Coquese Washington spoke highly of star sophomore Teniya Page during Tuesday’s season wrap-up news conference, calling the honorable mention All-American “our most-seasoned player next year.”
The Lady Lions will need her more than ever.
Not only will the Penn State women’s basketball team lose three solid senior contributors — Sierra Moore, Kaliyah Mitchell, Peyton Whitted — but the Lady Lions’ coach announced Tuesday that two other players are leaving the program. Sophomore starting center Ashanti Thomas is transferring to be closer to her hometown of Lexington, Ky., and Lindsey Spann has decided not to use her fifth and final year of eligibility.
With the departures, the team is losing 47 percent of its scoring output from last season.
“When you lose certain players, it’s not always the people that play that exact position that have to get better,” Washington added.
Page might have to step up yet again. She averaged 19.9 points and 4.2 assists per game last year, becoming the second Penn State sophomore to earn WBCA All-America honors and the second to surpass the 1,000-point mark for her career. With her experience, she could be in line for an even bigger leadership role.
And, although Penn State wouldn’t mind seeing Page add to those numbers, the team will obviously need other contributors to step up elsewhere, as well. Only Jaylen Williams returns from the front court. And, in the back court, it’s just Amari Carter — besides Page, of course.
“I think as a sophomore there’s more expected out of me,” Carter said. “Not just because we lost people, it’s because once you get past freshman year there’s no more excuses for being young.”
Washington praised her freshmen toward the end of the season, saying the team never would’ve made it as far as the WNIT without them. After all, PSU played its best basketball at the end when it won seven of its last 10 games — so Washington is counting on that same group next season as sophomores.
Jaida Travascio-Green and Siyeh Frazier are among those Washington pointed toward. Frazier played less than 90 minutes in the 29 games before the WNIT but, in the first two rounds there, she played a combined 36 minutes and went 5 for 6 with 14 points. Travascio-Green acknowledged she played with hesitation early in the season, but that wasn’t an issue at all in the end — not when she finished within the top-3 all-time in most 3s by a freshman (46).
“I’m really excited about how Jaida and Siyeh will impact us next year,” Washington said. “They’re two players who showed flashes of how they can impact the team. I think having a year of experience under their belts and knowing what to expect from practice, travel and game day, they’ll be more ready to be consistent performers next year.”
Everything won’t be heaped upon Page’s shoulders next season. But with more departures than expected, she will be counted on more — and the underclassmen will once again be a key to whether Penn State can find postseason success.