a career-best nine rebounds to move past the 200-career rebound mark.

With her 14 points, the Chicago, Ill. native pushed her career total to 962 points, passing Dana Eikenberg (952, 1989-92). Her six assists also helped her move up the career charts, giving her 227 helpers in her 56th career game. She passed Carol Fultz (224, 1982-84) for No. 23 on the list.

Penn State is off until Feb. 22 when it plays at Michigan State.

PENN STATE (18-8): Thomas 2-3 0-0 4, Carter 3-8 0-0 8, Moore 6-9 2-3 14, Page 5-12 3-4 14, Travascio-Green 1-6 3-5 6, Mitchell 3-7 4-6 11, Whitted 1-4 1-2 3, Williams 1-1 0-0 2, Frazier 1-2 1-1 3, Spann 5-10 2-2 15, Totals 28-62 16-23 80.

ILLINOIS (8-18): Wittinger 3-15 2-2 8, Beasley 6-20 5-5 17, Cattenhead 2-5 1-2 5, Holesinska 5-10 2-2 17, Kirkpatrick 1-3 0-0 2, Andrews 0-2 0-0 0, Overcash 0-0 2-2 2, Joens 4-9 0-1 11, McConnell 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 21-64 12-14 62.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Penn State 24 14 25 17 — 80

Illinois 8 10 23 21 — 62

3-Point Goals–Penn St. 8-21 (Carter 2-4, Page 1-3, Travascio-Green 1-5, Mitchell 1-2, Spann 3-7), Illinois 8-21 (Wittinger 0-3, Beasley 0-3, Holesinska 5-6, Andrews 0-1, Joens 3-8). Assists–Penn St. 15 (Page 6), Illinois 10 (Beasley 4). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–Penn St. 51 (Moore 9), Illinois 28 (Wittinger 12). Total Fouls–Penn St. 15, Illinois 21. A–1,288.

COMMENTS